Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.”
– Marianne Williamson
“There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear.”
– 1 John 4:18
There is a principle I follow especially when I’m at a crossroads and need to make a choice.
Here is my question, “In this specific situation, what drives me? Is it fear or love?
I have a friend who chose to be single. He’s nearing his 30th birthday and he is thinking of entering the seminary.
Is he moved by fear? For instance, maybe he is hiding something; maybe he wants to prove something to other people.
Or is he moved by love? Maybe he sincerely wants to serve the Lord in this special path of priesthood.
Another friend has chosen to stay single for now.
Is he moved by fear? Maybe he does not feel deserving of someone else’s love. Or maybe he is afraid that he will not be a good boyfriend.
Or is he moved by love? Maybe he chooses to love himself more first after a bad breakup. Maybe he is ruthlessly focused on building his business to provide for his ailing parents.
In the examples above, a person’s actions can be driven by fear. And the exact same action can also be driven by love. You always have a choice whether you will come from a place of fear or love.
Fear or Love
You might be asking in your mind, “How will I know? How can I tell the difference?” The word I have is kapanatagan. This means “serenity.”
When you are driven by fear, you feel toxic stress, you’re not at peace and you feel like you’re in a struggle. There is a feeling of discomfort, as if something is misaligned.
When you are driven by love, you feel a sense of peace and serenity. There is an inner knowing that you are well, that you are where you need to be, doing what you need to do, at the time appropriately appointed for you.
Worries and Epiphanies
Marshall is the CEO of his own accounting company that serves global clients. When we met, he had many worries on his mind: business, expansion, partners, etc.
His most pressing concern was the safety and security of his family. He was married with two toddlers. He wasn’t in the best of health, especially with lack of sleep and the stress that comes with managing his business.
Marshall was worried that if he died at that moment, his family couldn’t cope with the loss. He was worried about their finances, the house he’s still paying for, where the kids will transfer if they can no longer afford the tuition fees. He was worried about whether his adoptive family (Marshall was an adopted child) would take care of his family.
His concerns were very real. But Marshall was being consumed by his worries. He lacked sleep. He wasn’t eating well and his stress levels were at an all time high.
While listening to Marshall, I knew there was one question that could help unlock his dilemma. I asked him, “What drives you? Are you driven by fear? Or by love?”
Marshall carried around his various concerns for the future, his finances and the security of his family. He was getting stressed and sick. He felt like he was running out of time.
I coached him through a pattern where he discovered new ways of thinking.
He realized that despite his worries and if he would just strip away the ego, he knew in his heart that his adoptive siblings would indeed take care of his family.
Most importantly, he realized that he wasn’t spending enough time with his kids and wife.
He need not worry about tomorrow — he had prepared enough. What he needed to give attention to was the here and now. He decided to spend more time with his kids and his wife. That was the most important thing that he could possibly do to address his concerns.
The last time I saw Marshall at a conference, he was with his son who was spending a few hours with him.
He also spent time in his hometown reconnecting with his adoptive siblings, stripping away his ego and just expressing the love of a brother to his siblings.
He discovered where his heart needed to be. Coming from a place of love in the here and now.
*This excerpt is taken from You Can Be Happy Again by Edwin S. Soriano.
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