Happy 4th of July! This season for me has been one of finding true freedom and rest as I continue to learn to abide in Christ. As is often the case, I wasn’t aware of the lessons I’ve been learning until I paused to reflect on the past several months, which have been filled with much change.
For several years now I’ve been asking God to teach me how to abide in Him consistently. I’m beginning to see how He has been answering this prayer. I’d like to share with you some of the key highlights He’s been teaching me with the hope it might encourage you in your walk of faith.
I’ve been a fearful person since childhood, even before my father died (shortly after my 10th birthday), but especially more so after that. This has carried with me into adulthood, yet strangely I did not realize how much fear had a grip on me. Following some difficult circumstances, the presence of these fears became more obvious and demanded that I address them. Through prayer (as well as the help of a wonderful counselor) God has graciously been helping me see how my thoughts travel quickly to places they shouldn’t go. It has not been easy to go to Him immediately with these fears and ‘take captive every thought’, but as I do I have found I am able to rest and delight in Him more consistently.
Exchanging lies for TRUTH
Uncovering the many lies I’ve believed over the years has been a key way God is teaching me to abide in Him. One at a time God has been showing me these lies and impressing on me His truth. It’s been quite a long process and not an easy one either. Many of these untruths have been with me a long time, and to be totally honest, I wasn’t fully aware they were even there. But I believe my prayer to abide is what allowed God to open my eyes to seeing them, and I look forward to continuing on this journey of exchanging lies for His truth.
Insignificance. One of the lies God has been uncovering is how my thoughts often berate me with the message that what I do lacks any real value to God. Although this is something I’m still working through, there are two lessons God taught me that will remain etched in my mind.
The first. . . I will often ask the Lord if there is something specific He wants me to do, something I am ‘missing’. One day while praying He impressed upon me to ‘do the things you love to do’ (i.e. caring for my home, creating, etc.), and ‘take Me with you’. This painted for me the perfect image of 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Quite often I make a division between the ‘sacred’ and the ‘secular’, drawing a line where God didn’t intend for one to be drawn. Reminding myself daily that ALL I do is for God’s glory is helping to loosen the chains of shame and bondage I place on myself for not ‘doing or being more’.
The second. . . Last October while visiting my daughter she asked for help to decorate her home for Fall. My first thought was to make a wreath, and there were hundreds of pinecones in her area. Unfortunately due to all the rain they more or less resembled soggy cigars. I collected some anyway and googled ways to bring them back to life. Turns out, after a quick bake in the oven and a light brushing to remove the remaining dirt they became like new! I was beyond overjoyed with the transformation of these pinecones!!
As I was admiring the before and after, one a sticky, gooey blob and the other a perfectly beautiful pinecone, I heard these words… “Isn’t there something more important you should be doing than this, just sitting here delighting in a silly PINECONE?!?”
For the first time ever, I recognized this thought as a lie and squashed it. Immediately God impressed on me, ‘this is how I delight in you’. I was blown away.
That image of the dirty pinecone, the process of heating it to burn away the impurities and the gentle brushing to clean it off, along with my joy in seeing its beauty. . . coupled with the thought of God delighting in me as his child, as He, by His grace, refines me day by day to be molded into His image. Nearly all my life I ‘knew’ of this truth, yet it was clouded by lies buried deep within me.
Psalm 147:11 says…’the Lord delights in those who fear him,who put their hope in his unfailing love.’
While I’m still on the journey of allowing God to weed out years of fearful and wrong thinking, my take away is this.
- Romans 12:2 says, ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind’.
This is a daily battle. Our minds are powerful, our thoughts can attempt to kill us everyday or speak life into our souls!
- We can’t do this alone. God knows us better than we know ourselves! We were made to delight and abide in Him. If you struggle as I have to do this, it may be because deep within your mind there are strongholds or lies. Ask God to reveal them to you and to replace them with His truth. There is nothing more life giving than being set free to delight and rest in the God who made you.
I’ve attached a printable ‘Freedom Banner’ that I made for our mantle this year for our Fourth of July celebration.
I thought it was actually super fitting to go along with this post as I’ve shared about our ultimate freedom to walk in fellowship with Jesus Christ!
‘For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.’ Galatians 5:1