Freedom with God

It’s our last couple days of July, our month on freedom.  I hope I’ve inspired you to get out there and live and enjoy your freedoms.  I know I’m inspired to make some changes in my life!  Today we’re going to wrap up our discussions with a look at Ephesians 3:12:

“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

One of the biggest freedoms we’ve been given is the ability to approach God.  We were given this gift when Jesus died on the cross and we accepted Him as our Savior.  We no longer have to let a priest make a sacrifice for us or offer prayers on our behalf.  We can go right to the Source with our issues, concerns, prayers, hopes, dreams and failures.

The great thing is that while Jesus wants perfect people, he’s not dumb enough to expect that He will get them.  He knows that we’re definitely not perfect when we show up on His doorstep, we’re typically in need of a lot of healing and repair.  And whenever we decide to open up to Jesus, we’re given the gift of healing and hope.

I don’t know about you, but I like being able to show up and talk to God at 1am before bed, 6pm in traffic, 9 am with a challenging client, on snowy days and sunny days, days that go well and days that definitely don’t.    I love that no matter the reasons for my showing up, God welcomes me in with open arms.  He also doesn’t look at me funny when I say the wrong thing or make a mistake.  He accepts me for who I am.

What do you love about having freedom with God?

Free to…Thrive

This month we’ve been talking about freedom.  I don’t know about you, but my month hasn’t really felt very free.  It’s felt like a lack of freedom, and total confusion. But I’ve had some revelations over the past week and am feeling more confident about freedom now. Today we close out our series on “Free to…” with thoughts on what life is really about: thriving.

Personally I can’t stand living a bland, boring life.  I like knowing that I’m living with purpose and doing so much more than getting by.  I like knowing that what I do is not just about me, but helps someone else.  I like to know that tomorrow will be better than today, or that I at least have the ability to try to have a better day. But so much more than that, I need to do more than just live; I need to thrive.

I have to admit that I’m finally feeling like I need to start thriving in life, and not just surviving.  I think so many of us get caught up in surviving that we forget that life is made up of so much more than where we are.  But there comes a point in every life, some call it the “midlife crisis,” when we all realize we need something more.  Toys and games don’t do it though, what we all need is something more fulfilling.

The good news is that we all have the ability to make changes in our lives and begin living a thriving life-a life full of life, passion and fulfillment.  I started making those changes this week, what areas of your life do you need to change in order to thrive?

Returning Home

This week I was thinking about the story of Jacob. He steals his brother’s birthright, decides to run away to Uncle Laban and has an amazing dream on the way of angels ascending the ladder to heaven.  In Genesis 28:15 God says

“I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”

I believe that no matter where our life journeys take us, at some point in time we’ll have to return home.  Sometimes it will seem like a random accident, other times it’s super obvious that God had a hand in bringing us back.  We all have to go back.  Why?  What is it about home and our beginnings that can be so stressful, interesting, attractive, scary, amazing?  Why does God have to bring us back?  For Jacob, it was the only way to get the truth.  That’s how many people feel after attending a high school reunion or similar event with people they haven’t seen in years-it reveals the truth that we may have refused or been unable to see before.  It also creates an opportunity for forgiveness, healing and resolution where so much was left unsaid.

Today, know that God will go with you wherever you go; whether it’s on a new journey or you’re returning home.  Where do you need God to go with you today?

Free to…Live and Love

This month we’re on a freedom journey. We’re learning to find and enjoy freedom in our lives.  Today we’re talking about living and loving not just our lives but ourselves.  We live in an amazing world-a world where we can try different things, meet different people and all love different things.  Some of us come together over our loves, like those at Comic-Con recently, and some of us prefer to enjoy our love in private.  Whether you enjoy connecting with others or love in private, today I hope you’ll learn to live and love.

Life is most enjoyable when you’re loving what you do, who you’re with and where you are.  You may still be trying to find the things and people you love, so I encourage you to not give up.  It’s totally worth the whole journey and you deserve to enjoy your life.

Don’t be ashamed by what you love.  It’s natural to feel a bit embarrassed if you like something a little strange, like a different food combination.  But at the end of the day, as we’ve said many times, it’s not their happiness that really matters, it’s yours.

While that may be true, finding your love in life will help to strengthen your relationships, or help you find the right ones.  If you’ve been with someone because of a common love, that’s an important bond between you, and as you grow together you’ll find other common loves.  If you discover your love for painting and open an art studio, you’ll connect with others in the art world and find your journey supported.

Life is a journey.  What you love now you may not love in 5 years.  What you love now may last a lifetime though.  The beauty of life is that you have the ability to change and move as life leads.  I encourage you to spend time today with the people and things you love.

Tapping God’s Power

“”Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6

Each day brings new challenges, new opportunities and new reasons to feel tired.  Lately, that’s how I’ve been feeling-tired.  Sometimes life just gets to you, you know?  As I was contemplating that today I was reminded of this verse in Zechariah.  Personally, the Old Testament prophets speak to me with all their imagery and graphic language. But more than anything, what I relate with is their incredible connection with God.  These men were chosen by God to relay an important message to the people in their time and those who came after them.

