Welcome everyone, to this week's post featuring Farah Harris! Farah does a great job explaining how and why, the desired outcome to our actions often have opposite effects. It's a thought provoking article that will show you some ways in which you can look into yourself and start "loving" in healthy manner. For those of you who were able to attend our seminar, Farah has really able to build from one of Scott's analogies. Here's what she has to say:

How do you love? Is it out of fear? This is probably a question many of you have never asked yourselves. Let me preface by saying that I am using Biblical definition of love. In the Bible, love is not a feeling, it is an action verb. That stated, when one receives love, it is known by the experience of another person’s actions. We love because he [God] first loved us. 1 John 4:19.

Unfortunately, there are times that our act of love is rooted in fear. For example, as a parent, you are fearful or anxious that your child will struggle with the same issues you struggled with, or are fearful of what could happened to them due to what you read and hear in the news. When you love from this place of anxiety, your child is not experiencing love or even hearing your concerns; they are hearing and experiencing your fear. Picture someone speaking to you while demonstrating how to use a toy helicopter. As it flies and hovers about, you are no longer listening to the instruction and guidance of the person controlling the helicopter; your attention is now focused on the action of the helicopter itself. This is what happens when communicating with your child. They are so distracted by your anxiety (hovering) that your well-meaning intentions of protecting and caring for them goes unheard, or is misunderstood. Does the phrase “actions speak louder than words” ring a bell?

I see this also occurring with couples where one spouse will assume they are being selfless but in reality they are being selfish. Whether it is their issues with rejection, their struggle with people pleasing, or even pride, if the end result is not about pleasing and the betterment of your partner, but about protecting you, in reality your action is self-serving.

Let us go back one verse where it states in 1 John 4:18 that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” What does this mean? Simply, it means that love and fear cannot coexist. The latter half of the verse speaks to the person who loves from a place of fear. But where does this come from? Why do we do this? Oftentimes we love by how we ourselves were loved coupled with our life experiences. If we had a neglectful, ungracious, or abusive parent, in future relationships we may tend to overcompensate for what we lacked from our parents in the way that we love others. Unfortunately, when we do this, we believe we are making right the wrongs of our past, but when you dissect it, it is more so your unresolved issues of your past that are at play. It is self-interested love that fears; pure and unselfish love has no fear.

So how do we love perfectly when we are imperfect people, and imperfect people have tried and failed in loving us? Good question. First, we have to be honest with ourselves and recognize that we are loving out of fear. Secondly, we need to assess where this fear comes from. Once you have identified the fear, it doesn’t mean now your actions are justified, it purely means you can begin loving in truth. You confess that you are fearful and anxious about being hurt (rejected, blamed, etc.). Now you can begin the healing process of grieving the loss of the perfect love you didn’t receive as a child, forgiveness toward those that have hurt you, and most importantly giving yourself grace through it all.

By Farah Harris