Tag Archives: love

Fear Factor Friday: Am I rooted in Fear?

Anxiety is one of modern day society’s greatest struggles. Young and old wrestle with this great foe day and night. Christ-followers seem to be just as prone to anxiety-attacks as those who don’t have hope in Christ. I am personally quite familiar with fear myself. But I KNOW it is not God’s best for me.

Join me as I tackle this subject every Friday, discovering how Christ’s love makes us more than conquerors over this epic battle against anxiety.

We will start today with a truth God taught me in the Fall of 2013: to avoid producing the fruit of fear, we must get to the root of things.

Am I rooted in fear or love?

Where am I rooted?

Ephesians 3:17 commends us to be “rooted and established in love.” A tree with healthy roots will produce life-giving fruit. The same is true with our life.

1 Corinthians 13 gives us a beautiful description of the fruit (product) of love:

4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 

5. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 

7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8. Love never fails… 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

While studying these verses, I realized these are also the characteristics of Jesus. If I am to reflect Jesus, who is LOVE incarnate, then why do I not have these characteristics in my life? What is missing?

Instead of a loving patience, I am often plagued with debilitating anxiety. I tend to avoid bearing all things with confidence; instead, I typically cave emotionally at any opposition. Instead of a childlike hope, believing that God could work in all things, I lean toward giving-up easily.

After much prayer and study, I understand that my life was not operating from a place of love. If love produces belief, hope, and endurance, then I must be operating from the complete opposite of love. So, what is the opposite of love?

I believe God reveals the answer in 1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.” 1 John 4:18

If there is no fear in love, then perhaps fear is the antitheses of love. Perhaps fruit of anxiety, self-concern, and doubt comes from a life rooted in fear.

I tested my theory by rearranging the 1 Corinthians 13 passage, with fear as the main factor instead of love: (verses 4-8)

4. Fear is anxious and impatient; fear is unkind. Insecurity (a form of fear) is full of envy; is boastful; is conceited.

5. Fear will act improperly; fear focuses on self; it easily annoyed; it maintains a detailed list of wrongs;

6. Fear finds joy in evil, but is cautious to rejoice in the truth;

7. Fear cannot bear anything, doubts all things, loses hope for all things, and gives up easily.

8. Fear always fails.

These “verses” accurately described my heart.

For example, I wake up anxious about how people will perceive me. I am afraid of rejection or disapproval. I have no patience for God’s plan to work itself out. I have chronic fear of failure.

Also, I am so terrified of mediocrity that I over-do everything.

And I doubt God. I stop believing that a person can change in the power of Christ. I give up. I get irritated when I don’t know “the plan.”

I think, in most cases, I am simply afraid of my pride getting hurt.

Being rooted in fear, instead of love, we naturally produce the fruit of self-centeredness, anxiety, envy, and giving-up easily.

Our Father has a great purpose for our lives, but that purpose is rooted in love, in HIM! (God is love!)

So we must do as the rest of 1 Corinthians 13 suggests and “put aside childish things”…. like fear. We have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Those are the qualities of a mighty woman of God. Fear is the characteristic of a child who does not understand her adoption as a daughter in Christ. (Romans 8:15)

We must “put aside” this childish insecurity and fear. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a [wo]man, I put aside childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) We do this by keeping our eyes on the cross!

I want my thoughts and actions to be rooted in love, so I may have the fruit of love in my life. Through Christ, I can be patient, kind, content, humble, considerate of others, rejoicing in the truth, hopeful, persevering, enduring, bearing and believing all things.

I know I can only do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. So I will put my big-girl panties on, ask for His help in uprooting fear, and live a life rooted in His love.

How about you? What fruit have you been producing lately? Share how God is helping you get to the root of things by commenting below.

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14 Days of Loving Jesus: Ideas

IMG_1394February is fast approaching. The stores are already crammed with pink, red, hearts, candy, and stuffed animals advertised marketed towards adults. By March we will see those stuffed animals at the local second-hand store. If you haven’t caught on to my annoyance of this holiday, here it is: I’m annoyed by it.

BUT! Because I can’t escape the constant bombardment to celebrate the holiday, I have decided to use all the red and pink paraphernalia as a reminder to celebrate love in a meaningful way: by showing love to Jesus.

These are 14 ideas on how to show love to Jesus during the Valentine’s season. Each suggestion corresponds to a “Love Language,” or avenue to express love. Only, these expressions are ways to love Jesus, our loving Savior, because He first loved us. Read 14 Days of Loving Jesus: the Project to get the why and “how to” on celebrating the season with Jesus in mind.

  1. Love_letterWrite an encouraging note to the seemingly “unnoticed” person in honor of Christ’s faithfulness to notice and never forget humanity, though we are undeserving.
  2. Do some neighborhood clean up: shovel, pick up trash, etc.
  3. Go for a walk with Jesus.
  4. Write to a Missionary or the child you support with Compassion International.
  5.  Write a love letter to Jesus. Seal it in an envelope and place it on the table during the season. (date the letter and save it for a few years. After a few years, open and read one from 3 years ago every year at Valentines)
  6. Wrap a Bible and give it to someone you have been praying for.
  7. flat,550x550,075,fBuy coffee for somebody, preferably a stranger (I bought coffee for a stressed out college student right before his final.)
  8. Wear a piece of gold-jewelry today as a reminder to thank King Jesus for denying all the riches of heaven to come save us.
  9. Offer to pray for a stranger, out loud with them, then offer a hug: I actually ran into a man who used to be a custodian at the college we do ministry at. I was so blessed to pray for him, in the middle of Walmart. Of all things, a complete stranger later struck up a conversation with me (also in Walmart) and I was able to pray for her too!
  10. Give a prayer foot-rub (or hand massage) to a family member.
  11. Read God’s Word…. its his love-letter to us, enjoy reveling in his love. Try the book of Colossians or some Psalms.
  12. In honor of Christ’s sacrifice, don’t eat any sweets today. When you get the craving for the cookies and candies of the season, be reminded to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8
  13. Share your testimony with someone today: I shared mine with a good friend I have known for several years. Even after all these years, this person had never heard how Christ saved me.
  14. Spend time with Jesus and recall the unique ways He loves you.

