• Linsey Wildey

Walking in the Power of Love

Article written for and published in The Mops Magazine, Summer 2021; www.mops.org


Fear is an important signal as it alerts us to danger, but fear is tricky because it can make our brains think we are in danger when we actually aren’t. Whether we are navigating life post-pandemic, staying with a baby in the NICU, anticipating an upcoming surgery, hiring a babysitter for the first time, launching children to pre school or beyond, or just getting caught up on the world’s headlines, fear and anxiety can oftentimes get more airtime in our hearts and minds than we would like.


So how do we move from being held captive by fear to being held securely by love?


The first place to start is by normalizing the emotion of fear. Sometimes we have guilt or shame for feeling fearful and/or we try to ignore or fight it off, but fear is a normal human emotion. It is a light on the dashboard of our souls that can be a portal to greater honesty and intimacy with ourselves and God.

Once we are able to name our fear without guilt or shame, we can engage in spiritual practices that help move our souls from a fearful place to a place of grounded love. Below are a few spiritual practices to consider for the journey:


MIND

In the language of the Old Testament, David, the poet, invited God to examine his disquieting thoughts. In the New Testament, fearful anxiety is related to the experience of being pulled in different directions internally.

• What are your disquieting thoughts and/or what is pulling you in different directions internally?

• What is the truth about you, God and the situation in which you find yourself?

• Ask God: What do you want to tell me about this fear? How do you want to speak into it?


SCRIPTURE

When we are gripped by fear it can be helpful to remind ourselves of the spiritual safety that is found in God's kingdom. Psalm 23 describes the spiritual safety, provision, sufficiency and love God offers to those who will allow him to be their shepherd. Take some time with this passage in Psalms, letting the words wash over you and imagining yourself in the rich imagery of this setting:


Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, Who cares for me always.

Who provides me rest in rich,

green fields beside streams of refreshing water.

Who soothes my fears;

Who makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths

to roads where truth and righteousness echo Your name.

Even in the unending shadows of death’s darkness,

I am not overcome by fear.

Because You are with me in those dark moments,

near with Your protection and guidance,

I am comforted.

You spread out a table before me,

provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies;

You care for all my needs,

anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil, filling my cup again and again with Your grace.

Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me where I go, always, everywhere.

I will always be with the Eternal, in Your house forever.

*Adapted from The Voice translation


Reflection:

- How was this time for you? What did you notice?


BODY

Listening to Your Body

Our fears and anxieties are held in our bodies.

- What does your body want to do in the midst of the fear you are holding today?

- Does it want to run, curl up under a blanket, get in child’s pose?

If you can, allow your body to do what it wants to do.


Breathe

Take some time to connect to your natural breathing pattern, noticing any tension your body is holding. When ready, silently repeat the phrase below (or one that is meaningful to you) for several minutes:

Inhale: I am safe

Exhale: In your love


Shake

As a way to help your nervous system shake out fear, shake your feet, legs, arms and head one at a time. After shaking each separately, shake your whole body for an amount of time that feels good to you.


Walk/Run

Get outside, breathe and walk and/or run!


Reflection:

- Which of these spiritual practices was most helpful to you?

SOUL

Music

- What music would help you let go and rest in the strength of God’s love?


Some song ideas:

• Psalm 23 (I Am Not Alone) — People and Songs, featuring Josh Sherman

• Soul’s Anthem (It is Well) — Tori Kelly

• Great is Thy Faithfulness — Carrie Underwood and CeCe Winans

• You Know My Name — Tasha Cobbs Leonard

• He Will Hold Me Fast — Keith and Kristyn Getty

• Océanos (Donde Mis Pies Pueden Fallar) — Blest

• Or choose a song that is currently speaking to you on repeat!

Connection

Fear likes to isolate us. Is there a safe someone you can reach out to in this moment and share what is on your heart?


Beauty, Wonder and Gratitude

Fear is focused on the future and robs us from being present in the now. Beauty, wonder and gratitude can orient us back and help us see God’s presence and activity in our lives. Is there a beautiful place you can go to, a loving animal you can be with, and/or pictures that bring forth gratitude in you?


Reflection:

- Which of these spiritual practices was most helpful to you?


CLOSING BLESSING

May the tender strength of God’s love transform your greatest fears, relentless anxieties and nagging worries today as your soul surrenders to resting securely in the power of love.



“There is never a moment when God isn't moving toward the world in love.” — Rich Villodas


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