As a mother of three boys, there was a stage of life, where all conversations revolved around superheroes. I could probably name all the superheroes (both DC and Marvel), but as far as their superpowers, I only know the supernatural giftings of a few. However, my boys knew all the superpowers and were always discussing the pros and cons of one superpower over another. One afternoon, my boys and I had just sat down for lunch. A few bites into the meal, my one son who would rather talk than eat food, asked his other two brothers a question. “Which superpower would you rather have: x-ray vision or the ability to read people’s minds?” I don’t remember how the debate ended up. I just remembered thinking, I hope nobody ever has the ability to read minds, because mine can sometimes be downright toxic, and I don’t want anybody hearing the negative soundtrack that can overwhelm my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, not every day is like that, but there are seasons in my life when I feel inadequate, anxious about making a mistake, or overwhelmed by my to-do list. In those seasons, my brain does a good job confirming that all those negative thoughts are true. A loud voice in my head tells me, “You didn’t handle that conflict right.” “You are so disorganized; you have no business being in charge of three kids!” “Don’t ask that person out for coffee. What would you talk about anyway?” “That family could use a meal this week, but you aren’t a very good cook, so don’t bother.” And the list goes on and on.
You know where that soundtrack comes from? It’s Satan on a bullhorn yelling all sorts of doubt in my head. He tries to get me to doubt the goodness of God and the gifts He has given me.He tries to get me to doubt the mission God has called me to do or the promise that God will thoroughly equip me for the task. Sometimes I give in to those doubts and instead of confidently moving forward to bless others, I stay locked in my jail of anxiety, shame, and overwhelm. Rather than living free, I hide away in my protected corner of the world, afraid of someone confirming the self-condemnation that spins around in my head.
But here’s the deal. Some of the negative thoughts contain a grain of truth. Sometimes I don’t handle the conflict right. Of course, I’m not a perfect parent and I make mistakes. But Christ did not die for me to live in a self-imposed prison of condemnation, and He certainly doesn’t define me by my mistakes. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Did you hear that? No more condemnation. That doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes or need to repent. That doesn’t mean God wants us to ignore the unholy parts of our lives. It means that we no longer worry about suffering the punishment of being separated from God. We no longer have to be shackled by the guilt of sin. We were never made to live that way. Instead, we’re made for freedom.
Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ set you free. Stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened by the yoke of slavery.” We were not made to be slaves to crippling condemnation, but to be free to be transformed into who God wants us to be. Now instead of overthinking everything, I am free to make a mistake and learn from it because I no longer live in fear of condemnation. I can know that God will mold me more in His image every time I choose the freedom He has given me over the fear and condemnation Satan tries to shackle me with.
So if we are supposed to be free from condemnation, what do we do with our freedom? For what purpose did Christ free us? In Matt 10:8, Jesus told his disciples “Freely you have received, freely give.” Since you have freely received the gift of freedom from sin and condemnation, you are now free to give of yourself. Free to live a life of loving others.
Can you imagine what the world would be like, if a host of women, living in the freedom of God’s grace and mercy, walked out of their doors on a mission to use their gifts to love the world? Ladies, we’ve all seen a woman on a mission get things done, and we know the world would be a vastly different place. It would be a much better place. If we live in the freedom and love of Christ, we don’t overthink asking the new person at church out for coffee. When we live in the freedom of Christ, we aren’t afraid to use that amazing art talent God gave us to bring beauty into others’ lives. When we live in the freedom of Christ we are free to encourage hurting people around us because we aren’t afraid of making a mistake. Many people would be encouraged, loved, and cared for because we would be living in the freedom of God’s love.
So let’s confidently live a life that honors our God who has given us such a joyous freedom. You weren’t made to be a slave to condemnation and self-doubt. You were made for freedom.