Tag Archive | Freedom

Raw and Real #12 – Freedom

Today, I enjoy much freedom;

Freedom from anxiety, freedom from shame, freedom from guilt, freedom from bullies.

I enjoy that freedom because I made a quality choice to do the really hard inner work.

Importantly I must add – allowing God/Jesus/Holy Spirit to guide me along what has often been a pretty bumpy path.

I am fully confident, that you can follow much the same path to healing.

What is needed is a longing to be better, and a tenacity to stick with it.

Here is a really important point that must be made!

I profess freedom.

I own it.

But I must understand, and remember over and over again that this does not mean that EVERYTHING is perfect.

Actually, far from it.

Life on this planet is predictably unpredictable.

Everyone has trials.

Everyone has issues; physical, mental, and spiritual.

The deal is; how do we handle it?

I am free because I choose to, as the “littles” say “Let it go”.

I give it to God, and leave it there.

Let me be very clear, sometimes I leave it there once a day.

Other times it is every hour.

Scripture tells us in Romans 12, that we are a “Living sacrifice”.

Well, famous author and teacher Chuck Swindoll states that the problem with a “Living sacrifice”, is that they keep getting up and getting off of the alter.

I have to offer myself to God every moment, of every day.

There is FREEDOM in knowing that I have done the work, and that God reminds me all the time, that “He’s got this.”

Being certain of that, removes the weight from my shoulders.

I can walk knowing that whatever is going on, He is by my side, and that He won’t leave.

I have a handful of what I call LIFE VERSES, one for most areas of my life.

Here is one of my favorites;

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 (ESV)

Note, that it does not say that weapons will not be formed, it says they will not prosper.

Keeping this thought in mind, helps to keep the weight off of my shoulders.

It keeps my eyes looking ahead to just how God will show me what to do next.

Carrying that weight?

It is my choice.

Dropping it away from me is also my choice.

I need to recognize that some days are going to be more difficult than others, but the bad ones do pass.

What frame of mind will I keep until that happens?

And be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13: 5B (ESV) 

If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:24-26 (ESV)

There may be one more installment for this Raw and Real series, or there may be a summary.

I’m not sure yet.

But either way, won’t you join me?

Until next time …

Raw and Real #10 – Travel

So just what exactly does travel have to do with raw and real anyway you might ask.

At first blush, nothing.

I know for me it has something very important to do with my process.

I’ll see if I can explain, and you can see if this fits for you as well.

When I was small, the big event of the week was to go and visit my grandparents’ house, which was out of town.

In adult terms, only fifteen miles or so, but to a child, it was SO far.

Regardless of the distance, traveling down that gravel road approaching their home, was the best feeling of all.

There were cousins to play with, horses to pet, barns to hide in and apple trees to climb.

Do you see what was missing?

You saw correctly if you saw that → There were no bullies.

For that time, I was free from the daily torment of those bully boys and the mean girls. 

With my cousins living across just across the road, it was as close to perfect as could be.

Until it wasn’t.

A misunderstanding between my father, my grandfather, and myself, got me the biggest beating of my life,

and an excommunication from my grandparents’ property.

Later on in years, around the age of receiving a driver’s license, travel was important for about the same reasons.

The bullies, the mean girls, and some others who won’t be mentioned, were left behind while I escaped from them for a little while.

When newly married, and having small children, my husband and I lived in the middle of an average sized mid-western town.

We purchased a camper, and a membership to a campground some forty miles away.

Away we would travel; there was peace and quiet for us all.

During those times, I always believed – in my dreams – that I/we could travel away and all, things would be left behind.

The biggest issue, was always having to return, back to the scene of the crime you might say.

The peace and quiet was physical, but I began to realize that peace was an “Inside job”.

My then, unbeknownst to me, introverted self, began taking a look inside, with the help of a pastor/mentor friend of mine.

He showed me how to read the Word of God, the Holy Bible, and glean out of it the →help I needed for myself.

My hope is that perhaps this little series might give you some ideas, and bring the same help to you.

We are all different, some of what worked for me may help, or you may need to look at some other ideas.

The above mentioned mentor has through the years, shown me multiple ways, to help with that “Inside job”.

You can read more from him →here if you like.

Meanwhile, travelling back to the point.

When you’re younger, you travel short distances, or you travel just “In your mind”.

As adults, who want to not only be free, but be useful in the lives of those they love, and in society in general.

We must learn to travel to that inside place.

Psalms 139 calls it “my inward parts”, “in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth”.

What I know to be true, is that if God took that much care in creating us, then He will surely take care to help us with those parts.

