This is How It Feels To Be Free

How do you feel about your freedom this fourth of July? I am ecstatic! This past Monday I spoke at my church’s Celebrate Recovery gathering. As I shared my story and  spoke about all the things I have been set free from over the years, I felt the familiar lump in my throat and tear in my eye. I have so much to be grateful for this holiday and so do you!

It was on July 4, 1776 that our founding fathers gathered to sign the declaration of  independence to free themselves and many others from British rule. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for the price they paid to loose themselves from bondage under England and to establish this great country.

As a woman who has traveled over much of the world and seen how others live, I appreciate the freedom and privileges I enjoy here in this country. I am in awe of the fact that by the grace and mercy of God, as a single parent I have achieved the life of my dreams and both my sons are independent, self-supporting godly men. Now that is something to celebrate!

But it’s also about how I feel about being free. Freedom is about choice. Freedom of choice. I can choose how and where to worship – freedom of worship. I can choose to write these blog posts – freedom of speech. I can choose to protect myself – freedom to bear arms. I can choose what to commit to and what to run from. Freedom brings both privileges and responsibilities.

Living and feeling free requires me to take action. The founding fathers had a cause they believed in and were committed to and they took action. I must take action to free myself from emotional and spiritual bondage and to make my dreams a reality.  Living the life we dream of doesn’t happen on it’s own, right?

Do you feel free? Are you free? Are you living the life of your dreams? What or who are you committed to? What actions are you taking to see your dreams fulfilled?

Happy birthday, America and may God bless America always! Until next time, keep looking up!

Who’s in Control Here?

We all want to do our own thing, when we want, how we want and with whom we want, don’t we? We make plans and go to great extents to have everything just the way we want it.

Being a single parent, I’ve had to take control of a lot of stuff: child-rearing decisions, house decisions, health care decisions. I could go on and on, but you get the idea, right? We get used to being in control of our lives.

But then something happens that is out of our control: a child becomes addicted, a spouse cheats, an illness, tragedy or hurricane strikes. Then what?

Then it’s time for a change of perspective. It’s time to realize the truth.

Control is an illusion.

I may think I am in control of my life, but am I? Not really. What’s more, I’m not in control of anyone else’s life either. I can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do no matter how much I beg, plead, or reason. When I keep trying to control situations or others, the more frustrated I get. When I protest against decisions others make, like my boss, the government or the homeowners association, I make myself miserable. Anybody relate?

So what is the solution? The solution is to realize that God is really in control of everything, not me. When I learn to surrender, (yes, it’s a tough word to swallow, but it can be done), I am more at peace. I can trust that although the situation may look bad, God has a good outcome in store. I can relax and let go of things that are out of my control. I find that even though my plan didn’t work out, God’s plan was ultimately better in the long run.

It all comes down, once again, to faith. So the next time your plans are foiled or a situation doesn’t sit well with you, instead of getting all bent out of shape, pause and take a breath. Sit back, relax, and surrender it up to God. Trust me, He can work it out if we let Him. Like the old television show, Father really does know best!

Keep it Simple

Sometimes I think I make life too difficult for myself. After being a single parent for so many years, and being responsible for everything, I still have the occasional tendency to take on too much, do too much, and fret too much. Can you relate?

Think of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus was visiting their home and Martha was running around doing all kinds of hospitality things and complaining that Mary wasn’t helping. Boy, have I been there. Mary, on the other hand, was enjoying the company of their esteemed guest. Instead of “doing”, Mary was “being”.

This past fall, I was dealing with a health issue and didn’t have much energy to do much of anything. Then one day I heard His voice. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10) I realized it really doesn’t matter to God how much I “do” anymore. I can only “do” by His grace anyway. “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

Living a life that pleases God is simple. It boils down to two words which I am sure we have all heard before: “Trust and obey.” That’s it. Trust God and do what he says to do. Now that doesn’t mean forsaking all my responsibilities, but when I feel anxious, overwhelmed, or overtired, I know I am doing too much.

How about you? What signs show up in your life that remind you to “be” instead of “do”? What are a few ways you can simplify your life? Write and let me know and until next time, keep looking up!