At the beginning of this year I was talking with a couple of friends about wanting to set goals. Real, actual, attainable goals. Not solely the typical be healthier, exercise more, and read a certain number of books goals. I wanted to change my heart too. To become a more well-rounded person. To deepen my relationship with the Lord in ways I have been avoiding, or even been unaware of. I realized that in so many areas of my life I have been feeling trapped, burdened, worrisome, frustrated, filled with guilt and shame, and many other heavy, negative feelings. And I realized how tired I was because of it. I then began to think back and I recognized that I only remember mostly feeling these ways and rarely felt real joy, lasting peace, and contentment. So I set my goal. I am choosing to focus this year on living in FREEDOM.
Since making this goal, over the last 3.5 months I have found myself falling into a deep pit of confusion, anger, sadness, fear, and the list could go on and on. It’s no surprise the enemy would attack me in this way immediately after taking steps to be rid of him. The sources of these reactions have ranged from stressful situations on the job and in my personal life, difficulties in relationships, loss, and fear of the future. At times it became so great I wasn’t able to function very well. I couldn’t gain control over it. And every time I felt like I could take a breath and step forward, something else would crumble. I finally swallowed my pride and gave up the thoughts of “I can deal with this. Others have it way worse than me. Get over it, Annie. Move on.” I couldn’t move on. Because the root was not all of these situations. The root was me finding my strength in me.
I knew I needed to take some time off and reset. I needed alone time with the Lord. Long amounts of time with just Him and me were practically non-existent. I needed healing. I needed answers. I needed freedom. So over the last 5 weeks I have been on this journey seeking out those things. And God has been near to me. I am not able to say I’ve got it down yet, and I don’t believe I will ever be able to say that. But what peace I have found being in this place. I have a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:6-7), and I know that weak is what I need to be so that Christ may be strong for me (2 Cor 12:9-10).
I am learning each day with new trials that come my way, that I can access the freedom I have been given already and allow the strength of my Father to carry me through. I miss the mark all the time or at best it takes me a while to remember that God is in control and has the solution. As I seek to be free of myself and this world, I will strive to keep moving forward in my relationship and understanding of the Lord. I will remember that I am a child of God. And that fact right there frees me from all the hopelessness life brings.And I will hold these scriptures close:
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (1 Cor 3:17).
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free…” (Galatians 5:13a).
“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).