He longs for us to be free.

We need only ask.

Nowadays, when I travel, it is because I want to go somewhere.

I want to see something new.

I want to spend some good times with my family and friends.

I don’t travel because I’m trying to get away from bullies.

There is peace within.

Even if I see turmoil in the earth, the peace within me still abides.

How about you?

Where do you want to travel?

Why do you want to travel?

Consider.

Just consider, to find peace within, and peace without.

Join me next time for installment #11 – Relate.

Until next time …

Raw and Real #7 – Process

So. If you read the title, and came here for an easy answer, I apologize straight away.

There are so many ways to process the events of our lives.

These events may be physical, mental, and/or spiritual.

Many times these events and their repercussions stay hidden deep inside.

Repercussions of continuous abuse.

If we do choose to address them, admittedly, we choose to work on the parts that seem “easiest”.

This generally means a little here and a little there.

Eventually, the hard stuff is what’s left.

What is the hard stuff?

It’s the stuff that makes up the “Soundtrack of our lives”.

It’s the stuff that has buried itself deep in our consciousness.

Being a “Soundtrack”, means that it can readily get played over and over.

What we believe about ourselves is often the thing that has been repeated to us over time.

Repetition is an amazing teacher.

So what of this “Soundtrack”?

Is it positive, or is it negative?

Do we even realize the harm it is doing?

For me at least, I came to the point where I was faced with doing a “deep dive”.

An  →“Excavation” if you will, to get to the heart of the issue.

My belief in the Holy Bible gave me a jumping off point.

In Ephesians 4:22-23 (ESV) to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.

And in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

In the simplest of terms, what these verses are telling us that it is possible to change the way we think.

My “Soundtrack” was full of what every person I had ever come in contact with said, or thought about me, both positive and negative.

Unfortunately, the negatives are much stickier than the positives.

I’m told that it takes seven positives to overcome a negative.

So how does one go about renewing those thoughts, or “taking them captive”?

Scripture has an answer for that as well.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Wow!

That’s a tall order.

To tell the truth, I had read all of these verses before, but it seems like only when I was truly ready to put them in place, did they come alive to me!

Believe me friend, it took all the intentionality I could muster to change those thoughts!

Here is some of what I thought followed by what God was thinking about me.

“You’re no good” – God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

“Use your head for something besides a hat rack.” – Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (I’ll need my head for that!)

“You’re so dumb.” God says I have the mind of Christ.

“You’re so bad, God will never forgive you!” He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins.

“What tribe you from? Blackfoot?” – How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good news.

Blackfoot, bigfoot, gunboats, monkey toes – He drew me out of the pit, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

(There is a foot verse for any foot joke there is!)

Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” – “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

The only way that we can overcome, is to change the way we speak about ourselves.

We need to believe what God says, and to repeat it to ourselves again and again.

Remember that repetition is a great teacher.

After some time, I began to believe God said too; and my symptoms began to fade.

I keep adding the true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy statements to my tally of positives.

I believe God’s thoughts more and more, and am exceedingly more capable of living a most grateful and joyful life.

Thanks for joining me here today.

If you’d like to read→another post on “Excavation”, you can do it here.

My hope is that you too will be able to change the “Soundtrack of your life” into to one that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy.

  • Psalms 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
  • James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Isaiah 52.7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news
  • Psalm 40:2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

All verses from the English Standard Version

Join me back here on next time for #8 – Too Much Process

Until next time …

Raw and Real #5 – Little Girl

Little Girl – 6 months – 6 weeks

I often refer to this part of my life as an “Excavation”.

I had no idea that the endeavor I was beginning would take as long as it did; or dig as deep.

I had worked on my “issues” for a long time.

I’d remembered, and forgiven, and moved on.

I was unaware that there was a lot of residual ickyness left over.

(In the form of grief, and fear, sadness, and more)

Then, while chatting with a friend, who had taken some courses in psychology and such, recommended one of her study books to me;

The Ultimate Journey – Phase 1 (book and workbook) I did not need to buy them because I could borrow hers. 

 My intent was to borrow the book, read it, and have it back to her in a couple of weeks.

The excavation that I thought would be with a teaspoon, and take a month, ended up being undertaken with a massive “digger-thing”,

(My husband tells me it’s a back hoe)

and would stretch out over almost a six month period.

The work involved answering many, many questions on different things from each “era” of life;

Pre-born, pre-school, grade school, middle school, high school, early adult.

I cannot possibly tell you every step.

What I can tell you that once I began, I literally could not stop.

