Tag Archive | freedom

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Keeping it Real

“What if our brokenness reveals more about God’s love for us than our efforts to cover it up?”Girl holding broken heart

These words have stuck with me the last few days.

This is not what I usually think about when it comes to my brokenness. I tend to think more about how I can bury it, get past it, avoiding pain at any cost.

Yet I am coming to realize there are only two ways I can keep my heart alive. I can deaden my heart through denial and addictions, which I hope will numb it. Or I can allow my suffering to expose the real me and lead me to having honest and truthful conversations with God.

The way out is through it…..

                                    God never wastes a hurt……

Two phrases I’m sure you have heard too….and if I am really honest I will admit that I really don’t like those two phrases. Can I trust God? Can I really move from fear to freedom? These words sound so easy don’t they? But actually choosing to trust, well that takes courage, risk and faith doesn’t it?

new heart

 

 

And yet, it is through our suffering and being real with God that we come through the other side a changed person; that the very thing you hate the most in your life is what God wants to use for good in your life. The very thing that brought you such pain is the very thing that God promises He will redeem, the very situation that brought a fracture He can use to grow us up.

 

 

 

Our pain can often reveal God’s purpose for us. Could it be that when you’ve gone through pain, God wants you to help others going through that same hurt.

He wants you to share it.
2 Corinthians 1, verses 4 and 6, “God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things” (NLT).
Jesus died a cruel death on the cross. He didn’t deserve to die. Yet, He went through that pain for our benefit so that we can be saved, He did it to bring us freedom, healing and life. He came so that we could have life and have it more abundantly.
But we tend to spend the majority of our lives running from the memories, the pain and the shame….but you know what?

Jesus is still back there my friends…….

        Waiting…..

               Speaking to you………..

                      Saying; I saw you then…….

                                I see you now………

                                         You are real……….

                                                          You are not alone……..

                                                                       You are not abandoned…………

                                                                                      You are not unwanted………..

                                                                       brokenness

Healing and peace isn’t found by forgetting…..it is found when we risk remembering our pain, shame, fears and our sorrow and being fully present with Jesus….it is found in being “real”.

You keep him in perfect peace (Shalom) whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

Bonnie Gray in her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace says the following:
“Shalom peace from God is a putting back together. It is the movement to recover pieces of ourselves that have been abandoned, a putting back together of what we’ve left behind, to find Jesus with us in our memories.”

Healing…..

……is what we find in this journey with Jesus

……inviting Him back to those places of pain brings Shalom peace, freedom and healing

……we might feel so broken by the wounds but in the process of being real with Him we are actually regaining more of our soul.

Are you willing to be real?

 

Our scars make us know that our past was for real~Jane Austen

broken

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It’s time for a change….

Image

 It’s time for a change….and not just in the design of my blog….but in the design and rhythm of my life.

Have you ever said “I quit”? I have. I have said it quietly while in tears, I’ve shouted it from a place of absolute frustration, I said it in desperate resignation….and I’ve meant it every time…..and yet, too often I find myself right back to the very place where the words buried in my heart once make their way once to the surface.
I quit, it doesn’t sound very Christian does it? But the quitting I am talking about isn’t about weakness and giving up in despair. It’s about strength and choosing to live in truth. It will require the death of illusions….no longer pretending….quitting for me is about choosing.
It involves quitting those things that are damaging to my soul, or to the souls of others, it then frees me to choose other ways of being and relating that are rooted in love and lead to life.
Things like:
-quit fearing what others think and choose freedom
-quit faulty thinking and choose to live in reality
and there are more that I desire to unpack as I begin this new journey.

Author Bonnie Gray, in her book: Finding Spiritual Whitespace says the following:
“I believed my faith buried my hurt in the past, but I was using faith to hide from the past . . . What’s worked for me since I was a child – staying strong, reading more Scripture, praying more fervently, exerting more self-discipline, applying greater optimism – isn’t going to solve this problem. Jesus has been whispering one phrase into my heart – follow the current downstream. I’ve rowed my boat upstream for so long, I didn’t know if I could stop.”

Whitespace….I like that word.

Finding spiritual whitespace isn’t about carving out an hour of time to escape the things that stress us. It’s the opposite. It’s getting away from everything we do to distract ourselves from all the hidden pieces — in order to nurture our soul.
For the last year I found myself in a place where I ran out of words. I no longer had anything to say and God felt so far away. I gave up reading….both books and the Word to a degree.
Even though I knew I ought to pray, praying felt like another check box that left me feeling guilty.
Life is complicated isn’t it?

This past year I have looked at my everyday life, both at work and home, and I have felt overwhelmed with dilemmas, conflicting desires and needs, which left me feeling discouraged.

Ironically, when we’re most stressed, we often deprive ourselves of what we need most: God’s goodness.
Somehow, we’ve learned we deserve to rest only after we solve our problems…..

But the truth is that it is just the opposite.
We need God’s tender, loving care and we need to give ourselves permission to receive and enjoy it.
Unconditionally.

My friends, in this day and age, rest is radical.

It takes the walls down; allowing us to become real, authentic, human, and spiritual.

