Seeds of Freedom

Dandelions - Unsplash - Jason Long

It all begins with a seed. [Credit: Jason Long, Unsplash.com]

My generation ~ the up & coming “Millenials” ~ is (wonderfully so) obsessed with freedom. Myself included.

We are the generation that grew up on email, IM, & on-demand music (Napster, I’m looking at you! :). We are those who came-of-age when social media did and who cut our career teeth on Tim Ferriss’ book, The Four-Hour Workweek, a rabid NY Times Bestseller (with a title like that, of course it was!).

We millenials love our freedom, don’t we? We love the idea of remote work, forever freelancing our ways away from the dreaded 9-to-5 (or cubicle).

Is it any surprise then that we carry this torch of liberty into our spiritual lives? I sure have. If there is something I’ve wanted my whole life, it is FREEDOM. Freedom from the rigidity of school. Freedom to make my own choices. Freedom to set my own schedule. Freedom to do what I want, when I want. Isn’t that the ‘American Dream’?

But what my generation is starting to realize is that freedom comes at a cost. Our flag wouldn’t be flying if not for the thousands of sacrifices and lives laid down to make America “a new nation, conceived in liberty”. Money doesn’t in fact grow on trees. Pounds aren’t lost without sweat & grit. Freedom is costly.

Seeds of Freedom

Have you ever wondered why true freedom seems elusive — in our grasp one day & like the wind in the next?

I’ve come to understand that we are given SEEDS of freedom, full of potential. The Lord littered His Holy word with Scriptures chock-full of promises to us, brimming with possibilities.

But we can leave those seeds there, those nuggets of wisdom He provides. We can choose to reject His promises for another “pathway” to freedom {as if one exists!}.

After all, God’s way is SURELY not the easiest. Jesus told us that Himself, calling His ‘the narrow road’. My generation – me included – has mistaken the word ‘narrow’ for limiting, confining, oppressive… all those words we’ve come to despise!

But God teaches us a principle here: The narrow road leads to life, to true freedom. We cannot endlessly explore every possibility, every path, every sinful entanglement, and expect to not be trapped in its clutches. The wide road has far too many pathways — and many of them lead to danger, pain, or emptiness (self-actualization, I’m looking at YOU!).

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Credit: Morgan Sessions, www.unsplash.com

Men Loved the Darkness

Credit: Chris Liu-Beers, www.unsplash.com

Credit: Chris Liu-Beers, unsplash.com

Forces of light & darkness are converging on the world & clashing like never before. Can’t we all just get along? ;) Why the tension?

Then I read this passage today (via Lance Wallnau, who is kind of the man!):

“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” ~John 3:19

Wow, this Scripture explains so much… but what is ‘the Light’ the world dislikes so much? Jesus Himself gave us the answer:

Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” ~John 8:12

The #1 reason our world despises Jesus – using His name to curse rather than to bless others (God’s intended use) – is because people don’t want to be exposed by His light. By definition, dark and light can’t coexist. One drives out the other. And those pursuing darkness don’t want it to dissipate; they want to continue down their highway to hell, not realizing that’s where they’re headed.

This helps us understand why some people vehemently oppose us, His followers. We bring His light into the world, and some people don’t want that kind of illumination. Our hope for them is this:

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.

~Isaiah 9

It can and has happened before. People can ‘see the light’ and embrace it. But how can they SEE Him who isn’t walking this earth anymore?

We must LIVE IT. We just must be willing to guide them to the truth, not simply with our words but also our LIVES. This is how we bring God’s light into the world and expose the deeds of darkness.

Credit: Morgan Sessions, www.unsplash.com

Credit: Morgan Sessions, unsplash.com

Credit: VerilyMag.com

Air Your Dirty Laundry

Recently I sensed the Holy Spirit speak this to me:

“You will never get over it til you admit it.”

Facing the truth about who we are can be a bitter pill to swallow, especially when we have to acknowledge that truth to someone else. Many of us prefer to bite it off one chunk at a time… or spread it out among many people so no one person knows all the details.

But do we know how much freedom there is when we admit the truth to another human, unfiltered & unfettered by their opinion?! We simply have to be honest — About who we are. About what we love. About our past. About our true desires for the future. About our weaknesses & worries & secret obsessions :) About our character flaws. Even, maybe, about our secret thoughts.

One of our pastors at ONEchapel once said,

If we’d admit more of our temptations, we’d have to admit less of our sins.

Jesus said the truth will set us free. And it does. But we have to be willing to air it. Not only is secret-keeping bad for our spiritual lives, but it also increases our stress {among other physical repercussions}.

This reminds me of a childhood song we used to sing, loosely applied here:

Hide it under a bushel? No, I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel? No, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Don’t let satan {blow} it out, I’m gonna let it shine…

It’s a funny & light-hearted approach to a serious matter, but I kind of love it. Why? Because its simplicity captures my message today:

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Engaging Our True Enemy

marital discord huffpost.com

So… the enemy has a very sneaky tactic he tries to weave into our relationships. I was just talking with a friend a couple nights ago about this. What is it? My husband calls it “Divide & conquer”.

We fight with others. We bicker. We think angry thoughts. We think we’re winning this war and say, I’ll show him! 

But do we even realize what the real problem is here?

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

~Ephesians 6

We’re fighting the wrong enemy!! Our battles are fleshly… yet God said in His word that we are barking up the wrong tree. No wonder so many couples & families never find resolution to their battles: They’re trying to one-up each other instead of realizing THEY ARE ONE. They need to UNITE, not FIGHT. Oh man, though, what a hard thing to put into practice each day…

The deal is this: Our enemy is smart. He knows how to taunt us into a fight. He pokes our wounds, pushes our buttons, & plays on our fears. When we react emotionally to the misdeeds of our loved ones, coworkers, or neighbors, we’ve already halfway lost the war.

Why? Because it was never about them anyway. It never has been. We have to look beyond the humanity in front of us and engage the spirit realm. We must fight the battle in prayer BEFORE we ever open our mouths. We must also ARREST our thoughts & tongues from thinking & speaking words that would only fuel the fire.

But. It’s SO HARD.

I so KNOW. But we have a choice with each provocation we face: Will we be willing to “lose” a battle so that we can “win” the war {with our true enemy}? Or will we keep getting drawn into arguments with the ones we’re supposed to be working WITH?

This requires getting a handle on our hurts & the “why’s” behind our emotional triggers AHEAD OF TIME. We can’t wait til we’re in the heat of the moment, licking old wounds, to make a wise decision. We need to be proactive with our ‘hot buttons’.

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Our Perfectly Imperfect 2014 ♡

With the close of 2014, it’s good practice to take inventory of the events we just lived through & see how far we’ve come, how we grew, and all we have to be grateful for :)

This past year has been a life-changing one for my husband & I in many ways! We experienced some wonderful blessings, including:

1. Celebrating the holidays/our 3rd anniversary with our parents (Taos, NM).

We rang in the new year in a great new way: with BOTH sets of our parents in Taos, NM. This place holds so many special memories for us, especially because we fell in love & got married there :) Three years later we relived this experience with the very people who were with us that blessed day. It was a wonderful vacation & restful time together!

 

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