Some of you read the title of this blog post and audibly *gasped.*
Let me tell you a little bit about my first experience and you may understand where I’m going with this…
When I was in 7th grade, I lived in this teeny tiny town out in Colorado. It was a beautiful place filled with incredible views of mountain ranges all around us! However, it was lacking one thing…
If you know me well, you know I’m a gal who appreciates a little retail therapy here and there.
And if you were my roommate in college, you would remember me saying how much money I didn’t have, then proceed to come home with hands full of Target and Old Navy bags exclaiming about the great deals I got that day… Right, Jenna, Michelle, and Callie?
Going back to the situation of living in a town with bad shopping… My mom and I decided one day that we were going to order some stuff online from Forever 21.
I had been to the store a few times when I was in Iowa visiting my family, and I absolutely loved their stuff. So this was a fool-proof plan!…
Or so I thought.
I carefully picked out the items on the website, checked out, probably paid an astronomical amount for shipping, and anxiously awaited for my items to arrive.
When the day finally came I opened up the box to find that
I was beyond frustrated. I had planned for all these items to look perfect when I had ordered them online! I knew when I was going to wear this shirt where, I knew that dress was going to be perfect for that event coming up, but nothing turned out the way I thought.
The plan I had shattered into a million pieces and I thought to myself, “What am I going to do now?”
And isn’t that how our lives end up sometimes?
We dreamed up this perfect plan, right? And it looked so good and we thought we did everything to ensure nothing will go wrong…
Then it blows up in our face, and we never want to try it again.
The idea of “putting yourself out there” is a scary one, isn’t it?! It’s because we’re afraid of failure, and if you’re me, you’re even more scared of the unknown.
But you might say, “No, Emma, that’s not it. I just don’t have the time to do ______.” Or, “I could put myself out there to do ______, but I’m content where I’m at.”
But if we dig deep down… I think it really does come down to the fact that sometimes no matter how hard we try, sometimes things don’t work out, and we’re too afraid to try again.
I can’t even begin to count how many things in my life I thought were going to be the best of all time, when really it was a huge flop and honestly left me a little heartbroken (or a lot heartbroken for that matter).
Maybe it’s the grades you’re getting at school… You signed up for all those AP classes thinking you’d do great, when really you’re barely passing.
Maybe it’s a group of friends… You thought if you could just get into that crowd, it would be the best. And now you find yourself more lonely than before.
Or it’s the person you’re dating. Things were going perfect for awhile, and all of a sudden you get a text, or a phone call, or they show up and tell you that it’s over.
It’s your family, you thought if you just did this or that everything would be okay. Your family would stick together, your kids would be okay, etc.
I don’t know what it is for you…
But what I do know is that God did not, and does not, intend for us to live this way.
I remember there was a time in my life where I felt a lot of shame.
This is the other side of the coin… Maybe you’ve fallen into a pattern of sin and you are too afraid to go back to God because you feel like you’ve fallen too far to be saved again.
This shame had a grip on me like nothing else I had ever experienced.
A mantra I would tell myself over and over again is that, “I know God has forgiven me, but I can’t forgive myself.”
Maybe you feel that today.
I’m here to share with you a couple truths, and I hope you know that this is something I can 100% understand. I walked through this, heck, I think I’m still walking through it.
First, is that God does not intend for us to live a life of timidity.
2 Timothy 1:7 says this, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
We aren’t called to be timid… We aren’t called to live in fear. His Spirit lives in us! That is something to rejoice about. That is something to live out and live in freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
I know it seems like the things we have done, the shame we have held onto (or has held onto us) can sometimes inhibit us from living in freedom. But there truly is freedom in the Cross.
As I’m typing this up in Caribou Coffee, my Spotify shuffled to “Let Go” by Hillsong Young and Free. It’s quite fitting for this topic.
The lyrics go like this,
“So I let go and I let love
Show me life like it’s supposed to be
An oasis here awaits us
All the freedom I’ll ever need
Now I’m alive.”
I’m praying these words over you today. I pray you take advantage of the freedom the Spirit gives us today and every day.