Bonnie Gray again says:
“We become real, vulnerable, open with our weaknesses, not just our strengths.
Rest brings us closer to each other, to strangers who become friends and to God because our hearts are tender and vulnerable.
I want to bring this message of rest with my whole heart,so I’m letting go of expectations. Saying the harder “no” to expectations, performing, dysfunctional relationships –and saying “yes” to finding spiritual whitespace.”

I am finding myself stressed, overwhelmed and feeling lonely among the chaos of life in our digitized, fast-paced world of wonderful technology — which I love and enjoy –but I know I need a shot of soul rest.

I need slowing down.

I want to write to the rhythm of rest. I want to write out of a heart fully alive, engaged.

You are welcome to journey with me….Let’s see what God will speak to us and through us during this time….

 

 

Finding rest and freedom in following my Father’s leading…..

Continuing on from the previous post, Coloring inside the lines  regarding the topic of mask wearing, of hiding and of striving, God is choosing to minister to this “recovering perfectionist” through an intimate women’s study that I am involved in. We are reading the book: Grace for the Good Girl; letting go of the try hard life, by Emily P. Freeman.

  Following is something Carolyn, one of the women from our group, shared during one of our bible study times….it is shared from the heart of a woman who is also on a journey, a beautiful sister in Christ and a cherished friend, whose heart our heavenly Father is pursuing….she is getting a taste of the freedom He offers and what it means to walk in the confidence of God’s grace, and I am so thankful that I am on this journey with her…..And as I share it with you today it will give you a glimpse into not only her heart, but also a glimpse of our Father’s heart, His heart for you….

These are her words:

I’m currently studying a book with a few ladies, “Grace for the Good Girl” by Emily P. Freeman. In it she talks about being free of the need/drive to do and say the things we believe will please others. She speaks about taking off the masks that we so carefully put on before we step outside our door every day because we are afraid of people seeing the “real” us. She talks about being free of striving to be the person we believe others are expecting us to be. As I take the information in and mull it around I struggle with knowing how to do that? What will people think of me? Will people still like me? What would that look like? Won’t people think I’m rude, lazy, a failure? How do I balance out this letting go of perfection?

Dec 10th – 3am.

The Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me and very lovingly and gently addressed my questions. He spoke to me about balance. I was struggling to figure out how to find balance between the perfectionist/good girl and who I would be if I were free from the need to try and please others. My question of “what would that look like” was based on my fear of what others would think of me if I was not always pleasant, happy, agreeable, and available to help.

But God showed me I need to change the center “pivotal point” of my balance scale. I should not be focused on trying to please people. My focus needs to be my Father.

When Jesus was on earth was he always smiling? I’m sure he was not. Did he always answer people that he was fine? Again, not. Did he heal everyone? No. Was he kind to every person he met? No. There were those he rebuked. Was he always pleasant? No. Did he always do the things others though he should be doing? Absolutely NOT! So to sum it up he was unpleasant at times, unhappy, angry. He left some people dissatisfied (according to their worldly wants/desires)……yet he was doing the will of his Father. YES!

That is how my focus has to change. As Emily mentions so many times in her book I need to follow my Father. Then do not feel guilty that I am not pleasing people.

I was created to worship God and I am here at this time to draw close to Him and do the things that please him.
If that does not please “man” that is where the word “fine” fits.

And as I give myself permission to stop trying to please “man” and desire to please God I know that also frees me from judging others. I can allow them to be free to do the Father’s will in their lives and not require them to do what I think God’s will might be for them.

I need to change the fulcrum in my scale from man to God. When I do that I no longer need to know what it will look like. I will be free in following my Father’s leading.

They Have Eyes but Cannot See

Quit scraping and fawning over mere humans, 
   so full of themselves, so full of hot air! 
   Can’t you see there’s nothing to them?  
(Isaiah 2:22 – The Message)
A few years ago I began to set boundaries between my parents and me.  It started with reading the Bible, especially the Old Testament, most especially Isaiah.  Isaiah hits idolatry hard.  One day while reading about the futility and madness of trying to pacify and seek rescue from gods of our own making, God put a crack in my armor around my relationship with my parents.  With the smallest whisper of doubt I asked myself, ‘am I an idolator?’
That moment a light switch was turned on inside me.  I realized my parents had taken a place in my heart where only God belonged.  It felt like someone had punched me hard in the stomach.  I almost threw up.  
I often wonder about the people in history who turned their back on paganism to worship the living God.  Old roots grow deep and don’t pull up easily.  I imagine a new believer walking by his former temple on the way to worship.  He saw the bright colors, heard the chanting and instruments, smelled the incense and burning sacrifices.  These sensory experiences were tied to deep hooks pulling the worshiper back.  By classical conditioning he must have felt guilt and the fear of his neglected god’s wrath as if on cue.
 
I sometimes feel idolatrous hooks tugging on my own throat.  A certain part of me still longs to win the elusive prize of parental approval and acceptance.  Never mind that that strategy hasn’t turned out so well for me in the past.  I’d be better off hitting myself with a hammer so I could feel relief when I stop.  Only the grace of God can set me free from this compulsion.  A good friend recently reminded me that God paid a high price for my freedom.
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. (Galatians 5:1 – The Message)
May God give us the strength and grace today to live up to our freedom!