Freedom

Have you ever felt like you are in a prison of emotion? Has someone or something imprisoned you to the point that you could hardly breathe? Is there any way to get free???

A few months back at a men’s meeting at our church, one of my pastors spoke on obstacles to freedom. That pastor’s name is Drew King and he oversees a ministry at our church called Breakthrough. It is a powerful ministry to help people overcome and work through any parts of their life where they do not feel free from (ie addiction, stress, abuse, loss, etc…). It is a ministry that has brought so many people comfort, peace, and the knowledge of God’s plan to handle the most difficult times in their lives. Thanks, Pastor Drew for the inspiration for this post as I try and relate it to freedom and divorce.

There are 4 main obstacles to freedom:

Pride, Unbelief, Willful Disobedience, and Prayerlessness. Let’s take them one at a time.

PRIDE

So many times, people think more of themselves than they should. Gifts, talents, blessings, and relationships end up being all about them and what they did or have. Nobody raise their hand, but if we are honest, we all are too prideful at times.

SO, let me get this straight….you showed up just like every other human offspring, naked and crying with only the body, spirit, and soul given to you by your creator. So you started out with absolutely nothing except that with what you were blessed with from God.

When did you finally realize that it was only because of you that your bank account looks like it does, you married that trophy wife, or have bumper sticker worthy kids?

It is ok to be proud of accomplishments. Having a kid on American Idol or in Harvard is awesome. Being able to have all the toys like a CEO is a lot of fun, but be real about it.

God has given you the ability, brains, desire, dreams, talents, drive, and everything you need to be all He created you to be. Realize that it is actually because of His ultimate gift of life that has allowed you to be that doctor, mom, or business owner. Remember, you laid on your back kicking and screaming, soiling Pampers, and being helpless just like everyone else.

Proverbs 16:18 (NASB)  “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.”

James 4:6 (NASB) ” …God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Most people reading this blog have experienced the destruction of their marriage. If that is you, take a minute and consider the possibility that your pride has been a part of the problem.

UNBELIEF

It is very easy to slip into unbelief. Circumstances and situations that happen to us cause us to reevaluate our belief systems.

When life turns ugly or bad things happen, we try to come up with reasons why. Pain and struggle must have a cause and it does, Disappointment must have a starting point, and again I say, yes. Those reasons and causes are worth discovering so that you will gain knowledge and can heal, but that should not be an excuse to discard our beliefs, unless they are wrong beliefs!!

It is in these times that serious reflection on the things we believe in is healthy. It allows us to see where we have drifted away from what is good and drifted towards those things that have aided in the destruction of what we are dealing with now.

What are your beliefs or belief system founded upon? Whether you learned it as a child from your parents or had an experience that established them, are the beliefs the problem? Is what you are believing in the issue? Is the real problem that you walked away from those beliefs and chose to move down a path that brought forth the hurt and pain you are experiencing now?

For you to move forward through your healing process, you need stability and a CORRECT belief system. Holding firm in it will be a pillar to your future.

John 3:16 (NASB) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

1 John 5:4-5 (The Message) “Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.”

When your belief system is one that gives life and purpose to you, you can trust in that firm foundation. It will give you the answers to the questions you need to move on.

 WILLFUL DISOBEDIENCE

Man, this one is going to sting!!!

(Do I really need to address this?!?)

This is the obvious one, right? I screwed up….yeah, whatever….I prayed and asked for forgiveness, so we can move on…..or can we?

It is hard for me to make you feel any better when I point out the obvious. So I won’t. You know what you have done or continue to do that is not right. That is not my job here.

People feel that they can continue doing the wrong things and get the right results.

Ignorance is not disobedience.

If you are unaware of the destruction brought on by doing the wrong things, you WILL learn because of ignorance. When you are aware of consequences for doing the wrong things, AND CONTINUE TO DO SO, you are living a life of willful disobedience.

You can never be free until you come to grips with what you are doing wrong. I could list 100 things, and I am sure we have all done a lot of them. I will be the first to tell you I did so many things wrong, and none of them had to do with adultery or another woman. I refused to communicate. I let things happen instead of dealing with the situation and bring resolution. I never challenged actions that were unhealthy. I was ignorant.

When I realized the consequences of my actions, I had a choice to continue down that road (now disobedience) or be willing to surrender and change so that I could heal and move on.

Proverbs 9:6 (NASB) “Forsake your folly and live, and proceed in the way of understanding.”

Proverbs 2:10-11 (NASB) “For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you.”

When you refuse disobedience and decide to walk in the freedom you deserve, the consequences are peace and understanding.

PRAYERLESSNESS

Really, prayerlessness is nothing more than lack of fellowship. It is just a refusal to allow a relationship with God to have life through choking off communication.

Does God really need you to pray? Doesn’t He already know what you need, how you feel, and what you are going to pray when you get around to it?

Of course He does? So why bother?

Fellowship……He wants you…..time with you…..

As a parent, do you long for that time with your children? Does your heart leap for joy when little Johnny runs up to you and throws his arms around your neck just to be near you?

It is through prayer that we learn to get our eyes off of ourselves and our issues and towards God and his desires for you. When we humble ourselves and just come close to God, it changes everything!!!

Phillippians 4:6 (NASB) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB) “pray without ceasing;”

In the simple act of saying a prayer, you are acknowledging God, humbling yourself, and allowing the One who created you to be in fellowship with you.

 

Stay tuned, and pass this along to someone who needs to get out of their prison “shell”.

 

Thankfulness

I know it hurts….I know some days, all you want to do is take a breath….some days you might want to not even do that….

A year ago, a friend of mine lost his battle with cancer. He left a wife with 6 children, from college age to a 1-year-old. How can life be so cruel? How can the pain go beyond what you can handle?

