LOVE AND FREEDOM
Ephesians 5:1 “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”
I began by telling a story of a girl I often saw on the seminary campus. She was beautiful. She seemed to have the perfect life, lots of friends, smart. I remember walking onto the basketball court to with my team ready to play our first intramural game and seeing her. She had bright red tennis shoes. She became "the girl with the red shoes" to me. I was automatically intimidated by her. Even before we had even ever spoken. I had already made a list full assumptions about her in my mind.
Now, if you let the story play out several months you'd see that we eventually became friends. Such good friends that now I consider her one of my dearest friends! Even though she lives in GA, we get to minister with them about once a year and we keep up in the blogosphere with each other's families. If I would have let those preconceived thoughts rule over I would have missed out on the godly influence and great impact that this girl has had on my life!
At first, I allowed my own thoughts about Lindsey be how I made her out to be in my mind. But that was my own insecurities playing out. I was judgmental, envious, and even jealous...of what? My own ideas of who she was.
QUESTION #1 –
What are some areas in your life that you struggle with comparison and that keep you from having freedom in Christ?
For me it comes most often in the form of money, my house, my kids, life experience, things my husband does, or doesn’t do, ha!
The problem with this is that we become bitter and negative. We lose sight of the blessings that God has given us. We have our OWN story! Our own blessings! And if we lose sight of that we cannot tear down the wall of comparison in our own lives to live freely in Christ and who He has made you to be.
Ephesians 5:20 says, “giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Even in the things that don’t necessarily go your way.
This can be a career path that didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, a pregnancy that ended in loss, or not being able to get pregnant in the first place, health issues that arise, marriage issues. What about when you have been hurt deeply by others. The list can go on and on.
But we are called to "give thanks always for everything".
Questions #2 –
So, How can you come to a point of “Total Submission”?
For me, I have had to give up my control, as if I actually had any in the first place, for growing our family. It is the Lord’s to give, not mine. I’ve had to intentionally involve myself in others pregnancies and find ways to love on them and help them through this time.
As far as when other people have hurt me. I can choose to stay bitter and unforgiving. I can choose to resent when something good happens to them and their families or lives. I can choose to live behind the fear of that circumstance so I won’t get hurt like that again.
I can trust in the Lord. Because He works everything out for the good of those who love him. Right?
In the hardest season of our lives, Josh and I got hit from every side. We had just added a new baby to our family, we had bought our first house, finances were unstable, he ended up losing his job, his health had failed, our marriage could have fallen a part.
But...we grew so much during that season!
He gave us a wonderful ministry. He strengthened our marriage. He has ALWAYS provided for us in every way. He restored my husband’s health, you know, unless he doesn’t get enough sleep and then he starts talking crazy again, ha! We have learned how to work through conflict, because let’s face it, life is messy and people are people, no matter who they are!
We all have a choice to make. Live in the bitterness of comparison, as if the Lord has no special plan for your life, or embrace everything the Lord gives you, in the good AND the bad, choosing to grow through that season and blossom where the Lord has planted you.
Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow.