Friday, June 25, 2010


What is freedom? Where does it come from and what does it require of me?

In the first 13 chapters of Exodus we meet a nation of enslaved people. God heard their cries, sent them a leader, and took 13 chapters to get them to walk out of the city. When God set the Israelites free from the Egyptians, it wasn’t just a matter of Him setting them free and then they sat around and were just “free” in their own little lives. Their freedom required something of them. If they wanted to be free, they had to not only accept the work that God was doing in their lives, but they had to pack up their stuff and actually walk out of the city of their captivity. They had to walk away from that which held them captive. Now, you wouldn’t think that that would be a difficult decision. You might not initially think that walking away from oppression would be something you would actually have to think over, but let’s look at this a different way.

The Egyptians were holding the Israelites captive and treating them like slaves. But what if the Egyptians were holding the Israelites captive but treated them like equals or better? Would the Israelites still recognize their enslavement or would they come to an acceptance and say, “well, that’s just how things are”? It’s easy to recognize enslavement when it’s painful or oppressive. It’s easy to look at slavery and say, “that’s bad and should never happen! We should fight that.”

What if enslavement is somehow masked as something that’s not so bad? What if we are walking around this world, thinking we are completely free, but in actuality are completely enslaved? Only this isn’t any kind of slavery history has ever recognized before. It’s completely unearthly and entirely spiritual. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Our freedom will not be gained by fighting people, or even by “just getting through today”. There are days when we feel like “just getting through” is doing pretty good, thank you very much. But is that the life of freedom Jesus died so that we could have? Of course not! I have a hard time believing that the Savior of the Universe DIED just so we could force ourselves to push through another day! But how do we break this dynamic we have with the world? It’s so easy to just jump on the “God bandwagon” expect to go out and conquer the world and fall flat on our faces. How do we free ourselves from this tether that the world has on us? What’s the plan?

I don’t have any magical answers that will somehow make that light bulb turn on over your head and help you see something you have never seen before. Like Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” Here is what I have found in my spirit to be true. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot free ourselves. We have to let ourselves die. The Bible says, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20 NLT). Crucified. Dead. No longer living. Powerless. That is what our old lives must become if we expect our new lives in Christ to gain any momentum. We simply cannot go on living our lives as we have been and still expect God to free us from those lives. We have to be willing to walk away from them. Now, we can’t always afford to walk away from our jobs, but we can walk away from the group of gossips around the coffee machine. We can’t always physically walk out of our situation the way the Israelites did, but ask and watch as God provides a place for your spirit to find freedom and rest within your stressful situation. Be willing to be changed, ask, and then watch as God takes a sinner and slave to sin and grants a freedom that no words can express!

Will you have troubles? Of course. Will you struggle on probably a daily basis? Naturally. Will people mock you and treat you badly? Probably. Will you sometimes wonder if this was a good idea? Could be. Will you be alone? Never! In your lowest valley, He is there. On your highest mountaintop, He is with you. On your way from one to the other, He travels by your side.

Romans 8:38-39 (New Living Translation)

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I'm an introvert....

Here's what that means....

· I'm territorial - desire private space and time
· I'm happy to be alone - I can be lonely in a crowd
· I become drained around large groups of people and generally dislike attending parties
· I need time alone to recharge
· I generally prefer to work on my own rather than do group work
· I act cautiously in meeting people
· I'm reserved, quiet, and deliberate
· I typically do not enjoy being the center of attention
· I do not share private thoughts with just anyone
· I form a few deep attachments
· I typically think carefully before speaking (practicing it in my head before I speak)
· I see reflection as very important
· I concentrate well and deeply
· I become absorbed in thoughts and ideas
· I limit my interests but explore deeply
· I communicate best one-on-one
· I get agitated and irritated without enough time alone or undisturbed
· I select activities carefully and thoughtfully

There's nothing wrong with being an introvert, but the extroverts don't always see it that way. They see me as being stuck up and smug or shy and not very bright. Anyone who knows me knows the difference, if they took the time to get to know me. I try to blend in with everyone else and be just as outgoing and easy to talk to as everyone else, but I get tired of that. I get tired of being around people so much, tired of always having to have an answer. And so I take a day off. I still chat with people, but I keep it minimal and I'm careful not to invest too much of myself. Some may see that as selfish but I see it as self-maintenance. I need this time away from people to process things, to let my mind and heart rest from the constant work of giving of myself. Many people do not really understand this need but I'm not worried about them because I know God created me this way for a purpose, for His purpose and I'm not about to tell the Creator of the Universe that He didn't do a fabulous job creating me. :-)

Monday, June 14, 2010

money is the devil

I hate money. I really do. I hate that I need it to live. Yeah, hate is a strong word and I just used it twice. I officially had my monetary breakdown tonight, even though I feel like I have more tears to shed over this. I'm struggling with a capital UGG. Car payments, rent, bills, gas, food for me and my cats... these things shouldn't dwell in my mind in such a stressful way, but they do. When I leave the job that I love and turn on my car and see the Check Engine light on and realize that there is nothing I can do about it because I can't afford a mechanic, it weighs on me. When I give my cat a bath and accidentally press too hard on one of the three tumors in her belly and cause her pain, I cry because there's nothing I can do about it. When I open my fridge and see the food supply dwindling, I stress because I can't replenish it. When I look at my bank account and see the negative numbers, I worry because I can't change that. I have applied more places than I care to mention and have not received one single job offer. I would never leave the full time job I have now, God created that job for me and I'm good at it. But ends are not meeting and I don't know what to do. And so I stress, I cry, I rob Peter to pay Paul and hope that Mary doesn't realize she didn't get paid this month. I grocery shop in my mother's cabinets and accept every offer of free food that comes along. I have swallowed more pride in the past months than I knew existed within me. I only have one rope and I feel like I've reached the end of it...

The Bible tells me not to be anxious, not to worry. But it's hard not to be anxious when basic needs are two seconds from not being met on such a consistent basis. I don't know how to live life like this. I don't know how to deal with this kind of stress. I would rather work three jobs, have no time for even sleep, than continue to live with this stress. I would rather have no time for myself because I'm literally always working than live like this. I hate struggling. I really do.