Summer, our season of being free, is coming to a close. Each summer we take intentional time to hang out as a family. We only have so many summers with our kids and I hope to be able to enjoy each one. This means I put a lot of things on hold and just soak up the time with my sweeties. When September comes, we pick up the pace of life.
For me this summer was about realizing our personal freedoms. In the U.S., we have the freedom to live life as we like. This got me thinking about the freedoms we have as believers. What are our freedoms? We are free to live abundantly, forgive and love. Having free will and being able to do these 3 things to the full can change your life.
Free to live.
Living life to the fullest is my jam. The fullest life means something different for everyone. As believers of Jesus, we see life a little differently. We are free to walk around seeking goodness because we should be seeking after God. If we follow his teachings and learn from His promises, we can walk about in freedom. Psalm 119: 45 says, “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”
The flip side of this is knowing we have an enemy. He wants to steal our joy and destroy us. John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” To live life more abundantly, it means choosing full over empty. Choosing to enjoy our life and the people in it means finding the fun despite any hardship. Finding new ways to enjoy all the things allows us to show others how joyful we are.
Love this prayer from MOPs this year. God, when circumstances arise that steal my hope, remind me of your goodness. Show me how to live to the full. Amen.
Free to forgive.
Forgiving others is the only way to set yourself free from others opinions. Forgiving is something I struggle with when it’s a big offense. Smaller offenses seem to role off my back, but keeping a bond of peace is difficult. Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Regardless of what you believe, we are called to forgive each other. This can be a co-worker, a family member, a neighbor or friend.
After walking through a long season of rejection, in order to move forward I had to forgive. It wasn’t hurting them, but damaging me. This doesn’t mean we stuff our emotions or be emotionally silent. Anger is a God-created emotion and needs to be expressed. So, get it out and verbally process it with God. Write it all out in a safe journal or go take 5 minutes in the bathroom to vent to God. Then you can turn around and be kind and compassionate to others. My kids will tell you that mommy needs her 5 minute time-out.
Free to love.
One of my favorite verses on love is Ephesians 4:2-3: “2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” The author of love is God. He created us and all of our emotions. He also gifted us with the ability to love others and calls us to love others well all the time. Love isn’t hard when practice forgiveness and choosing to be full over empty.