Sara and I are reading through my new devotional each day. Yes, it is a bit weird reading my own book and even stranger to be touched by it and freshly encouraged to draw into that space that makes my life more fruitful.
This one especially touched my heart the other day.
April 15 – The First Moment of Freedom
Some have labored for months or years under the oppressive burden of trying to earn God’s approval, trying to please abusive leadership or failing the expectations others have held for them.
The moment God’s love works its way past all those things and captures them in his sheer delight is a moment that knows no equal in creation.
Once people discover just how much he loves them, and that love is motive enough to allow God to do everything in their life that he wants to accomplish, you can see the weight lift from their shoulders. You can see in their eyes the renewed hope of enjoying again their relationship with Father.
Sometimes it is an immediate realization, at others a slow awakening until that wonderful moment when the penny drops.
Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you.
Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives…
2 Corinthians 3:1–3 (MSG)
I’ve tasted of this many times in my own journey when some new glimpse of him opens a wider door in my heart. I’ve also been graced to be with quite a few people at the very moment some broken place in their life or thinking gives way to the recognition that they are loved no matter what. It’s a moment! I love being in those moments with people, but I am also increasingly aware that I cannot orchestrate them in my time frame, and neither can they.
This is the work of his Spirit, who is constantly arranging things in our heart to give us such a moment. It’s so easy to unwittingly resist that work as we drill down in our guilt or press ourselves to try harder or do more. All we can do is tell him that we desire that revelation in ourselves or in someone we’re with and leave our hearts as open as possible so we can see what the Spirit is doing to bring God alive in us.
If you’re struggling in one of those seasons where his love seems distant, I am praying for you even as I’m writing this. God wants you to have such freedom even more than you want it for yourself. I know it doesn’t feel like that sometimes, but it is still true. Ask him to help you relax into that reality and let his Spirit sort it out in you.
The excerpt is taken from Live Loved Free Full, my new devotional that gives you a thought every day to help invite your heart and mind into more relational space where you can see better how he is at work in you. You can order your copy here, or view a video about it here.
3 thoughts on “The First Moment of Freedom”
I have a very hard time believing, really believing, and resting in the fact that God loves me unconditionally and that I am accepted as His child. I have felt a sense that in order to “please” God I have to be perfect and never ever, ever make a mistake or sin. Logically I know that is not true, but internally it has been a constant battle for most of my 51 years on this planet. I always feel guilty, ashamed, out of place and condemned; I feel often that I’m a mistake and that I’m always on the outside looking in at all the people who God loves and accepts, but I’m outside in the cold alone. I do not know what to do. I feel I’m at the end of my rope with no hope. Maybe I’m the only one God doesn’t love. Maybe I’ve sinned too much and made too many mistakes for God to accept me as His child. Maybe I do not want God to be my Father. Which direction do I go from here? Do I just give up and die and let God send me to hell? Maybe I really do not want a true/genuine/loving relationship with God. I’m just not sure what to do, who to trust or who to talk to about my real struggles with God.
Denise, you have no idea how many times I get this email or comment from people. My heart goes out to you. You are being tricked into what is not true, and being far less loving toward yourself than your Father is toward you. I have no idea why you feel such guilt and shame or feel as if you’ve made too many mistakes to be loved. If you have children, is there any mistake they can make that would stop you from loving them? And if we wouldn’t, how much greater is God’s love? Since I don’t know you I have no idea what the disconnect can be here. Sometimes it’s just the lies of darkness, others the disappointed expectations we have of how God might show up or what he should do to make me feel loved. His love is a reality you relax into. Spend time learning about that love and asking him to reveal himself to you. Then, watch. Don’t assume you know what that will look like. Trust that he is rearranging things in your thinking that will allow you to grasp the love he is already sharing with you. If you have a friend nearby who knows God like you want to, ask them to walk with you a bit and help you process your pain in light of his love. Don’t give up. This love is for everyone. You’re not being left out by God, you’re simply feeling left out and he wants to help with that too.
I am one of these people…that struggle to believe that God loves me unconditionally. Your writings, by God´s grace have helped me tremendously and also things like the following as well (that I copied and pasted below this paragraph). I am sending the following in hopes that it can help Denise David (from the above post,) and the many others like him and me that you mentioned so as to have as much help as possible to work through this very painful and overwhelmingly problem and difficulty to live believing in His Love for us…. which I know makes all the difference…. but yet find myself on a painful rollercoaster of doubt and belief.
Again, I believe so much of what you write is the main key to this belief and also things like the following to address some inhibitors
Restoring Your Brokenness
Joining Faith + Mental Health
JULY 14 |5 p.m. PST
In this two-hour workshop, Dr. Henry Cloud will explain the restorative connection between our spiritual life and our mental health. You’ll learn that there is no such thing as either an emotional problem or a spiritual problem because we all have broken relationships with God, others, and ourselves. Dr. Cloud is a Clinical Psychologist and New York Times best-selling author. His 45 books, including the iconic Boundaries, Changes That Heal, and How People Grow, have sold over 20 million copies worldwide. Throughout his storied career as a clinician, he created breakthrough new models rooted in research and has been a leading voice on issues of mental health on a global scale.
Contact E-mail – email@example.com
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