Substitute the word mothers for pastors, and our children for the saints, and this quote from one of my favorite young theologians speaks right to the heart of so many women I know, myself included.
If I burn dinner, spill Clorox on Steve's favorite shirt, or puncture a tire on the van, that is bad. When it comes to parenting my children - including this whole homeschool thing - if I "do it wrong," the potential negative consequences of my ineptitude are terrifying.
"What if I do it wrong?!" The fear a mother often feels when faced with the responsibility of nurturing and training other eternal souls is palpable, even paralyzing.
Well, let's look at that question just a minute: What if I do it wrong?
If I "do it wrong," will my failure trump God's sovereignty? No.
If I "do it wrong," will God be unable to redeem my mistakes? No.
If I "do it wrong," will God be unable to redeem my children? No.
If I "do it wrong," will my security as God's child be compromised? No.
If I "do it wrong," will God love me any less? No.
Who am I kidding?! IF I do it wrong - I have been doing things wrong my entire life! That's why I need Jesus in the first place! IF I do it wrong...there's no IF to it!
So what's to be done with this fear?
1 John 4:18 says: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."
I am afraid, because if I "do it wrong," I must be punished. But hold on just a minute. For me, a child of God by the atoning work of Jesus, my punishment has already been dealt with. God - my Father - punished Jesus - my Bridegroom - in my place.
Even if I "do it wrong," I do not have to be afraid! God himself has taken care of everything!
God is not my parole officer: He is my Father. Jesus is not my parole officer: He is my Bridegroom.
The security offered in 1 John 4:18 is grounded not on my perfect love - for God, for my kids, for anyone - but on God's perfect love for me. God's love is perfect. I have no need to fear.
G.K. Chesterton once wrote, "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly."
No, GKC was not excusing laziness or sloppy work. He was, however, saying that as Christ's beloved, we do not have to be hindered in what we do by our fear of imperfection. If a thing is worth doing, then do it! Stop being afraid of doing it wrong, and trust the Father who loves you perfectly!
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"There was a time when you and I and all of us were all very close to God; so that even now the color of a pebble (or a paint), the smell of a flower (or a firework), comes to our hearts with a kind of authority and certainty; as if they were fragments of a muddled message, or features of a forgotten face. To pour that fiery simplicity upon the whole of life is the only real aim of education; and closest to the child comes the woman - she understands. To say what she understands is beyond me; save only this, that it is not a solemnity. Rather it is a towering levity, an uproarious amateurishness of the universe, such as we felt when we were little, and would as soon sing as garden, as soon paint as run...
"[The woman] was maintaining the bold equilibrium of inferiorities which is the most mysterious of superiorities and perhaps the most unattainable. She was maintaining the prime truth of the woman, the universal mother: that if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly."
- G. K. Chesterton: What's Wrong with the World