Saturday, January 2, 2016

Living in Freedom

~Happy 2016!~

I arrived back in Honduras today, and after a flat tire in the van, a side-of-the-bridge tire change, a stop to a llantera to fix the original tire, and a stop to the gas station to fill up, we made it back home. I hope everyone else's new year is off to a great start! I enjoyed two weeks back in the States with family and friends for Christmas, and now I am ready to get back to the second half of this school year.

Last year, instead of creating new years resolutions, I had it on my heart to choose one word to focus my year on. Last year, that word was JOY, and I tried to find my joy in the Lord and intentionally choose joy every day. I will admit, I failed a lot. But I also succeeded some. And as I thought about this new year, I knew I didn't want to make resolutions, but I also thought I wouldn't choose a word either. I am an on-route-to-recovery perfectionist and this can lead me to some legalism at times, as well as being really hard on myself when I feel I have failed at something. And with the one word things last year, I don't really feel like I lived up to the expectations I set for myself. I will also admit that I sort of lost focus on my word about half way through the year. And I just didn't want to do that again. I wanted to be free from all the "have-tos" and pressures that I place on myself, and that I sometimes feel God has placed on me.

But then it came to me. Freedom. If freedom is what I want, why not make that my word for this year? Focus on being free from the "have-tos" and pressures I place on myself. So I choose freedom. And soon after that, I found the New Living Translation of Psalm 119:45: 

"I will walk in FREEDOM, 
for I have devoted myself to your commandments."

You know when you have those things you know in your head, but they just haven't really connected yet? I knew that the Lord's commandments are not burdensome. They are not meant to make me feel like a failure, or that I have to do everything right. And yet, I still often felt that way. But as I have been reading in a book called "Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary," when God commands something, contained in that command is the power to do it. When Jesus commanded Peter to step out of the boat onto the water, the power Peter needed to do it was in Jesus's command. But after a few steps, I think Peter started to rely on His own power again. Maybe he thought, "Oh, look at me. I've got this. I don't need Jesus's help." And he sunk.

So often, I try to live life out of my own power and strength. And I'll be the first to tell you that just doesn't work. It leads to burdens and feelings of failure and everything except freedom. But when I devote myself to God's commandments, and choose to walk in His power to fulfill them, I can also walk in FREEDOM.

So long story short, I'm not placing a bunch of rules and guidelines on myself this year. I am simply choosing to live in freedom and in the power God offers me.

I hope you have a {freeing} new year, 
"where the Spirit of the Lord is 
there is freedom!" 
(2 Corinthians 3:17)


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