I'm in need of some hope and lookin' for freedom

I recently looked at a long list of search terms that lead people to my listing on google. Want to know the most searched terms? Freedom and Hope. This world is a difficult place and I’m thinking I’m not the only one that thinks so!

So if you’re searching for some hope today, here’s what I know to be true about freedom:

It’s attainable

This quote I found sums it up beautifully:

 “Maybe you’ve had a bad day that didn’t go like you planned. Maybe you have an unfulfilled desire that makes your heart ache. Maybe you feel inadequate when you look in the mirror each day. Or maybe you have a past that seems unforgettable and a future that looks impossible. Or maybe you feel as if you will never be free as if the chains that grip your soul and squeeze the life out of you will never be broken. I’m not sure where this day finds your heart. I’m not sure what your past or present hold. And I’m not sure what scars you bear. But one thing I know, of this one thing I am sure of beyond a shadow of a doubt: the love of the Lord is unfailing. I don’t want that word to seem small. I want it to carry weight. Because His love is better and stronger and truer than anything in this world. It is unbreakable, unchanging, and relentless. It pulls you up out of the muck and mire and scrubs you clean. It breaks chains in half that once had a death grip on you. It fills the emptiness in your heart with hope and peace that makes no sense. 

Though the circumstances of your life may seem insurmountable at times, His unfailing love remains. It is the rule by which the believer lives. Just like the sun rises and sets each day, so does God’s love faithfully remain. Maybe this evening you needed a reminder that the love of God was displayed on a cross. And the cross, my friend, can break chains and wrap you up in hope.”

One thing that I am 100% sure of is that God is in the business of healing. No matter what your story is, freedom IS possible. There will ups and downs in your healing story but God has the power to truly set you free.

It is equal parts letting go and taking up

We are all born with God-given needs. The need to experience belonging, worth, contentment, safety, etc. Human beings are incapable of going without getting these needs met. As children, our parents are one of the biggest influences in helping us get our needs met in a healthy way. It’s the way God designed it - for children to depend on their parents in this area. 

So when we grow up, especially in any sort of unhealthy or dysfunctional home, we learn certain behaviors to get our needs met since they aren’t being met in an otherwise healthy manner.

As children, this is essentially how we learn to survive. These dysfunctional behaviors are actually healthy as children because it’s your only means of survival. It becomes unhealthy, however, once we reach adulthood and no longer needs those specific behaviors to survive. We no longer need our parents to meet those needs.

With this in mind, part of the healing process is letting go of the dysfunctional behavior that’s no longer useful. It’s as if you’re taking off the old armor you once used to protect yourself and replacing it with a beautiful and elegant wedding dress - because that's what you wear when you realize you’re God's beloved.

Freedom is also about taking on the new - new life, new identity, new perspective. Ultimately, it’s about learning a new way of living and taking hold of what God’s word says about you and the truth about His character. 

It can come at a cost

Maybe that’ll look like setting boundaries in relationships you’ve never set before, letting go of unhealthy friendships, learning to share your voice for the first time, or you quit playing the victim to get your needs met. Whatever the case may be, essentially you’re giving up the only way of functioning in this world that you’ve ever known. 

I can promise you that once you’re on the other side of freedom you’ll wonder why you didn’t sprint there, to begin with. But in the meantime, it can feel like you’re giving up everything you’ve ever known.

It can feel really, freaking weird

Think of it this way - you’ve carried around a backpack for your whole life. You’ve assumed the backpack was just a part of who you are, not realizing it was something you picked up along the way. Most likely, you actually picked it up as a young child and didn’t even know it! As an adult, you now realize how heavy the backpack is and that it isn’t actually a part of who you are. You slowly start to unpack the backpack but don’t know what it’s like to completely take it off. When you take it off, your back feels exposed and vulnerable! You want to pick it right back up and wear it again - because that’s what’s familiar. 

The more you go on without the backpack, the more you realize how heavy the weight of it was. It just takes a little bit of time to get to know yourself in this new way. Once you do, you’ll never understand how you lived so many years in shackles. 

Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place, there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.
— Wendell Berry