It was a long, arduous, painful journey; but in the end, it brought LIFE.

The two parts, I think, that brought me farthest out of darkness into the light were these;

*The first thing was to go through a prepared list of beliefs that you hold about yourself.

If you agreed with any of them, you would check them off.

This was followed by a prepared list of ways that those beliefs might cause you to behave,

again checking them off along the way if they applied to you.

Can I tell you that they were questions that I NEVER would have dreamed up on my own, and I think that’s why they were so helpful.

I saw things in my life that I didn’t realize were even there.

I recognized behaviors, I never knew I had, but once recognized, they all made sense.

It took a significant amount of time to work through

Each. One.

Significant quiet time, with many tears.

Often with the ugly cry thrown in for good measure.

*The second thing was perhaps the most difficult for me.

It felt strange to do it, but after I did, there was so much release in my spirit that I felt like a different person.

If I did not believe this scripture;

Ephesians 4:23 (ESV) And to be renewed in the spirit of your minds;

I would have gone no further.

Because I do not believe God tells us to do things that though Him are not possible.

Here is what was next;

The study guided me to go back.

Go back to the little girl that I used to be, beginning BEFORE birth.

I know, I know.

But if I had not done it myself, I might not have believed it either.

Stay with me here.

I just re-read my work, the sadness was overwhelming.

(I kept the questions and answers in a journal because I would have to return the books eventually)

I was instructed to write a letter from her, to me; then answer her back.

Each “era” had the same exercise.

Through these letters, I was able to “take her hand”, and walk with her out of the darkness of all the misunderstandings that kept her trapped for all those years.

Scripture tells me in John 8:36 (ESV) If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed, and in John 8:32 (ESV) you will know the truth, and the truth will set you that free.”

In my mind and in my heart, I told her the truth, and she is free.

Truly, the hurts that used to take six years to get over,

changed from that to six months, then to six days.

Now today, if I hold a hurt more than six hours it’s too long.

Depending on the hurt, I’ve been known to get over it in less than six minutes.

It is not always easy, but it is always intentional.

There is no way that I could cover this topic in full, but I wanted you to realize the possibilities of being truly free of the things holding you in your past.

For me it was two things that keep me moving forward,

my belief in God’s word,

and the tenacity and intentionality that is kept in this introverted heart of mine.

I hope you’ll join me here next time, while we look at

Identity. Until then …

Freedom to Be Real

At the beginning of this year, I was invited to a new meeting, new for me anyway.

The name of the group is “Raw and Real”.

(That should tell you something!)

My husband asked me before I went what it was all about.

I seriously did not know, and I told him so.

“So why did I agree to go?” was his next query; because I 100% trust the friend who invited me.

Turns out, it is a growing group of woman from many different walks of life, just sitting for a couple of hours and sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I was dubious, because I dislike the small talk involved with meeting new people.

I love the DEEP talk – just not always the small talk of getting there.

But did I mention I trust my friend?

This group was all women with a similar world view, even though their life histories were very different.

It was actually quite a joy to hear some of their stories, and heartbreaking to hear some others.

Let me tell you folks, no matter how bad you had it – someone always had it worse.

You can never tell by looking at them, just how difficult their journey has been.

I won’t share their stories, but I can sure tell you what happened in my mind while I was there.

I did not share my story there, but as I listened I was reminded, and considered my own journey.

Sometimes when you have walked thru so much, over such a long period of time –

You know where you’ve walked, but some of the steps get forgotten.

What I’d like to do here, is share the BIG steps that I remembered during this meeting, and then in subsequent posts, share some of the little steps that were involved in becoming the free woman that I am today.

So here is the list I made while listening – many of their steps reminded me of my own!

1. Toxic turmoil  

2. Lament

3. Quiet (pjs)

4. Introvert

5. Little girl – 6 weeks – 6 months

6. Identity

7. Process

8. Too much process

9. Write

10. Travel

11. Relate.

12. Freedom

During the process of writing this out, I am positive that even more will be revealed and remembered. 

Over the years I have come to “Love the process”.

It always takes me to new places, with further vistas, and hopefully, you can realize some new freedoms too, just by following along.

Until next time …

A Bump in the Road

This week heavily on my mind, is the fact that I have made some decisions, or a least I thought I made some decisions.

Decisions that pertain to the things I want to share, here, and anywhere else I’d like to share it.

I find myself out here again, on a bumpy road. Trying to traverse the landscape with a minimum of bumpage. My husband is mortified when I make up words, but bumpage is a good one right? I’m positive you know what I mean.

