“I want to build out of love, not fear.”

I’ve been thinking about these words for a few weeks now, since reading them in Hannah Brencher’s new book Come Matter Here: Your Invitation to Be Here in a Getting There World. How many of my decisions have been made out of fear, I wonder. Am I still living in this city out of fear, despite saying years ago I wanted to move somewhere new for an adventure? Am I single out of fear, because relationships that start to feel real freak me out and cause me to run? Am I staying in my comfortable job out of fear, even though there’s not a lot of room for growth here?

What would it look like if I built my life out of love instead of fear?

It’s a great question. It’s gotten me thinking about my life from a new perspective, and I’m grateful for that. My favorite books (and favorite authors) are always the ones who prompt me to engage in the world around me (or the world inside of me) in new and compelling ways, and Hannah’s new book does that beautifully.

“God doesn’t see us as construction zones covered in caution tape,” she writes, “but that’s usually how we see ourselves.”

Nailed it. As soon as I started thinking about how fear has hindered me, I immediately started feeling shame about the ways I’ve fallen short or failed to live to my fullest, God-given potential. I felt exactly like a construction zone that needed danger signs and caution tape all around. This girl is a mess. She doesn’t have a plan. Nothing’s figured out here. It’s all risky and dangerous and in progress– stay out! You’ve been warned.

But the thing is, God doesn’t see us like that. He sees our value, our beauty, our worth, our inherent belovedness. And he wants to help us not just live but thrive, not just survive but flourish. We aren’t in this fight alone. We aren’t building our lives on our own. It’s not all up to us, thank God. (And thank you, Hannah, for reminding us all of truth for the times when the lies get loud.)

“God doesn’t stop providing. He’s constant in the provision, whether we see it or not. It’s just that sometime he starts providing differently, depending on what we need for the moment.”

His love for me (and for you) means fear doesn’t get the final word. His love surpasses the doubt, wraps me in truth, and shines light into every corner of the darkness. He is faithful and he is generous and he is reckless in his love, even when our lives feel like construction zones.

Hannah’s book is a refreshing invitation into a fuller, more abundant and free life– a life where we matter here, right where we are, right in the center of God’s will for us, thick in the midst of his unending love. When we feel like we’re in the wilderness of anxiety or depression, when we feel isolated and alone and lacking in any real community, when we’re fighting to feel significant or important in any way, we are reminded in this book that we do indeed matter here. Her story echoes so many of our own– moving cities, fighting depression, battling anxiety, struggling to find community, building relationships, growing in faith, discovering our true identities– something in this book will surely resonate with your season and circumstances, and you’ll feel less alone in it all. It’s a gift.

At the end of each chapter, Hannah invites readers to “steal this prayer,” and each time, I gladly did. Her words bolstered my own, giving me new language for entering into a deeper relationship with my God. Here’s a favorite:

“Dear God– take away my fear and morph it into love. Remind me not to feed the lions in my brain. I so badly want to use my best energy to be thankful instead of fearful. Cover my days in real and lasting love. Teach me an anthem of love over fear.

So come, matter here. This is your invitation to a life of so much more than fear– come into all you were born and made to be. Here is where it’s happening, and God’s got his hands all over it.

Rachel Dawson

Author Rachel Dawson

Rachel Dawson is a believer, editor, writer, social media manager, and bookworm living in Richmond, VA. She's the design editor for a handful of Christian sites by day, and runs The Rising blog and quite a few other creative and community-building endeavors on the side. You’ll often find her in coffeeshops with her nose in a book and a vegan latte in hand, but she’ll drop everything to swap stories and talk about Jesus with you. She also loves the Enneagram, doodling her sermon notes, Instagramming too much, tacos, and sharks... you know, the important things. You can find her online at racheladawson.com or @racheladawson on Twitter and Instagram.

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