The Things You Learn

After completing a DTS and living in a healthy, close community for over a year, I thought I had most of my life together. Sure, I still have no idea what I’m going to be doing or where I’m going to be in 5 years, but that didn’t bother me. At least I knew who I was and who God said I was. And I know the sound of God’s voice. So I felt like I was pretty set.

Isn’t it crazy how in those moments, we can feel so secure. And then all it takes is one little comment and our world begins to rapidly unravel.

All of the sudden, we realize what we’ve actually been rooting our identity in and what voices we’ve let speak into our lives more than God’s. And just like that, I feel like I’m back at square one. Sometimes, that’s a scary place to be. But for me, it’s only scary because I realize that everything I thought was solid actually wasn’t. So I start to question everything. And that’s when God comes in and reminds me of who I am and what He says is legit.

He reminds me that He loves me. He tells me that I am where He has called me to be. He says that I’m His beloved. He asks to spend time with me.

I realized a week or so ago that I focus too much on what others think. It started from an innocent place. I just wanted to be a good example. I wanted to practice what I preached and make sure that my actions lined up with my words. And I wanted to make sure that what I was doing was edifying to the rest of the people in my community. It came from a place of wanting to help others around me and to help create a safe community. But it quickly became crippling. I questioned everything I did. And not just to check my motives, but to see what people around me would think or say if I did this or that. What would they think if I rode the T-bar with this person? What would they say if I sit next to this person at dinner? What do they think I’m spending most of my time on? How will they react if I say this? All of the sudden, it moved from a place of wanting to be intentional to being paranoid and too wrapped up in what other people thought of me. That’s not a fun place to be. There’s no freedom in that.

Thankfully, there’s freedom in Jesus.

Two weeks ago, the speaker was talking about Lordship – which means letting Jesus be Lord of our life and surrendering completely to Him. That’s when it hit me and I realized that I’d given the “God spot” in my life to the people around me. I wasn’t letting Jesus call the shots. I was letting my fear of the people around me dictate how I lived my life. Once I realized that and surrendered that to the Lord, so much peace flooded into the crevices that had been filled with so much worry and fear. I think that’s what we call freedom.

And suddenly, I’m not worried about pleasing people around me. I just want to spend time with Jesus. It’s amazing how much more love we feel when we allow ourselves to be loved. This past three or four days, I’ve just been busy exploring how much Jesus loves me. The other day, I felt Him calling me to sneak away to spend time with Him. So I did. And I just sat in the sunshine for 45 minutes, completely silent, just enjoying being loved by the Creator of the Universe. It’s amazing what that can do to a soul.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.”
– 1 John 4:18

He is perfect love. In Him, there is no fear. I’ve realized that when I focus on His perfect love, I don’t have the time or desire to focus on being afraid. That’s freedom.

So I just want to encourage you to spend time soaking up all of the love Jesus has for you. Because He loves you so much. I know that. I know it because I’m starting to understand how much He loves me. And my prayer is that you would begin to understand that as well. That’s the key to happiness.

It’s the key to true freedom.

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