The struggle is real…and that’s okay. Just in case you’ve never been acknowledged in your struggle, I wanted you to hear it from me. Now that I have your attention, I’d like to talk to you for a bit. This may touch a very tender part of your heart, but I promise it’s worth it to stick with me until the end. This post is a call to action of sorts and is meant to encourage your heart and motivate you to move your feet toward meaningful action. To take some pressure off of you, I’ll start.
What happens when God releases you but you’re too afraid to walk in freedom?
Over the last few months, God has been making it clear to me that He has released me in certain areas of my life to walk in territory that I was once kept from due to His pruning hand of protection. He had been doing a work in me that needed to be completed before I could safely walk in true freedom. It has been a journey that has taken me down many roads I never saw coming and revealed parts of myself I never knew existed. To sum it up in one word, it was cleansing.
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There are many instances in the Bible where God makes it clear that He is well acquainted with the heart of humanity. In His choosing of David over all of his other brothers. In His acceptance of Abel’s gift over Cain’s. God is no respecter of persons and He makes it abundantly clear that living a life of honorable service to Him is primarily a heart issue. With this understanding of the God who created the universe, who exists outside of time, and has all power in His being; Shouldn’t we be able to trust Him at His word?
The short answer is yes. However, our thoughts and behavior often show otherwise, complicating what God originally intended to be a simple solution to address our needs. You may be familiar with the quotable found on many t-shirts, mugs, and other collectable items: “Keep Calm and…” The end of that statement has an extensive list of suggested things, people, and places to put your faith in. Yet, every believer is aware, to some degree, that the only true source of stability that we can put our trust in is God. This year, 2020, has quite rudely interrupted the norms that humanity has created for ourselves and made it abundantly clear that many of the things, people, and places we have put our faith in are not able to hold us up when life takes an unexpected turn.
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25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, [a]“Be of good cheer! [b]It is I; do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:25-27 NKJV).
The disciples were in a dire situation. They were caught in a storm that had been raging for some time (according to the passage, it would have been after three o’clock in the morning and, based on verses 22-23, they set sail prior to the evening’s start). In the distance, they saw something that looked unfamiliar coming towards them. They were troubled by what they saw and began to cry out in fear. What are you inviting into your life during difficult situations? The disciples were inviting fear to take hold of them. Jesus, knowing where fear would lead, was swift in His encouragement of their faith, attempting to assure them of who He was. Since they already knew Jesus and witnessed His track record, one would think that this would be enough to quell their fears. However, that did not appear to be the outcome.
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Upstream. Against the current. Even after losing yourself in the waves of disappointment. Just. Keep. Swimming.
This line spoken by Dory in the movie Finding Nemo is such a memorable one. It’s a reminder to keep going no matter what. Dory’s character is most memorable for her “can do” spirit, even in the face of what appears to baffle her. Even when she forgets her surroundings, what she’s learned and who she’s met. She keeps a persevering mindset and presses forward with enthusiasm. Now, I understand if you’re reading this and thinking that you can’t relate to that level of fortitude in the face of what you’ve been making your way through lately. But I want to remind you of something. God is faithful. He knows what you’ve been going through and He cares about every detail!
On those difficult days, there are words of encouragement that can be found throughout scripture to address your situation. For example, Proverbs 24:16a in the New International Version says, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” This is a beautiful reminder that, no matter what gets you down or how many times you feel defeated, in Christ, you don’t have to be! There will always be an opportunity to get back up and keep going. God guarantees it. Another important reminder we receive in scripture is not to grow weary in doing good because a beneficial outcome awaits on the other side of our perseverance (Galatians 6:9). God’s word is filled with affirmations reminding us that He’s on our side, rooting for us.
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The world around us right now is taking a shift in an unimaginable direction and, while there may appear to be many reasons to worry, I’m inviting you to choose faith instead…
At the risk of being the one millionth person to mention the reason for majority of the world living under quarantine right now, I am simply going to say that this has been, without a doubt, a sobering experience for many. But, can I just say….there has been an underlying peace that has overtaken my soul in the midst of all that is happening.
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