Freedom

Canola field and clouds in Alberta, Canada

We are meant and created to live life in a
limitless field without fences. 

With endless grass and freedom of movement.  No hindrance, or restriction, with vision as far as the horizon and beyond.  Beautiful breezes and freshness.  There are things in life that cause us to feel fenced in, restricted, … trapped.  Sometimes these hindrances on our freedom have nothing to do with people or structures or circumstances, sometimes it is walls built through our history, our life experience, things we came to believe that yet live within ourselves.  These are walls made of the brick and mortar of fear or lies.

Other times there are outside structures or people that perpetuate fences we believe in and operate within as our own.  Some religions say you cannot do this, or act this way, or say that thing, or believe that idea.  Some work environments project that you should esteem this certain thing or success should look like this for your life.  Some relationships say you are worth only this much or you are only this type of person or you should reflect themselves to make them feel comfortable.  Some of the above bodies intentionally use fear directly and freely to control your open wanderings.

‘The world is coming to an end’ the media says, ‘ciaos is around the corner, you must give us your attention, your well being depends upon us’.  ‘You must never do x,y,z’ some religions say ‘because God hates that’, implying the imminent relational rejection from him, eternally forever, don’t forget the eternal punishment and torment on top.  Other organizations say you must be productive, you must appear productive, you must work and manage your life to appear to be working, you must stay busy, keep working, for your value lies in your profit or productivity; rest always equals laziness.

Life Outside the Fence

BUT all of the above are just examples and ways ideas, worldviews, and thoughts cause fences to spring up in our field of freedom, the plot of freedom purchased for us through Christ’s blood.  It was actually for freedom’s sake you have been set free.  Because you were meant to move like him.  What hinders God?  What restricts his movement?  The great part about each and every barrier in your life is that you are actually not bound by it at all.  You cannot lose Christ by crossing that boundary therefore you will lose nothing if you step outside of society’s or culture’s fences.  Let me be clear in saying I am not advocating self-destructive or other destructive behavior, not at all, just actions or choices that others say are not available to you, but in reality they are entirely options for you to posses.

Don’t listen to your upbringing or where you came from or the culture you came from or the economic class to dictate what is possible for you.  Anything really is possible for your life.  Freedom costs you nothing but requires only the passive ignoring of every voice that tells you no, it is not possible, not for you, not with the time you have and the choices you’ve made.  You are free my friend and your freedom has been bought with a price.  You can love extravagantly, change extravagantly, think differently, speak up, be different from everything the media tells you is normal, you can be yourself, remain unseen if you wish, experiencing the fullest expression of Christ alive in you.

Watching People Climb Over

I remember hearing a beautiful story of freedom I will share with you as an example here.  There was a man who worked for a boss who often used anger and fury to invoke fear and submission into his employees.  After experiencing freedom during travel, this employee was finally going to stand up to his boss and quit even though he didn’t know where he would work.  He went into the office and as soon as he let out the words the boss proceeded into a rage when out of the belly of this employee sprung such a laughter and joy he could not contain it.  Soon after this now former employee got a grant form the government to take care of his vast inheritance of land and maintain and develop it and now he spends his days raising his children and with his wife in the literal open planes of his own land without the fences of control constricting his heart.

Let me give you another example.  A young man heard a call from God on his life for a certain profession.  Fast forward a decade of following that call.  His heart was burnt out, he didn’t have joy, and was literally sick to his stomach in his final days of preparation for this career field with zero desire to practice it and dread at the thought of it.  With encouragement, he quit.  He breathed again and remembered the joy of being alive.  He will return one day in some form but he is not a slave to something he heard from God ten years ago without any grace or life on it now, struggling and striving to work it out in our own timing and ways.  Knock the suffocating fence down and get out of there.

If you feel an area of your life you are tied to a chain.  You can recognize the feeling that is void of giving you life, turn and break that chain, start a new way, remember freedom.  I am not talking about break your word or covenants that carry with them responsibility, I merely am saying you don’t have to tolerate those irritations because society says you have to, because other people put up with it.  Live and live your life.  Live free and follow your heart.  Don’t just look through your fence at other people’s freedom.  Step over your fences and live your own.  Your fears are lying to you to keep you from following your dreams.  Don’t listen to them and do what has persevered staying alive inside you all these years.

One more story.  This powerful woman ran free within an organization that sent her in the nations.  This organization came to make the decision of letting her go.  She could have seen it as person rejection, disqualification, or failure.  Or there was divine orchestration for her personal promotion into a level of freedom she had never fathomed or experienced yet in her ministry.  She climbed over that fence into a place that looks so scary, new beginnings.  She began her own organization and now calls the shots, leads the creative flow, and decides when and where and how long she goes with no strings or expectations attached.  She is free to be the beautiful gift of herself.

These are just examples I am referring to.  If you don’t know what this looks like in your life, it is probably the thing that makes you most excited inside, whether or not you have ever shared it with anyone.  The thing that enthralls your heart and mind and imagination. That excitement inside of you exists for a reason and is not shared with everyone, it is unique to you in your own specific way.  Follow that.  It will give you life.  I am just telling you that you really have the freedom to follow, the freedom to fail, the freedom to live.

Okay one more example.  Sometimes in people’s relationship with the holy spirit we can experience this tight rope of obedience or bust that causes anxiety.  Let me explain.  You feel or hear something you think it specifically is referring to this one thing and this one time and if you don’t do it you are deserving of punishment and chastisement.  Granted if the Holy Spirit is inviting you to do something its probably in your best interest to take his advice but what is not from him is the confusion or anxiety that call follow this decision making process.