The message they shared is just as important now as it was in their time: we aren’t alone.  We don’t have to try to do everything all by ourselves.  We don’t have to have the strength to get up every day and be superman or woman.  God created us to rely on each other, and most of all, upon Himself.

We can’t touch Him, He can’t hold our hands and He doesn’t always tell us exactly what we need or want to hear, but He’s always there.  For those moments when we’re most human and need someone, we’ve got the people in our lives.  But no matter what, where or why, God is there with His infinite power and Spirit.  All you have to do is ask Him to be there.

Will you ask Him to be there today?  Let God be holy and powerful in your life for just a moment.

Free to…Be Me

Last week we talked about being free to try something new.  This week in our continued exploration of freedom, we’re looking at what it means to be free to be yourself.  I’ll be honest-it’s not easy to be yourself, and it’s even harder to like yourself sometimes, which is why today’s conversation is so important.

First, it’s OK to not like all of yourself.  You’ve got the ability to make just about any changes you like, thanks to the times we live in and modern medicine.  But before going to make any drastic (permanent) changes, spend some time getting to know yourself.  Try embracing what you think you don’t like about yourself.  If, after giving it an honest try, you still don’t like it, consider your options for change and improvement. It may take years, but you will eventually be able to transform what you don’t like.

Second, be patient with yourself.  Everyone has secrets about preferences, and it’s OK to keep some things to yourself.  Despite what social media has been teaching us over the last few years the whole world does not need to know everything about you. As far as your secrets, it may take a lifetime to truly discover the whole truth about yourself.

Finally, other people’s opinions do matter…but not as much as yours.  At the end of the day you don’t need anyone else’s approval, just your own.  You need to be comfortable with the choices you made, things you like, people you spend time with and the direction your life is headed in.

That said, I’ve got an important question for you: what do you like most about yourself?  Share your truths below.

The Good News of Freedom

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.”  Isaiah 61:1

I love the book of Isaiah, each time I read it I’m newly inspired by his words and heart for the things of God.  Today we’re reminded of the freedom that comes from God.  When you accept that God is an important part of your life and that He sent His son to release you from your sins you’re opening yourself up to a whole new level of freedom in life.

It begins with recognizing that you’re not perfect, but that when you do sin you can be forgiven.  It continues with knowing that God is there for you through the ups and downs.  It ends with knowing that you’ve got a future in Heaven with God.

I know that I need an encouraging word on Monday, and today’s encouragement is that you are able to be free.  You can be freed from the guilt of the past, from being held back by the choices of your past, and free to live a good life.  All you have to do is let go and let God.  It’s not always as easy to do as it is to say, trust me, I know.  But the feeling of freedom that you feel after you release all your burdens is amazing.

Today, what do you need to be freed from?  What can you ask God to help you with and be free?

Free to…Try Something New

You may have guessed it from Tweets and posts thus far, this month’s topic is freedom!  Each Friday we’ll be talking about another aspect of freedom and today we’re starting with discussing the importance of trying new things.

Since it’s summer it’s the perfect time to try new fruits and vegetables, meet new people, visit new places and try new activities.  You may even take the time this summer to pursue a new job or start a new business.  Of course you can try something new any time of year, but the summer with it’s laid-back attitude, time off and beautiful temperatures makes it a great time to try almost anything.

Often in our lives we stay with things that we call “favorites” and don’t branch out.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got some preferences too.  It’s good to know what you do and don’t like, but let’s face it: people and things change.  You never know if something you used to dislike greatly is actually something you really like now.

The good news is that you’re absolutely 100% free to decide that you want to try something new or change your mind about a previous opinion.  It doesn’t matter if everyone else likes you and your old things, if you want to try something new or move on, you’re free to do so.

What new things will you try this summer?

How Big is Your God?

This week I worked on a topic that may be familiar to you: fear.  Have you felt the uncertainty, insecurity or worry you would make the wrong decision lately?  I’ll admit I’m human and say that I did!  When life presents you with a new opportunity or change, it’s hard not to experience a little fear.  If you’re struggling with feelings of fear today, I won’t admit to having all the answers, but I do have a couple thoughts for you to think about that may help you with your struggles.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection. I am life. Everyone who believes in me will have life, even if they die. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never really die. Martha, do you believe this?”” John 11:25-26

These 3 verses share 3 important things with us.  First, no amount of fears can separate us from God.  He won’t leave you in your fear as long as you’re willing to get out of it.  Second, God has plans for your life for good!  It’s not always easy to figure them out, but God will guide you and show you the way if you ask Him to.  Finally, no matter how big your fears are, there’s something bigger-God.  Jesus proved this when he died on the cross.  He proved that anyone’s fears aren’t as big as God.  That means the world to me.

My question to you today is how big is your God?  What experiences is He helping you through as we speak?  I’d love to encourage you, share your story below in the comments.