Freedom in Christ
Freedom in Your “hodgepodge”!
Enjoy the walk exactly where you are and walk in that assignment. Your design, your purpose may be “hodgepodge” – enjoy it and find freedom in your difference.
We hear about “style” in all areas of our lives – clothing, decorating and even in cooking but what does that mean? There is no right or wrong, (REALLY – though some will disagree) it’s just different. It comes down to what you prefer – what makes you happy – what looks good to your eye – what brings life and freedom to your life.
In the midst of this style conscious world I have observed and questioned my oddity. But, I have a wonderful friend who’s decorating style is “minimalist” – I go into her home and it has a peaceful flow, clean and open. I love it! But, it’s not me. I’m not country, or contemporary, and surely not modern, so – maybe I don’t have one, and my hodgepodge style struggled on.
For years I have contemplated the word “hodgepodge” – a word my mom would use – sounding like a swear word. I have carried that “hodgepodge” like shame over my head – but it’s not wrong – it’s just different. I enjoy multiple types of wood furniture in the same room, different art pieces of every style and “clutter” treasures tucked here and there. It is funny, how a name changes everything! One day I found the word “eclectic” attached to a home decorating magazine and my heart skipped a beat – that’s me – I have a “named” style – I am eclectic! Wow – freedom!
Now I can enjoy, embrace and walk in my “style” freedom; finding freedom in who I am – in my hodgepodge. And now a recent example of this presented it’s self in my beautiful courtyard. Within our back yard, I have a secluded little courtyard – my secret garden, and I have it filled with pots and plants. As I originally designed it, I worked hard to keep the ceramic pots color coordinated, the plants all in shades of purples and blues with a touch of pink and white. It was nice, but now as those pots are overgrown they are ready to be re-done. Pondering this job, a freedom emerged and I am embracing my “eclectic” style and began choosing just what I like – I now will have reds, yellows, and oranges right there next to the blues, pinks and purples and I even added different colored pots.
Spiritually speaking – BE who you are – find true freedom in who HE has created you to be! Enjoy the walk exactly where you are and walk in that assignment. Your design, your purpose may be “hodgepodge” – enjoy it and find freedom in your difference.
I Corinthians 7:17a Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. (NASB)
John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (ESV)
And the Walls Come Down!
Walls are meant to protect, to keep out or to keep in.
But unbeknownst to us we find that outside forces have placed walls around us. Walls that set limitations on who we are – such as physical or mental illnesses, financial barriers, broken toxic relationships, and even environmental constraints; these are walls that must be broken down to allow freedom in our lives.
The story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho is a great example for us to consider. Joshua knew Jericho was promised territory but with thick tightly shut walls there was no way in. They had natural options just like we have – battle through with all the weapons and strength available, negotiate and manipulate to make a deal that allows a win or to listen and obey the voice of the Spirit of the living God.
Here, for Joshua and for us lies the rub! To run ahead and do all that is naturally possible makes the most sense – for isn’t that what makes a strong independent people?
The hardest thing to do is to choose to believe what you cannot do or see! Having faith in God – stopping your own striving, working, and trying – it is not easy but it is the only way that HE can come in and show himself strong on your behalf.
And the Walls Come Down!
Joshua and all of Israel chose to listen and obey – to do what didn’t make sense. They were to quietly walk around the city once a day for 6 days then on the 7th day walk around it 7 times and at the sound of the trumpet shout and rejoice that GOD was delivering the city into their hands. Now remember, they did these things before they saw those walls start to shack, crumble and fall down – they rejoiced BEFORE – for they knew a God that was faithful to His promises. That sound, the sound of rejoicing erupting from them was the key! We too, can listen and obey – and as we rejoice BEFORE we see results the shaking is occurring in the heavenly’s .
And the Walls Come Down!
Freedom can be found! The walls that have blocked you in – limiting you in that which God has chosen for you to do must come down.
The lies of the enemy of your soul can be set back! As you accept and stand up with the authority that you have been given as a child of the King of Kings, a believer in all that the blood of Christ purchased for you, you too can listen and obey the voice of the Spirit of the living God.
