Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Joy in freedom

I'm excited to introduce you to another blogging friend of mine. It's people like Tiffany Parry who make me love the internet. Her words encourage well and point to truth. Her post today is more of that, just as we're settling into summer, officially this week! 

Tiffany and I dream of sharing stories around a real-life table, but until then I'm grateful to call her my friend across the miles. Please welcome her to my blog for #ThreeWordWednesday. 

I’m a rule-follower, the quintessential say-what-I-do, do-what-I-say girl. I thrive on order, tidy boundaries, and well-laid plans.

In the practicalities of day to day life, my Type-A personality and patterns suit me just fine. The problem with all my orderly rules is that we live in an unorderly world. “Things” don’t always go my way – our way.

Organization is one thing, but under the influence of pressure, the craving for order turns into a pension for control. And of this I am absolutely certain: we don’t own control.

God doesn’t want us to grip life with both hands, but instead surrender it into His.

“In His hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of all mankind.”

Christ gave His life and breath to purchase exclusive rights to ours. In exchange for our faith, our smallest seeds of belief, Jesus offers us rich freedom and fullness of joy. It hardly seems a fair exchange, does it? But it’s what makes our freedom such a sweet gift.

Freedom and joy go hand in hand. {Tweet that.}

Joy is a byproduct of a heart at peace with God’s plan. Even if our circumstances aren’t precisely peaceful, we can know the joy that Christ affords us through a life lived with open hands willing to receive His plans over our own.

Can I tell you a secret? This isn’t easy for me.

Can I tell you another secret? God’s plans for us are always good.

Maybe both are entirely obvious to you. But, after living nearly half my life as a Christian, I’m still learning not to allow my control freakiness to wrestle away my freedom and steal my joy. My heart longs to know peace and my hands crave that open position, but I often watch my joy plummet as I fall prey to my flesh. If you can relate, I have good news:

Our level of joy isn’t an indication of God’s goodness – He is always good. {Tweet that.}

If that isn’t enough (PS. He is always enough), I have more good news: Summer is the ideal season to perfect your joy and reclaim your freedom.

Days are longer, weather is warmer, and sweet tea abounds. There are sandy beaches and grassy fields longing for your footsteps, books waiting to be cracked open, and beautiful sunsets hand painted by a God who delights in you experiencing the abundance of life.

Here are a few ways to choose joy in freedom this summer ... and every day after:

1. Give up ought-to.

Control can wrangle freedom with our self-imposed “ought-to” and “must-do” rules. Instead let’s live intentionally. Rather than make choices based on people-pleasing, perfection, approval, or random bouts of guilt, choose what pleases God. Pursue what is honorable in His sight and that which evokes fullness of joy and freedom in your heart.

2. Answer wisely.

This is tied closely to #1, but takes it one step further. We have permission to say “no.” Just because we are able to do something, doesn’t mean we should or have to. Over commitment is a form of control that robs us of free time and energy. Without those precious resources, our joy will quickly dwindle.

3. Insert grace.

If you’re anything like me, you’re bound to wrestle for control once more. Grace means your freedom does not run dry and second chances will come at the break of day. Open those hands and receive grace, then freely give it to those around you. Joy is catching, didn’t you know?

4. Savor.

This is the fruit of #1 thru #3. You’ve created the foundation for freedom, now enjoy it. This broad space is truly a gift. Have fun, bust through those tidy boundaries, set you margins on wide and savor the goodness of God. His wonder is all around you – watch for it and let freedom ring.

Friends, here’s to a joyful summer filled with the sweetness of freedom!

Tiffany is a wife and mom who dwells in the sunshine (and smog) of Southern California. She’s a lover of words who purposes to use hers to speak God’s truth with grace and authenticity. More than that, she longs to provide a safe place for others to do the same. You are invited to join her word-by-word journey through the mountains and valleys of faith at her blog, Simply for One, or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

I've been opening my blog doors to some friends this month :: Susan Shipe shared about summertime fun and Melody Hester offered advice for navigating new seasons. You can also download The Summer Not-To-Do List I made for you, if you haven't already. 

Subscribe to get new posts and/or a monthly newsletter with content not available on the blog in your inbox. When you subscribe, I'll send you a FREE #choosingJOY printable.

No comments:

Post a Comment