Middle child syndrome. I was born the 3rd out of 5 kids, whichever way you start counting. To gain attention, affirmation, and validation, I tried to become funny, witty, interesting, unique. Using my words, I reached and I grasped for scraps, hungry for a sense of belonging, power, and love.
When you do this for years, you get pretty good at it. As I grew in intimacy with the Father and He expanded my heart to begin seeing others with more understanding, my motives behind my words became mixed. Self-protection lumped in with genuine care. Self-promotion stacked against a desire to be generous. Sneaking in a few selfish needs while also still wanting to hear from the Holy Spirit. Compliments paid to others became humble, self-centered brags in disguise. When others recognize you for how great they think you are, I felt dirty because I was the only one who knew I was wearing a mask.
Fear. The belief that if I don’t strive, manipulate, or create a certain image of myself, I won’t be good enough. Doubt that what Jesus says He will do for me is sufficient. So I fight for myself, using words.
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Driven by fear, I fight and I fight and I fight and I remain more bankrupt than ever. Because, so long as my words come from a place a fear, there is no room for love to enter.
Perfect love casts out fear. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Fearless. Unafraid. Unashamed. Words You speak over me into the new year. In 2018, I will repent of my unbelieving heart and trust that I am enough and You are better. I will choose love over fear. I will use my mouth to speak life and not death over your people. Instead of using words to defend myself or to manipulate and control others, I will use them to empower those around me. By Your love, my words will be fearless.
You see me, You know me, and You understand my heart in its every stage. You love me, and all my fear-built walls come crashing down, one by one.