11/6/2015 0 Comments
The Myth of Freedom
You know, freedom is a....funny thing. It's something that everybody wants (understandably)...yet some can't completely handle. It's something that has to be given at the right time. For to have freedom too soon can ruin you just as much as never receiving it. Growing up in church, I often heard it called "deliverance". Like, when you've got something on (or in) you that you cant shake on your own, you go to the alter, and ask God for deliverance. Now, I believe that deliverance is real. I've been delivered from too many things and people to say that it's not. But what I will say is that there's another side of freedom/deliverance that you don't hear much about....the aftermath....
Everybody has a habit that they know they need to break. Everybody (yep, saved people too) has an issue that has held them for an extended time at some time in their life. Maybe it's a bad relationship. Maybe you constantly surround yourself with the wrong people. Maybe you feel like you're living a double life. You really want to be the 'model Christian' (whatever that actually means), but the turn up is real...and let's be honest, it's fun. Maybe you've been struggling with an illness. Orrrrr....maybe you've been struggling with yourself. Everybody else sees potential inside of you, but when you look in there, you can't see anything beyond all the wrong you've done. I call them weights. Everybody has at least one weight. Regardless of how old you may be, or how long you've been saved, everybody's got something that keeps them from being just like sweet baby Jesus.
AND THENNNNN beyond our own personal weights, there's....life. Bad times have a terrible way of feeling like they'll last forever. You can struggle with something so long that it starts to feel like your normal. Stressing becomes an everyday pattern. It's almost routine. Or maybe you've gotten to the point that you don't even celebrate the good days because you feel like good times are only a sign that bad times are coming. There are plenty of things that we go through that we all ask God to free us from. Habits, people, mentalities, diseases, struggles, guilt, shame. Everybody's got something...and today, I want to talk to you about your 'something'.
Now, while I wish I had it (because God knows I'd use it), I don't have a 'How to be Free in 2 weeks' plan to give you. I don't have a fasting & prayer schedule. No super spooky revelation where I put your info in this post & command you to be free. Nothing dramatic like that. I want to encourage you in this moment though, and let you know that I've been freed from a lot of things. I've been freed from people who hurt me more than they helped me. I've been freed from mental weights. I've been freed from seasons of total struggle. I've been freed from bad habits. Chil', I've been freed quite a few times, ok? So I know that God is definitely able to meet you where you are, speak a word, & and release you from any chains you may feel bound by. Regardless of whether you were born in them or if you feel like you placed yourself in that bondage, He's got what it takes to set you free. However, the piece that you rarely hear (expressly) talked about is what it takes to stay free.
What (I don't think) anybody ever told me is that freedom is work. You've got to put in work to maintain the freedom that you've been given, AND sometimes, you've got to figure out what life again. There have been moments when I literally had to ask God to help me figure out what it meant to be Valencia all over again, because in order for me to be free, He essentially had to change my life. He had to change the way I thought about things, the way I looked at myself, the way I looked at others around me, what I was comfortable doing, all of it. There was a time when I asked God to remove thoughts I was having, and when He did....I didn't know what to think about (haha). Sometimes, you need to start from scratch, but 'scratch' is a lot better when you have a partial idea of what to do with it, you know?
Maybe you're still praying to be freed from something. Or, maybe you've been freed (yay!), and you have all of this great, newly delivered energy....and no idea what to do with it. Either way, I've got something that helped me, and will hopefully help you. (random fact: I learned this in church! cool huh? lol) Ready? I want you to think about that weight, situation, stronghold, etc. that you want(ed) off of you so badly. Got it? Good. Now, I want you answer this question:'....for what?' Why do you want it off of you? You want better spending habits? For what? You want to stop a bad habit? For what? If you don't have a purpose behind your prayers, whatever they may be, you won't know what to do if/when you get your answer. So if you're still praying for deliverance from something, I'd suggest that you start thinking about why you want to be freed so badly, and that you ask God to reveal the mission behind the freedom. You're bound for a reason, you want to be free for a reason (because everybody doesn't have that desire), and you'll be freed for a reason. Having a source of motivation may keep you from running from one source of bondage to another. If you're already free, celebrate!....and ask God what He wants you to do with that freedom. He set you free for a reason. There's a mission that comes with your freedom. If you don't find it, & walk in it, you'll only be cheating yourself; because God can do sooooooo much through you and for you...if you let Him use you.
Maintaining freedom is hard because of the pictures we often have in our heads. Some think that when God picks you up, you'll never fall again. But I've learned that's not always true. If you simply go to the alter, cry it out, get a good feeling inside, & walk away, you're leaving yourself open for the enemy to attack you. Never underestimate your opponent, darling. Once God frees you from something, He gives you the grace to do whatever's necessary to maintain that freedom. That may be paying more attention to what you do or say, and stopping yourself when you see hints of who you used to be. Maintaining may require you to listen to gospel music in the morning. Maybe you need make morning declarations to yourself in order to remind yourself that who you used to be is not who you are today. You may need to say goodbye to some people. Move things around in your house. Change some habits & find better replacements for them. Find better ways to fill your time (idle mind is the devil's playground, right). Start a journal. Set prayer times. Whatever you need to do in order to maintain the freedom God gives you, do that. All the time! Anybody that could talk about you hasn't been through what you've been through how you've been through it. You had to fight to get that freedom, and you've got to fight to keep it. The amazing fact? God loves you enough to not only give you the freedom that you prayed for, but to give you the grace, wisdom, and capability to keep it.
Oh! And give yourself some grace & patience. It may not happen all at once. You may work your way to freedom/deliverance in pieces. You may fall. You may mess up. That mistake only defines your journey if you choose to let it end there. I'd also really suggest that you watch a sermon by Bishop T.D. Jakes entitled 'The Power of a Changed Mind' (link below). Changed the way I viewed my journey & the way I viewed my mistakes. We're moving forward, not backwards. So I speak life to you, wherever you are on your journey, that God will continue to strengthen you and to help you grow. You've gotten this far with Him on your side, and I can't wait to hear about where He takes you (because I do want you to go to the Contact Me page & tell me! lol). Have a great week! Be strong!
Background Music: Maintain - Jonathan McReynolds
(The Power of a Changed Mind is under the Jonathan McReynolds video)
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