Category Archives: #firstfridayfinds

#firstfridayfinds: Freedom gives me anxiety.

FFF july

 

 

It’s Friday Saturday!!! Dang it, I’m a day late. But YESTERDAY was the first Friday in July… which means it’s time to link up with Elizabeth at Words and Wonder for First Friday Finds. Ready? One verse, fifteen minutes, and… go.

 

As we celebrate Independence Day, we celebrate FREEDOM! Freedom is AMAZING!!! But, can I be real with you for a second?

Freedom gives me anxiety.

For example, a friend gave me two solid hours of kid-free time the other morning and I spent the first ten minutes trying to decide what to do. Something relaxing? Something practical? WHAT DO I DO WITH MYSELF!?!

(I got groceries.) (But without kids, it was both practical AND relaxing.) (Kind of.)

Freedom can be unexpectedly frightening and overwhelming. You long for it, but when you have it, you’re not sure what to do with it. And often, you do what you did when you WEREN’T free.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

Clearly, God knows our tendencies. Isn’t it interesting that we’re told in Scripture to stand firm in freedom? Like He knows we’re pulled back to the familiar old burdensome ways.

WHY has Christ set us free? FOR FREEDOM!

Sounds pretty simple.

Until I try to live that out. What in the world do I do with REAL FREEDOM. Where do I even begin? WHAT DO I DO WITH MYSELF!?!

Thankfully, six verses later, I’m told exactly what to do with myself:

“In Christ Jesus… The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” – Galatians 5:6

EXPRESS my faith in the One who set me free… and express that faith through LOVE.

YES. I will stand firm on that all day long.

 

#firstfridayfinds: Wrestle

FFF june

It’s Friday!!! AND it’s the FIRST Friday in June… which means it’s time to link up with Elizabeth at Words and Wonder for First Friday Finds. Ready? One verse, fifteen minutes, and… go.

To choose a verse this morning, I employed the super-holy method of “open-your-Bible-to-a-random-page-and-choose-the-first-verse-you-see.” The fact that I landed on a verse beginning with a name I can’t even pronounce did not seem promising. But I’m glad I hung in there.

Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. Colossians 4:12

…wrestling in prayer…

I really like this picture of prayer. I think we often talk of prayer as if it’s a last resort. “Well, all we can do now is pray.” Almost like it’s this passive, last-ditch effort. Like we throw a Hail-Mary shot up to heaven & just wait to see what happens.

…wrestling in prayer…

Wrestling is active, fully engaged. Kind of loud. And sweaty. At least it is if you’re my kids.

Sometimes prayer is sweet and lovely, hands folded, head bowed, eyes closed, voice hushed. But sometimes it’s laid out on the floor, fist pounding, tears flowing, crying out to God. Confused, angry, hurt, desperate, urgent… wrestling.

Sometimes it feels like we’re wrestling God Himself – trying to grasp hold of Him and pin Him down. But as I write this, another picture comes to mind — a picture of us wrestling alongside God in prayer.

God is not our opponent. And He’s certainly not One to be pinned. What if, as we struggle, wrestle, through this broken world, it’s through prayer that we experience God wrestling alongside us.

I invite you to wrestle in prayer. Maybe it’s for yourself. Maybe it’s for your marriage. Maybe it’s for your children. Don’t just wrestle in it. Wrestle in prayer. If you can’t approach God all pretty and neat and tidy about it – NO PROBLEM. He never asked us to pray like that. Even if it feels like you’re wrestling against God, that’s better than standing at a distance. When you wrestle, you’re close. And I believe eventually you’ll find that rather than opposing you and trying to pin you down, you’ll find God has been wrestling alongside you all along.

#firstfridayfinds: Sufficient Courage

first friday may

It’s the first Friday in May (already!?!), which means I’m linking up with Elizabeth at Words and Wonder for first friday finds! Ready? One verse, fifteen minutes, and… go.

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. -Philippians 1:20

I’m sure I’ve read this verse before, but I don’t remember noticing it.

… in no way be ashamed… but have sufficient courage…

Shame vs. Courage.

Wow. This is the battle I’m in right now. It takes courage to step out of the shadow and into the light and put yourself out there and try to do better, be better. Yes, there’s grace for failing – but the failing still happens. Gahhhh I hate failing.

And I hate shame. But as much as I hate shame – and that which brings me shame (currently, my anger, my emotional overreactions, how quickly I snap at my kids, a.k.a. “My Issues”) – as much as I hate it, the sad, ugly truth is, I snuggle up to “My Issues” like a warm blanket. They may be fatal, but they’re familiar. They may be costly, but they’re comfortable.

Moodiness? Oh yes, I’ve got that down. Anger, short fuse? I can do that in my sleep. Pridefully clinging to my “rights?” If only it were an Olympic event.

But peace? patience? gentleness? Dang it. I know these are from the Lord and I know they are mine in Christ – but walking through the work of LIVING IT OUT – it still, more often than not, feels like unfamiliar terrain to my feet. Especially compared to these paths of moodiness and anger I’ve walked smooth by years of travel.

Stepping onto the higher path – I know it’s better but it’s not easy and it doesn’t feel NATURAL. Perhaps though, rather than asking God for more peace today or more patience, or more gentleness – I need to ask for SUFFICIENT COURAGE. Courage to act on, live out, and rest in the SUPERNATURAL peace, patience, and gentleness He has already put in me by His Holy Spirit through Jesus.