And the Walls Come Down!
Rejoicing BEFORE you see the outcome because HE is faithful, because He is a good father and because He is always for you – that is where freedom begins, that is where the battle is won, that is where peace in all circumstances begins!
Only then do you look and find that the miraculous has occurred.
And the Walls Come Down!
Fly – Jump – Run! The Gold Medal Awaits You!
As a mom it’s been my joy to watch my kids play, jump and run – nothing is out of reach. They fall down, we pick them up; they skin a knee, we bandage it; they even break a bone or need a few stitches in the process. But during this time in these little lives we see a freedom that most of us lose – a freedom to believe we can fly, we can reach the stars if we jump high enough, we can run the “fastest” and always WIN.
Let’s consider an Olympic gold medalist. This winner does not get to the winners platform by happenstance – not because another saw a talent, not because of special treatment but because of single focus. The journey began with love and passion – one step, one direction at a time. When this day arrived, the gun went off, the race began and the only focus was forward; there could be nothing but the finish line. Deep down inside the winner will WIN and so faith and focus prevail!
Once the gun went off was there a backward look to evaluate the “near miss”, maybe just a glance to see the cheering crowd, or for sure, to check out how far ahead of the competitors they were?
NEVER ONCE – for looking back for any reason causes distraction and can quickly end the race due to unexpected failure.
Just as in the natural so is our race in the spiritual. We often live our lives looking backwards. We find ourselves living in past hurts, joys, wishful thinking and regrets – all of which cause distractions and derailment of God’s plan in our lives. The faith for the impossible – the faith for tomorrow’s new adventures, and the finish line wins all get sidelined. We have forgotten that we can fly, we can reach the stars and we can run the “fastest” and always WIN.
When you find yourself in this place how do you get back in the race?
Just like the Olympic winner – it takes single focus! Our single focus has to be on the face of Jesus! He is and always is FOR YOU! Just ask – He will restore what has been lost so that just like a child you can jump back up, get back in the race and make it to the finish line a winner. He can restore the belief that you can fly, you can reach the stars and you can run the “fastest” and always WIN.
Don’t look back – look forward to what He has placed within you! Get up and move one step at a time into His impossible opportunities in your life. Run, Run, Run like a child again – for then comes the freedom to believe, the freedom to see yourself the winner that you are!
Fly – Jump – Run for the gold medal awaits you!
Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But, one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
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As you see the stands explode with jumping and screaming fans you too erupt with cries of joy as the quarterback plows through the waiting wall of defense- making the final winning touchdown.
My recent enjoyment of football has my family grinning at me as I jump, shout and scream throughout – a newbie to the game. We all find ourselves expressing these same extravagant behaviors at many events in our daily lives – births, weddings, and birthdays, to name a few. These celebrations are in fact a type of worship.
Comparing these celebrations with our worship of the King of Kings brought a smile to my face; I remembered David’s extravagant – all out there – worship in the streets. Shouldn’t we have that same exuberance and freedom as we express our love and adoration in the presence of the Lord?
Our love for Jesus and our wholehearted worship of him both at church and home can be just as energetic, powerful and life giving.
The psalms are filled with life’s rough times – betrayals, persecutions and trials of every sort but the psalmist voice always comes back to a place of worship and awe for the goodness and steadfast love of the Lord.
As we look up – the very air we breathe crackles with His life. We see His glory and power in all of creation, from the towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and crashing waves to the tiny ants diligence, the bees’ productivity and the ever re-producing seeds around us. His glorious creativity blooms – the awe of who He is stirs a depth of worship beyond a song, a shout or a dance.
It’s this depth of worship that gets you through times of trial! As deep calls to deep within your spirit you can suddenly see that this type of worship is far bigger then you! It’s a response crying from within, it’s a response that brings life and freedom, and it’s a response toward your Lord whose steadfast love continually carries you. When that awe begins to grow inside of you suddenly it is just like that “touchdown”; the exuberance erupts with joyous shouts, songs and dancing.
