• Finding Freedom from Insecurity

    “I don’t want to go.” The phrase echoed in my head as I drove to what was supposed to be a fun event. But I knew there would be a couple of women present who have a tendency to make me feel like a don’t belong. They don’t mean to, but I feel “less than” around them. On top of that, I knew there would also be some new ladies there and I wasn’t quite sure where I fit into their group yet.

    Typically, I consider myself a fairly confident person, but the anticipation of this particular situation was weighing heavily on me. I was super nervous and anxious, and already starting to feel like the odd-woman-out. My fears and doubts started to get the best of me, and my mind gave into the lies of insecurity. I worked myself into a tizzy and honestly, started to have a little pity party for myself.

    In my moment of desperation, I called my best friend (wishing she was going to be at this event and hoping she could talk me off this figurative ledge I put myself on). I had hoped she might give me a pep talk or commiserate with me, but instead she reminded me of the best way to deal with a situation that filled me with insecurity.

    The problem with insecurity is that it can feel like a prison with no way out–it can make us feel hopeless. When we are feeling insecure, our focus turns inward and we can only see our weaknesses, our doubts, our fears and other’s opinions. We forget the ways that we are gifted and uniquely created to make an impact in each situation.

    She told me that the best way to approach a situation like this, is to change my perspective. She reminded me that something I am good at is showing God’s love to others. She said that I should go to this event with the purpose of using that gift and look for ways to show God’s love to those I encounter. It was a total flip in perspective–instead of viewing it from how people are going to treat me, think of me, etc., I had a new purpose and my focus was now on others instead of myself.

    While I can’t control how others will act toward me or what their opinions are of me, I can control how I think and act toward them. It was so freeing! I remember thinking, “I can do that!” As I refocused on God’s love for me, I had a renewed sense of purpose to show His love to others. This new purpose changed how I saw myself and the situation. I now had a job to do and it was one that I could get behind because I love sharing God’s love with others!

    God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us….We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.”

    1 John 4:9-11, 16-17a

    Freedom from insecurity comes from remembering who we are in God. We can overcome insecurity by holding fast to our true identity. We are God’s beloved–His sons and daughters. As we focus on God’s unwavering love, instead of our doubts and fears, we can feel secure to extend that love to others.

    When we trust in God’s love for us and allow Him to remind us of our true identity, we are set free to live in confidence and security again. This allows us to walk into an insecure situation with people and focus on just showing them God’s love because we are walking in the overflow of God’s love for us.

    …we can only love if we are free. That is, love is motivated by the joy of sharing our fullness, not by the desire to fill our emptiness…God has called us to the freedom of fullness which overflows in love, not to the slavery of emptiness which bites and devours and is never satisfied. In Jesus Christ, God offers us forgiveness, daily help and guidance, and hope for the greatest future imaginable. And it is all free, purchased by the death of Jesus, received by faith alone. The secret of love is freedom, and the secret of freedom is utter confidence in the love of God.” 

    John Piper,

    We have the freedom to love because He first loved us and showed us true love. God’s love is a supernatural thing–it’s unexplainable, unconditional, all-consuming, overflowing, perfect love. It ministers to our soul like nothing in this life can. It fills the emptiness of self-doubt and fear so that we no longer approach life or others from a place of insecurity but from a place of overflow, secure in our identity as God’s beloved.

    Thank you Lord for Your great love. Thank you for pursuing us and loving us even when we lose our way. Open our eyes to our identity as your beloved ones. Your banner of love is over us. Help us to live in the freedom that is your love and freely give Your love to those around us. Amen

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  • Finding Freedom Through Forgiving Ourselves

    How many times has your mind replayed over and over again that mistake you have made in the past? When you think about it, you get a knot in your stomach and feel horrible about yourself. We all have experienced a situation where we really screwed up and we just can’t get past it. Sometimes we mentally beat ourselves up, knowing we screwed up yet again. You may say to yourself, “how could I have been so stupid?” or “how come I keep making the same mistakes?” or “I just can’t get it right!”

    Although we know that Jesus died for our sins, we don’t always live in the freedom of forgiveness He offers. God has made us to live a life of true freedom, no longer held captive to sin or bitterness. We often hear about forgiveness in the context of forgiving others, which is important and necessary, but there is one person who we usually have the hardest time forgiving–ourselves.

