Hurdles to Free Living and the Strength that Makes them Small

Learning to confidently be who God made you to be is hard when you live in a world of people who are messed up just like you.

We do it to each other. We make it hard for each other to live freely when we assume the things we don’t know, when we lack communication, build invisible walls and forget that we are people who need each other.

Jesus experienced it. He knew the Pharisees thoughts assuming the worst about His words of forgiveness. (Matthew 9) He was judged, thought the worst of. He lived it for us, lived the life our soul deeply longs to be rid of. And He offers us His own life.

There is strength in knowing He lived the struggles we live, strength in knowing He has given us His own joy.

When all the cares of this body and this world weigh us down, we are given a hope in that. It’s simple, but it’s the deep truth we long for, the key that blows the door open and lets the Spirit shine through. For those burdened times and all the time, the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Neh. 8:10)

When I make that a part of me, the sin that stands to face me doesn’t look so big. When I take those words to heart, knowing the day is near, I can live in this glorious truth: His joy will soon shatter every evil thing and I will live with no hindrances to keep me from glorying in His goodness forever. 

This is Day 5 in 31 Days of Listening

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My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Freely Living the Story

Dear reader,

I’m really enjoying having you as a kind of accountability in my life right now. Knowing that you may be there reading this gives me an extra reminder to look for the blessings the Lord wants to give me. Having this place to share it makes me so excited to listen for the grace-giving words in my day. Thank you so much for reading, for letting me have a place to share grace.

Today God made grace large in my life in the words of Revelation 1:

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Pssst… I’m attending Bible Study Fellowship’s study on Revelation this year so if I talk about Revelation a lot, now you know why. Just thought I’d let you know. :)

“The revelation of Jesus Christ… Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near… To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'” (portions of Rev. 1 ESV)

I get concerned about doing all of it right… you know what I mean? I want to have my priorities straight. I want to do my Bible study right. I want to talk to God the right way. I want to live wife and mother right. And if I feel like I might not be doing it right, sometimes instead of bringing it to God and stepping into the next moment He has for me, I sit there on top of insufficiency and sink into all she wants to tell me.

But… Revelation tells me to hear and keep the things it tells me, (verse 3) to take them to heart as the NIV says. And maybe when I take something to heart, I make it a part of me where it starts to affect my thoughts and actions.

“Behold, he is coming with the clouds.”

When I make that a part of me, when I let my mind live there, I realize that my life, my story is perhaps like a sentence, or even a word, inside a much bigger story. I am privileged to be a part of the story, and I’m not insufficient if my life doesn’t tell the whole story. I wasn’t meant to tell the whole story.

I am an image bearer. (Gen. 1:27) I am a member of His body, (Eph. 5:30) but I am not His whole body. His church bears His image together, not separately.

Jesus came to free me from my sin. (verse 5) He makes me a priest to the Father. (verse 6) And as I make this a part of me, I am blessed. Because though I am broken, He gives me sacred purpose. But He makes me free inside that purpose… This is what freedom is: while on our own we are not enough, in Him we are safe from insufficiency.

Last night my daughter was nervous about staying in her room alone. When I told her that Jesus can make her safe, she held on to that word safe so tightly saying it again and again. We are people that crave safe, because that is what we were made for.

You, me… Son, Daughter of the King, let us live in the safety of knowing that He has made us His. Even though we mess up, He will never let us lessen the greatness of the story. He is coming and this story is bigger and better than our own lives. May we live freely in the piece of the story He gave us to play.

This is Day 3 in 31 Days of Listening

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My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

The Conflict of Boldness

Liz Curtis Higgs promotion of her new book, It’s Good to be Queen, caught my attention on twitter. She talked about boldness, and I think the reason it stood out was because I’ve been feeling funny about that word lately, and I haven’t been able to put my finger on the reason. So, of course, I had to watch her video about being bold.

When Liz spoke of her speaking encounter it struck me, that she found that out of 600 women she was speaking too, only 3 raised their hands admitting a desire to be bold. And I wonder if I would have raised my hand. Boldness can feel like such a tricky thing. And Liz’s words are helping me understand the conflict in my own heart.

Liz spoke of the two kinds of boldness. As a person saved by grace, I can live a boldness that comes from the Lord, but I can also live a boldness that comes from my own sinful flesh.

When Liz asked the women she spoke with why (as it seemed) they didn’t want to be bold, they gave answers saying they didn’t want to come across too forward. They didn’t want to make too much of themselves.

And I think as Liz spoke out on this, she identified a fear in my own heart. The reason it’s hard to live in the boldness of Jesus is because I’m afraid people will misunderstand my motives. I’m afraid that people will think I’m living out of the boldness of my own flesh.

It’s easy to justify living in this kind of fear because I can simply tell myself that I’m being humble, but often that’s not the truth at all, and in fact I’m living in fear of what Jesus put on my heart to do. Instead of being humble, I’m avoiding the risk of having people think that I’m not humble.

Perhaps the best ways that the boldness of Jesus will be lived out in me may come out with pieces of my own fleshly motives. And perhaps God is reminding me that the only way I can let His light come through me is by relying on Him in prayer and faith.  

Today I’m challenged to live in prayer and listen to the Spirit. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7 NIV) Children of God, may we live in the boldness of the Spirit inside us, embracing the freedom that the Spirit provides from our own flesh. May we live boldness like We Are Found. (Phil. 3:9)

This is Day 2 in 31 Days of Listening

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My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Imperfect Yes

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This is a wall plaque that I started making over a year ago – a project I began, not in the house we lived in before this one, but in the apartment we were in before that. I kept the spot empty on the wall waiting for it, and it never got there. I stopped at the point of writing the words on it because I started thinking about how much I disliked my handwriting. I was afraid it would look too imperfect so I kept putting it off.

This week someone told me something that triggered my yes. They confessed to me, that they refrain from doing the things they should because of the fear that they won’t do it well. And God used their confession to bring the question to me: Do I refuse to do things, things that I was meant to do, because of the fear of doing it imperfectly? Yes. Yes, I do it in so many things.

I started listing them in my head, and in the middle of my day I thought of this plaque. I took the marker and scrolled the verse I love in the handwriting I’ve always thought looked as if it was written by a hand much younger and less experienced than my own. I was determined to write it out boldly anyway. I’ve lived so many no’s. This was to be a new firm yes, undeterred by my own imperfections. I finished it and read it back to myself.

He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore will I glory in my weaknesses that that that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

There it was: three ‘that’s in a row. I tried to figure out how to fix it, then I decided to leave it as is, and I hung it on the wall anyway. Because… it fits the verse and I suppose it’s an even better reminder this way. It’s my reminder to live the yes – not only despite my imperfections. It’s a reminder to live the yes firmly, and to glory in the imperfections of it, because, like the verse says, my weaknesses are where He shows His glory.

Imperfection is not my intention, but it will happen and the enemy may try to wave it in my face as a threat. But my God has given me the truth that exposes my enemy for the fake he is. The sword he waves at me is as good as a rubber toy. Not only are my imperfections not a threat, they are the very means through which God chooses to show His strength and glory. These threats of imperfection hold no weight because my God created me to be an image bearer, a vessel through which His glory shines greatest in an imperfect yes.

 

I’m linking up with Kate for five-minute Friday. Please give her a visit and enjoy some encouraging words about the word yes. http://katemotaung.com/2015/09/03/five-minute-friday-yes/

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.