I've been really asking The Lord to show me what makes life FREE. Ephesians 1 says that we're not just barely free - we're ABUNDANTLY free. Abundantly, friends. How often do you feel abundantly free?!
Life is hard and circumstances are chaotic. I often tell myself that I don't FEEL free because of the turmoil in my life, or in my heart. I long for the feeling of living free and I fully believe that Paul's message wasn't a pipe dream. That man was stoned, beaten, shipwrecked and imprisoned. If he believed in an abundantly free life then I do too. But how do I get there? What stands in my way?
You have to know that God is faithful to answer our cries for understanding. He plants seeds of truth in our way and after we've traveled for a while, we look back and see that fields of truth and gentleness have sprouted up behind us. God is a gentle revealer. He is so tenderly firm with my heart - I'm so thankful for that.
That being said, He's been sowing a field of truth in my life for over two years. Truth is hard to hear. Sometimes offense rises like a weed and threatens to choke out the vibrant life that sprouts from truth. It's our job to choose - we choose truth or avoidance. We choose abundance or scarcity. We choose life or listless existence.
You know what has stood in the way of living abundantly free for me? My attention to what is life-giving has been divided. I have left a wide girth for gossip and judgement and loss. I have let my own perspective rob me of relationship and integrity and abundance. I have participated in drawing lines in the sand that were never mine to draw. I have listened to other people's opinions instead of God's. In a lot of ways, I have served man over God.
And that gets in the way of abundance. I'm not living the free-est, most spacious life, not because it's not available to me, but because I'm flinging open the door to the kind of behaviour that plants itself like a mountain in my path.
You know what finally sparked me, after years of searching for the why?
I finally decided to love someone well instead of needing them to see how they had hurt me. I stopped talking about it. I stopped the flow of unforgiveness and really, truly just LOVED them. It was like a dam broke in my heart. In one great big rush I saw my own contribution to the ache, my own responsibility for the years of walls and wounding. My perspective shifted and I felt abundantly free for the first time in a very, very long time.
A few weeks later I listened to a talk from Jessi of Naptime Diaries on speaking life. Friends, it was like cool water on my fiery heart. All of the weeds withered up and it actually felt GOOD to acknowledge that I don't want to be the kind of person who doesn't give and speak life all the time.
All the time.
Doesn't that seem both impossible and breathtakingly beautiful?
I've been challenging myself to give life and it is not uncommon for me to have to go humble myself to someone after reverting to my old way. But I'm determined now. My heart and my mind are set.
This is the way to abundance. Stop offering anything other than LIFE. Stop speaking words that don't produce life. Stop participating in situations or conversations that don't lead to reconciliation and abundant freedom.
Here's my invitation. If your heart is heaving in anticipation and grief over how often you have participated in a way of life that doesn't produce life in yourself or in others, join me. Intentionally commit yourself to only give life. Know that you're going to mess it up. Know that it's going to be hard and disorienting.
But know that giving life is the way to abundant freedom.