    There have been times in my life when I have messed up and have asked for God’s forgiveness, knowing that the Bible says He will forgive me, but I haven’t extended that same grace to myself. God might be extending forgiveness to me but I can’t always accept it. I don’t feel like I really deserve to be forgiven–I’ve messed up one too many times. Surely His grace only goes so far!

    During these times, Psalms 103 reminds me what is true:

    All that I am, praise the Lord; everything in me, praise his holy name.
    My whole being, praise the Lord and do not forget all his kindnesses.
    He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
    He saves my life from the grave and loads me with love and mercy.
    He satisfies me with good things and makes me young again, like the eagle.
    The Lord does what is right and fair for all who are wronged by others.
    He showed his ways to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.
    The Lord shows mercy and is kind. He does not become angry quickly, and he has great love. He will not always accuse us, and he will not be angry forever.
    He has not punished us as our sins should be punished; he has not repaid us for the evil we have done.
    As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who respect him.
    He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west.
    The Lord has mercy on those who respect him, as a father has mercy on his children.”

    The first time I saw these verses my heart finally understood the vast scope of God’s love and forgiveness. “He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west.” Do you know how far that is? The east and west will never meet because they go on forever in opposite directions. It’s not just a really long distance, like saying as far as the moon and back. It’s no distance you can measure because it is infinite. God didn’t just remove our sins and past mistakes from us, but they are so far gone that they can never be found again.

    So why do we hold on to something that God has forgiven and doesn’t remember anymore? When we don’t accept God’s grace and forgiveness as our own, we leave an opportunity for Satan to double-down on us with shame. Shame tears us down and attacks our identity, making us feel unworthy and disqualified for God’s love and forgiveness. Shame makes us doubt that we are even forgivable. When we believe the lie that Jesus’ sacrifice is big enough for everyone but ourselves, we aren’t able to experience the freedom that Christ died to give us.

    “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin…” Acts 13:38-39

    “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

    The lies of shame and doubt keep us trapped and enslaved to our sin and past mistakes, but God’s immeasurable love for you, propelled Him to send His son to redeem you and remove the sin and shame that entraps you. When we choose to trust in Jesus, we are set free! We are able to let go of our past mistakes and choose the freedom we have in Christ.

    So, dear one, let us live in freedom as children of God who are forgiven and loved. There is no end to His passion and love for you–His grace is never-ending. God’s grace and forgiveness are for YOU. Jesus thought of YOU when He went to the cross. Today’s the day to accept His forgiveness for whatever lays heavy on your heart, and allow yourself to be set free from the heavy burden of guilt and shame. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, and it’s God’s desire to see you live a life of freedom in every way!

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  • Called to Freedom

    Galatians 5:13 “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

    Every July 4th we stop and pause and celebrate our freedom. While we have tremendous liberty here in the United States, there is another freedom that is greater still. It is a freedom not granted to us by a government or a person, but a calling from God to live in freedom through Christ.

    The word “calling” comes from the greek word kaleo, which means Divine Invitation. Usually we talk about calling in terms of the purpose and meaning we want to find in our lives. We are invited by God to be a part of His story. He has created each of us uniquely, with gifts and talents and roles to play.

    But God has also extended a Divine Invitation to live in freedom. When Jesus died on the cross, was buried and raised from the dead three days later, He broke the hold of sin on our lives and we were set free. Jesus conquered and we get to share the victory!

    Through Christ, we are invited to live in freedom from sin, wrong thinking and insecurity. Freedom from measuring up and competing with our friends and neighbors. Freedom from despair and hopelessness, loneliness and isolation. Freedom from addiction and being stuck in unhealthy cycles. Through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, we can experience a life that is truly free. 

    All of this freedom is ultimately for a purpose. We are not set free to run back to the things that held us captive again, or to be the sole beneficiaries of our new found liberty. We are set free to love and serve one another. We are free to use our gifts to help others, to lift them up and encourage them. We can point people toward Christ, so that they too can live a life of freedom and joy. We can give them a hand up, dust them off and lead them out of the darkness of captivity and into the light. No longer do we have to be hindered by our past and our failings. We are invited by God Himself to experience freedom like no other!

    In Christ you are grounded in truth, empowered by the Holy Spirit and truly set free.

    Happy Independence Day my friend!

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