(Idea Sources: Lifeway Magazine, December 2012 issue; YouVersion Bible App reading plan: Rediscovering the Christmas Season; friends and family; college students; and my wonderful Junior-high and High-school Sunday-school girls.)

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14 Days of Loving Jesus for Valentines Day: The Project

valentine 3

My husband and I have never recognized Valentines Day. Even when we dated we decided the holiday was an over-stimulated way to recognize what we celebrate everyday. The high expectations and pressure, and overall “cheesiness” of the holiday also kept us at bay.

This year, though, I think I am going to take all the giant hearts and chocolate obsessed grocery-aisles as reminders to celebrate my love for Jesus.

The Sunday-school class I teach for JH and High-school girls found a unique way to celebrate advent (in December). We made paper chains with 25 ways we can show love to Jesus during His Birthday month. Many of the ideas will work well for a Valentine’s advent as well!

jesus_is_my_valentine_postcard-p239154155011089981envli_400

Here is how we created our daily celebration of loving Jesus:

We started with the 5 Love Languages and applied them to ways we can love Jesus. For example

  • Physical Touch can be offering a hug to someone, or holding hands while praying for someone, etc.
  • Giving gifts could be giving a Bible away, or wrapping a present for an “Angel Tree” child.
  • Words of Affirmation: writing a love letter to Jesus and putting it under the tree.
  • Quality Time: spending time reading God’s Word, being still, or worshiping.
  • An Act of Service could look like making your sister’s bed (for the young ladies who still live with their families; my sister did this for me all the time and it always touched me deeply.)

Though it isn’t possible to physically touch Jesus, or actually give Him gifts or service, but Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40). Many of our tasks consisted of things we did for others, but always in the name of loving Jesus.

81802Next, we made paper chains as a reminder of each day’s love-task. We wrote one idea each on strips of paper. Each day, everyone completed their tasks and added a new chain till we had the perfect decoration by the holiday. You can have one chain for the family, or one chain per-person in the family.

You could fill a pretty vase with small notes of these suggestions, and take one out each day. Or fold each suggestion around a piece of chocolate in a chocolate box. You might not eat the entire box of chocolates when you focus on tangibly loving Jesus with each bite.

Or tie each suggestion to a rose. Keep 14 roses in the fridge or a back room; every day you complete the task, bring one rose out into a vase on the dining table; you can see the reminder of your growing relationship with God every day. Have fun and include your roommates or kids. Just remember to keep the focus on loving Jesus during Valentines.

Take some time over the next few days thinking about how God loves you. Get creative and write your ideas on how to “love because He first love us.” Share your ideas with us in a comment below. And don’t forget to get on the beckyrosty.wordpress.com email list, because I’ll be posting ideas soon!

Shane and I will still treat V-day as any ole’ day (which is such a sigh of relief), but I think this exercise in loving Jesus will set my heart aflame for the Lord even more.

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Lessons in faith from 20-year-old-Becky

South Padre Island 2008
South Padre Island 2008

Today I stumbled upon a journal entry I wrote in my early college years. I was going through a stage of loneliness at the time. Having never dated, much less go out on a date, I remember really wanting a boyfriend. I longed for companionship, especially after watching a romantic flick or, in this instance, seeing couples walk on the beach together.

Despite the loneliness, the truth of God’s love pierced my heart in a way that redefined my whole perspective. Now, exactly 4 years later, I am so glad I wrote it down.

January 5, 2008:

beach 2008“There I was, walking barefoot on the beach, alone, and yet so filled with the presence of my Heavenly Father I couldn’t help but smile.  I had wished for somebody to hold my hand, but God sent a wave to come up and caress my toes instead.  I had felt a longing for somebody to tell me I was beautiful, but I heard the sound of the surf crashing upon the rocks, clapping in unspoken appreciation for the daughter created in her Father’s image.  I yearned for somebody to find me worthy enough to plant a kiss upon, and God revealed the sun who kissed me so passionately I won’t be rid of freckles for months…

…I saw love and devotion between two human-beings several times on that beach, but none compares to the way my God loves me. He loves me.”

The Becky-of-today is blown away by the faith of Becky-from-years-past. Reading the words of hope reassures me again today. I lose heart too often, over big things and little things. Then it was loneliness, now its over-crowded living rooms. My 20-year-old self reminds me to take up courage and faith, because God is a great and trustworthy God, whose love never falters.

To those who are doubting, lonely, overwhelmed, hurt, feeling pathetic, going-crazy, or sighing yet again from a heavy burden…I don’t dare to have an encouraging word for the boat we all find ourselves in, but I take comfort that my 20-year-old-self does.

Shane and Becky 2008P.S. It happened sooner than I thought! God blessed me with a great guy who loves the Lord and has kissed almost every freckle on my face. Here we are shortly after we started dating later that year.

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