Chris Ackerman

The Opposite of Fear Is…Love?

I love Life Teen’s new theme of Fearless. I feel like it was made perfectly for me for where my prayer has been for the last few months. The Lord has been calling me out of fear, but even more than that, He has been calling me to a greater love and trust.

One day in formation a few weeks ago, we talked about fear, and the opposite of fear is not courage, but love. As Sacred Scripture says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18. Courage fills the gap in the journey from fear to love, but ultimately love conquers fear.

Over the last few months, the Lord has been calling me to a greater trust in Him, which has caused me to look at why I am afraid to trust Him. After much prayer and reflection, I ultimately came to the conclusion that I am afraid to trust the Lord fully because I am afraid to love the Lord fully. This seems like a silly thought, but let’s dive deeper into it. Perfect love means perfect resignation to God’s will, and in God’s will is perfect love. Fear says God isn’t enough, He won’t provide, and I won’t be satisfied. Fear causes me to say, “What if You aren’t enough? Can I trust You with my life?” Love causes me to say, “I trust that Your love is enough.” If I am not afraid of trusting Him in the greatest possible thing in the universe, my eternal salvation, why am I afraid to trust Him in the smaller things, like finances or where I will be next year?

As I said before, the Lord has been calling me out of fear. He has been asking me to trust Him in greater ways by starting small. I was at Benedictine College at the beginning of this month to talk about being missionary in our everyday lives. After my talk was over, another missionary and I were standing at a table outside the auditorium waiting for people to come up and speak with us. Then the thought occurred to me, “Why am I just waiting for people to come up and talk to me? What am I afraid of?” I looked down at the flyer in my hand that said “Fearless.” So I decided to be exactly what it said, and it was greater than I imagined! I spoke to many guys about missions, being missionary, and their possible call to be a full-time missionary. So often do I have these fears about what people will say if I talk about Christ, but what do these fears profit me or the other person? Do I love others enough to share Christ with them?

I’m slowly learning to love God more and to be more fearless. We have a saying here where we live. “When you are struggling with love, love more.” The only way to cast out fear is to continue putting myself out there and loving more, especially when I am scared or struggling to love.

How is the Lord calling you to be more fearless? How is He calling you to a greater love?

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Chris Ackerman

About the Author

During my last year of college, I felt the Lord's call to be a missionary so that I could serve Him alone. I'm crazy about the Church, and I love the Eucharist. My other loves are mowing the grass, a hot cup of coffee, and cooking great food. If you'd like to contact me, email me at [email protected]