You’re moving right along, everything lined up straight, and BAM! A cloud of confusion, or a bank of brain fog, too many ideas to count all descend on you at once, or none at all. It’s a moment when you realize that the decision(s) you made made not be as clear as you thought they were. Without a clear purpose, without a clear focus, moving forward is depressingly difficult.

I’m not sure what I can figure it all out here, but allow me to use this space to look back and see how I got here, so that I can figure out, again, which way to go to get around these bumps.

My husband and I discuss often, the fact that in the age we live in, we have taught our children WHAT to think, and not HOW to think. When I was raised, I have no clear recollection of either. I remember in school, finishing my work, and then wandering around the classroom, disturbing the other kids. Instead of training me to THINK of something else to do, I would get whatever the punishment of the day was, and a lot of cross words about how I would never amount to much.

So suffice to say, it is no big surprise that the “Soundtrack of my life” was full of confusion and fog and a cacophony of noises.  When you receive these messages day in and day out, you begin to believe them

I remember always thinking, “I’m going to do this.” I’m going to do that.” All the while doing nothing because I did not know how to sort those thoughts out, or how to put them all together to make sense.

Several years back, every time I heard “I’m going to do this.” in my head, then right after that, I would hear “just stop talking about it and do it.” I began to discern the difference between saying and doing. It sounds simple enough, but let’s face it, when you weren’t taught to think, it is a difficult task.

Sorting those things out fell into a few different categories;

  • What people had said to/about me
    • What I thought about me
  • What people had done to me
    • What I thought because people did what people do
  • Is it possible to change these things?
  • Finally, what did God think of me?
    • How was I created by Him to be?

As you might imagine, these things took some doing to over come. It took a great deal of introspection, and internal dialogue. Separating the negative dialogue from the positive. Changing that “Soundtrack” to something that I could really live with, and then, begin to help others to walk the same way.

It is something that needs to be revisited from time to time. I’m fairly certain that it’s that time again for me.

Bumps in the road are inevitable.

How we navigate them determines our success or failure.

If you have read this far, then I imagine that this is something that plagues your mind as well.

Might I suggest, that you take just a few moments for yourself. To be quiet. To begin to sort all that has been stored inside of you for so long? I know that my “Quietude” lately has been must less than what I require. So it is time to begin again.

Quieting the heart that beats inside of us, is the best place to start.

I’ve left a video here to get you started.

I would love to hear your comments, and any other ideas that have helped you to become clear and focused. We’ll have some here on this blog, and help each other out.

How about it? You in?

 

 

Don’t Give Up!

Back in September, we read  David’s story

It was a story about loss, and persistence, and restoration.

Here it is again, in a nutshell;

David – Returned home to find that his entire village had been destroyed. Not one living thing was left, not one building standing. His wife and children were taken away, and he had no way of knowing whether they were alive or dead. Here’s what David (and his men) did. You can read this account in 1 Samuel 30. Here’s what he did –

1. He wept bitterly, until all of his strength was gone.

2. He then found strength in the Lord his God.

3. He inquired of the Lord to see what he should do (He prayed)

4. He took a portion of his men with him and pursued the enemy. He got EVERYTHING back, and then some. God honored the fact that he did not quit, but that he and a small number believed God could restore. (Nation, Families, Finances, Churches)

Now here is another story, this time about Daniel;

Daniel – Chapter 9. Now Daniel finished reading the scrolls and saw that the captivity was coming to an end. He could have said hip-hip-hooray and stopped praying, but he didn’t. He didn’t stop crying out to God, he called out to God what He had already promised! Three things he did –

1. He repented, for his sin AND the sin of his people.

2. He interceded. He took the promises of God’s word and brought them before Him all the more.

3. He gave thanks. He gave thanks for what He had done and what He would do. He thanked Him for His promises and covenants.

Both of these men could have given up. They could have stopped. They could have taken the freedom God gave them, and hidden themselves away. They never would have gotten the promises of God fulfilled in their lives.

Instead, they were persistent. First in their belief that God would care for them, and then, in their tenacity to continue moving forward, through pain and loss, to receive the prize at the end of the line.

The questions here for you and I are these;

  1. Will we persist?
  2. Will we believe God?
  3. Will we go on until we reach the prize?

To be sure, there are prizes here on this earth that are worth fighting for, but in reality, they will all fade away.

My persistence will lead not only to some of these, but to the ultimate prize – Living in the Presence of God. In His kingdom. Forever.

Pretty sure of this am I?

Yes.

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matthew 6:33

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  Romans 8:35
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Psalm 16:11

 

How about you?
Are you sure?