It’s this place – this place of unabashed expression of how good God is that brings freedom, life abundant and power to overcome the “stuff” of this life.
Reach up, dig deep, go long with all that is within you – rejoice and worship at the feet of Jesus. Leave the rest behind and dive for the touchdown!
Psalm 150:1-6 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord. (ESV)
“Higher – Daddy, Higher!”
Children love to go higher and higher, to be lifted, to swing, to climb – always asking and desiring “Higher – daddy, higher”.
As a young child I would swing for hours pushing higher and higher until I could hear the “ker-thunk” of the swing set legs lifting slightly up and then back into their sleeves, enjoying every minute of free-flight freedom. I would also find the same release of joyous freedom when I would twirl round and round with arms stretched out and head staring straight up at the clouds; spinning like a top until I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand upright anymore – landing in a heap in the grass. And another childhood memory – my love of encountering a grassy hill! Without words the race to the top would begin, no thought given to the inevitable grass stains and no concern to the possible nauseous feeling at the end. The only desire was the exuberant release of joy and freedom that was to come as I rolled all the way to the bottom.
Do you remember those times of untethered freedom expressed in childhood? Most of us have some or have loved watching our children or grandchildren experience them.
But then the time comes where these types of behaviors are no longer appropriate; we grow up. However, we still search to find that same release of joyous freedom. As adults we shift our search to downhill skiing, bungie jumping, skydiving, zip-lining and a myriad of similar extreme sports, finding the release of joyous freedom that explodes us out of our care, worries and craziness of life. All of these examples speak of our desire for the exhilarating joy that freedom brings.
These experiences of “letting go of everything” require a faith! It stirs a belief that we will be ok, that this is worth the risk, that this is really a safe activity.This is an ultimate trust in our God who is good and has our lives in His hands.
We believe, desire and declare, “Higher – Daddy, higher”.
However, when life throws you an unexpected curve ball, life begins to spin out of control, life pulls you into the pit; suddenly the free fall fun is no longer joyful or freeing. Your trust is shaken, you pull back, you hang on and fear takes over! This overwhelming grief, this unexpected medical diagnosis, this heart-stopping loss or this unrelenting pain begins to run your life!
The spinning and out of control feeling has changed, what previously brought joyous freedom now is overwhelming, why?
Your eyes have become focused on the mountain not on the creator of that mountain; you have forgotten who is pushing the swing.
Looking back to the face of Jesus, His promises and His love for you is the key. As you lean into His presence – it will bring you back to that child like trust, allowing you to “let it go”; stirring joy and releasing freedom in the very center of the chaos. On this zip-line life journey, the fears that claw and grasp at your heart will soon begin to dissolve. The balm of Gilead with healing will soothe your heart and life will begin again.
Return as a child to swing higher and higher with your daddy – He’s got you – trust in His love for you, then the exhilarating release of joy and freedom will return and lift you from the pit.
Let go of the fear, grief, pain and loss; turn and declare, “Higher -daddy, higher” as you find that place of peace and trust that only exist in the presence of the arms of Jesus.
Psalm 40:2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet up on a rock, making my steps secure. (ESV)
Psalm 103:2-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.(ESV)
Photo courtesy of firstname.lastname@example.org
Today my jewelry box got some much-needed attention – bracelets popping open the lid, necklaces spewing from the drawers, the obvious answer – time consuming sorting.
A bundle of tangled chains required the most attention, sitting for an extended time, picking patiently, unable to tug them apart for fear of breaking the delicate links, Oh what a tangled mess.
One by one they slowly released, the first one – a heart with Jesus written on it, getting my attention as the spirit began speaking, while the second, a silver heart unraveled in my hand, one by one they now untangled, ending with a silver pearl.
We are just like those tangled chains!
Our lives filled with tangled messes, costume and precious jewels all mixed together, allowing our tangled thinking, feelings and life’s activities to ensnare us, causing the precious to become ineffective, often forever lost.
When Jesus is our number one focus, He begins the unraveling process – He gets our heart, the costume falls off and the pearl remains.