Sometimes if things don’t go well we think we missed it or got it wrong or failed but what if you heard right and there’s lessons to be learned in process?  What if your getting it right and his getting it right don’t look anything alike?  I just want to tell you God did not create humanity because he needs slaves.  He created you as his child, his growing developing, likeness of himself.  That includes your relationship with him as well. Step outside of your own fences with Him.  You can be powerful, free, and full of joy because his love has cast out all fear between the two of you in your relationship with him.

I could probably go on about freedom forever.  Literally forever, but I am going to stop here and move on.  My freedom and your freedom are what excites me.

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love

 

The Freedom of Disappointment

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In case you are in an emotional experience of being hard on yourself or not seeing a way out of your own lack of excellent performance in your current circumstances, this blog is for you.  Unfortunately perfectionism and performance based identity pervade the church.  It’s unfortunateness is that it keeps individuals from experiencing heaven in just their living breathing daily life.  It’s common enough, or a safe enough problem to have because it’s not against the law, it can get you ahead in approval seeking ambition or the inner disappointment you carry inside of yourself doesn’t interrupt daily living too much.

In Christ we are no longer under the law; he fulfilled the spirit of the law, and therefore it’s requirements completely.  The law works itself out in some sneaky ways.  Responsibility and expectations are some common forms of control in relationships, even in the relationship we hold with ourselves.  You view yourself as the way you should be, or how you should act, or what you should be getting done.  Even when achieving small goals or completing tasks or being helpful, we can still carry the feeling of failure if any of those things were less than, later than, or not quite up to our own expectations.  Cue disappointment.

This is a wonderful way to miss the joy of existence.  Without knowing it, we may embark on a journey, a project, or a relationship with preconceived expectations in our mind of how that experience or interaction should or would play out.  Things may even start off smashing and go according to plan at first.  It shouldn’t surprise us anymore but then bumps come in the road, at least bumps according to our expectations.  And then what do we do?

How do you crawl out of a pit of the feeling of other people’s disappointment with you?  How do you escape from the feeling of your own disappointment with yourself?  Couldn’t I have handled situations differently?  Couldn’t I have made different choices and avoided the circumstances I see around me?  Can’t I manipulate and control things now and get things back to the way I had wanted them, the way I always saw them?  Can’t I fix things and get them unbroken?  Then I wouldn’t have to feel this way.  Then I wouldn’t have to be this way.

Expectations over our own lives, and expectations other carry over us–whether intentionally or not–only carry with them the power to accuse.  When expectations are the foundations of relationship they are the fuel for guilt, shame, and condemnation.  Cue performance and perfectionism.  If you continue to hold onto those images of unmet expectation over your own life as a source of fuel for your own judgment of your value now, you will never experience the heaven that was purchased for you by Christ, that is meant to be a free gift for your fullness of being alive right now.

Even in subtle forms or not so subtle forms we tell ourselves that those expectations came from God; they are what God originally designed or gave us vision for in the past, or these expectations come by what I obviously should be doing by looking around at others (not recommended).  All of these leave a nice big hole in our heart not filled by Christ, but by our own accusations of performance-based failure.

God died to deliver you from the prison and cage of living a life of obligation, requirements, musts, duties, and have to’s.  His relationship with you has never been based on your performance.  Sometimes the reminder feels like a slap in the face but its the glorious good news: you cannot earn your right standing with God.  Your own assessment of yourself through your own eyes or the eyes of others will never measure up to any humanistic ruler of behaviors and choices–religious or unreligious–whatever that means.

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You are not a disappointment to God.  Who you are, right now, is not a disappointment.  God knows this but do you?  In this cycle of performance we sit upon our own assessments of our lives compared to perceived expectations and continually come out lacking.  If god has given us a directive and we didn’t listen or failed, then we can participate in relationship and tell him that and experience forgiveness through Christ.  We must remove ourselves from our high seats of self-judgment by LETTING GO (let it gooo, let it gooo) of the expectations we have created, that God is not holding on to, because until we do, we will continue to believe the familiar lie that our value or our worth is according to our own assessments.  While often ours is not, his perspective is the perfection of Christ.

Anything less and we wake up in the morning to feelings of disappointment, we experience awesome things all-the-while sitting next our companion of disappointment, and then tomorrow–again, we will not have hope because now our expectation (of God or of ourselves) is to be a disappointment (to others or to ourselves).  To the degree that you resort to assessing your value or worth based on your own expectations of performance is the degree to which you haven’t experienced Christ in your identity.   In order for love to cast out fear, even in your relationship with yourself in your own mind, it must not be based on your performance.

“God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things that I cannot change”…or don’t need to be and the wisdom to enjoy life.

Or what do we do when we’re really disappointed with God and holding it over him in our relationship with him?  Is your relationship with him, your intimacy with him, based your own ideas of who he should be or should have been…to you?  He’s okay with disappointing you because its not his obligation to meet your expectations of himself.  He knows who he is.  He is way better than any of us have given him credit for.  It’s the unmet expectation over him you’re being invited to let go of so that you can experience once again the exchange of love with him without conditions on either one of you.  This requires trust.  Trust can be scary, but is a fruit of love.  God disappointed everyone by dying on a cross at the age of 33 rather than delivering his people from the tyranny of Rome.  He’s okay with being misunderstood and accused of failure.  He’s got a different perspective and its far better than ours I assure you.

Your value, and God’s affections for you, are undiminashable.  I want to encourage you today.   In your rest, God can bring about all he has gloriously planned for you to experience in this life.  Maybe even lay down the process of making expectations over yourself and discover the wonder and beauty of your life as he reveals its glory to you.

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