May You Find Freedom

may you find freedom

May you find freedom today.

May your arms open
To embrace who you are,
And release who others think you should be.

May your mind open
To forget the mistakes of the past
And dream about the possibilities of the future.

May your eyes open
To see beyond your blinders
Into a greater view of the world.

May your life open
To be with those who are different from you
And experience the world from their perspective.

May your heart open
To love without fear
In receiving or in giving.

May you find the freedom
Of the water:
Free to fill empty space
With life and goodness,
Free to make waves
When the wind blows,
Free to be still
When life calls for calm,
Free to create beauty
With the simple act of reflection.

May you find the freedom
Of shalom:
Wholeness and peace.
At one with Your Creator,
At one with the world,
At one with yourself.

"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)

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Giving Up... My Labels

Lent Series Button Last week, I was getting into my car, and didn’t duck far enough. I bonked my head, hard, on the roof.

I do those kinds of things regularly. I’m clumsy and don’t have the best depth perception.

My reaction in that moment, besides swearing under my breath, was to label myself. My mind was instantly filled with the declaration, “I am such an idiot.” I may have even said that out loud.

I do that a lot. I don't think, "That was a dumb thing." I think, "I am so dumb."

I have told myself that these labels are because I’m self-aware. I know my gifts as well as my faults, and I’m not afraid to talk about them.

But these labels aren’t self-aware, they are self-destructive.

I take the things I do and make them into declarations about who I am. I extrapolate mistakes I make into labels about how I fall short.

I am awkward. I am a poser. I am not good enough.

My own words have become playground bullies using my heart as a punching bag.

There is a spiritual connection between what we speak and what we experience. It is through the Word of God that creation came into existence. Our words have the power to create.

What am I creating when I speak these negative labels?

My words about myself become the lens through which I see myself. I create a reality in which life confirms what I already believe: I fall short.

This is not how God sees me. And until I can align my view of myself with His view of me, I won’t be able to find the intimacy that Christ came to give me.

I need to give up my labels. I need to practice self-correction, and replace what is false with what is true.

I am awkward. I am beloved. I am a poser. I am adopted into God’s family. I am not good enough. I am a new creation.

Lately, I have been claiming these truths about my identity out loud in prayer. It feels weird, probably because it is so different from how I normally refer to myself. But even in the strangeness, it feels right.

I can still admit the behaviors and mistakes and frustrations behind my labels, but I can claim and know and believe that those things are not my identity.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

Christ wants to set me free. If you have the same struggle, He wants to set you free, too.

Let’s give up our self-destructive labels.


Giving Up… is a Lenten Series asking a question: What if we gave up more than external things for Lent? It’s not a belief that we can get rid of our baggage as easily as we can write a blog post. But, it is a belief that admitting those things that keep us from deeper intimacy with Christ is a good start. {Please note, this isn’t in any way meant to be a critique of those giving up something external. Often that is connected to the internal in a powerful way. In my case, though, I realized that the external sacrifice was hindering me from dealing with what was going on below the surface.}

On preaching, inadequacies, and life in Christ

If you would have asked me as a child or even as a college student about some future life aspirations, preaching sermons would not have made the list.  

Especially because I am a woman, and I grew up a paradigm that would not allow for me to be upfront.

 

Yet here I am, having preached for the fourth time in as many months and wondering what crazy work God has done and is doing in my life.

 

Before and after speaking, I swim in a swirl of emotions from wonder to frustration to doubt to joy to regret to fulfillment. I love it and hate it at the same time. I never feel a clear call that I am the perfect person to speak that message- or a clear call that I am not.

 

But I know my main goals are to step in and to listen.

 

Sometimes that listening is difficult.

 

The preparation for my message this past Sunday was particularly exasperating. I felt completely under qualified. The subject was new life in Christ. Which is pretty much the subject of the New Testament.

 

What could I add to the words of Peter and Paul? And what could I say in 30 minutes that would even scratch the surface of this message of the Gospel?

 

As I read and sifted and processed, I often wondered if I should pass the baton to someone who would be better at this than me. But I didn’t. Somehow it seemed that feeling inadequate was actually the perfect place to begin.

 

If I authentically believe that what I do is through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the strength of Christ, for the glory of God, then it’s not about my adequacy. It is about my trust. I have to lean into God more than I count on my gifts.

 

So I did that the best I could.

 

Does that mean I walked away with a message I wouldn’t tweak if I had the chance, with points completely polished, and with a conclusion that would take your breath away? Not in the slightest. There are several things that went well, and many more that I would do differently if I were to give this talk again.

 

Yet I believe that God uses broken vessels to shine His light. I believe He can speak through me because of my gifts or in spite of my gifts, depending on the circumstance.

 

If you would like to listen to the sermon, you can find the audio here. It has my name below it, and is titled "Abundant Living." Using the text of John 10, I talked about how Jesus offers us a full life in which we are saved, we are free, and we are known.

 

The message kicked off with this video called “Something more.” Definitely worth a watch.

Something More from Moving Works on Vimeo.

How would you describe life in Christ?

*Dear readers, would you like me to continue to link to my messages when I speak? Is it interesting or helpful to you in some way? Or does it feel like some sort of awkward plug not fitting for this blog space? I would love to hear your honest feedback if you have any. Either as a comment below or an email. Thanks!