This week, my wife had a friend at work who lost her husband to cancer. She has another that is ready to as well. Why? Does any explanation even matter, since it rarely brings any kind of peace or understanding?

I continue to have friends give up on their marriages and feel that the grass on the other side is better or having to deal with a spouse that did….some days I wonder why I even speak my mind.

When we get to points in our lives and are hanging on by hangnails because our fingernails have all but worn out, what next?

THANKFULNESS

No amount of advice or counseling can do what thankfulness does.

When you can give thanks in the midst of your trials and your pain, you are choosing to put your pain aside to recognize what you have, not what you have lost.

It may sound too simple, but let me reassure you it is not easy. If you are thinking that you can heal from any kind of pain without being thankful, especially the loss of a loved one or a marriage, than you are mistaken.

Take a few minutes right now and grab a notepad or your journal. I would like you to do something for yourself.

Make a list of all the things you can think of that you have that you are thankful for still having. Do you have children, even though you may now be a single parent? Do you have a job, even though you will need to move to a cheaper home or apartment? Do you still have those friends that are standing with you through thick and thin, even though your best friend(s) may have left you?

If you cannot come up with at least 10 things you can put on your list, let me give you 10. Maybe you will just need help to start, but take this seriously. You can come up with a lot of things you can be thankful for including;

Life, breath, peace, family, friends, parents, children, health, job, wisdom, insight, relationships, church family, hobbies, nature, etc…

If you have not done your list of at least 10, stop and go back and do it. You will need it to move on to the next point I want to make. Please, it is vital to your healing……

Next, I want you to find a place where you can be alone and quiet for a few minutes. Read your list OUT LOUD.(Very important). Read them out loud in this manner, “I am thankful for _________________.” Stop and really think about that person/thing that you have written down. Why are you thankful for them? Why did you write those down?

Now take your list and make at least 2 other copies of it. Condense them if you need onto a smaller 5×7 card, notepad sheet, etc… Why 2 more copies? Just trust me..

Are you done with the last point? If you are ready, then I am going to ask you to make a choice to do one of 2 things. Every choice we make has consequences, so decide wisely.

Take your lists and hold them in your hand. Now, decide to be thankful for everything you wrote on those lists, DAILY!!! How you are going to do this is to place these three lists in three different locations. I would place one with your bible, place one on your bathroom mirror, and place the other one at your job where you will see it every day. Will you do that?

By seeing what you are thankful for each and every day you will have something to hold onto, something to show you that will forever change without you!!!

Take a few minutes whenever you see these lists to stop and just thank God for the people and things on your lists. He already knows them, but wants you to realize how important they are and that they are actually blessings from Him to you.

Do you know why they are blessings? Because He thought enough to give them to you and entrust them to you. They are important to you, but they are even more important to Him. They are what connects you to Him in this time of heartache and pain.

So what is the other choice? Simple. With those lists in your hand, get up and go over to the trashcan and throw them away. Simple, right?

Be thankful for what you have. Someone is thankful they have you, especially God.

 

Just do it

So, you asked for advice on how to get through your divorce. You asked your friend how they got over that cheating SOB. Your buddy is just telling you to suck it up and get back in the saddle again….(smacking my forehead)

Part of me wants to just tell you the same advice. In some ways I want to say the same things, but is that really going to help? It depends.

Is that what you need to hear? Probably not. It really depends on where you are at in your healing process.

**DISCLAIMER** (The statements at the beginning of this blog post are pathetic, just FYI !!)

So many times we ask for advice when all we really want to do is have someone listen to us. We really just want to dump on our spouse/ex-spouse or to have a pity party. Sometimes we just want to hear ourselves talk. In some ways, that is perfectly fine. Just make sure you understand that the person hearing all of this is not to be held responsible for your shortcomings.

Be real about why you want them there.

If you need a listening ear, that is ok. Don’t expect them to give you earth-shattering wisdom. If you desire honest, live-giving advice then make sure they know they are not just there to wipe the tears away.

Know what you need. If you don’t know what you need, tell them that too. Just be honest. They can’t fill a bucket if they don’t bring any water.

Let me also get this off of my chest…..

If you ask for advice and you ask it from someone you can trust will give you life-giving (not unselfish and revengeful) advice, JUST DO IT!!!

So much of your pain and lack of healing comes because you ask for advice and then never follow through with it. Part of me wants to ask, “Why the @#$ did you bother asking me in the first place?”

Here is a person that is giving you advice in love and wanting to help you. C’mon, man!!

Step up to the plate and just do it!!

You might be thinking, “That’s a little rough..” or “How can you say that?..”,  And to that I would replay, “BECAUSE YOU ASKED FOR IT!!”

I know that the healing process takes time. I know that in a lot of ways, we revert back to being child-like. For a lot of people it was the time in our lives that we felt safe, before the doo doo hit the blades. I understand.

But eventually you learned to trust. You took those steps forward. You realized that without a little struggle and change, you were not going to experience anything.

Life sucks at times. I can guarantee you, everyone has struggle and pain. I know that everyone has their ups and downs.

Out of 7+ billion people on this great spinning ball, I am sure you are not the only person going through what you are going through. Maybe, just maybe, someone is watching how you are handling your situation and can use your wisdom when you are finally able to give it.

So, in the whole scheme of it all, you need to move on so you can help someone else move on as well.

Realize how important it is that you need to ‘grow up’ and just do it…do what you need to move forward and heal.

It is not easy. I know. Just take it a day at a time, but do it.

Don’t be that person who keeps walking around the same mountain of discouragement, disappointment, and frustration.

You can do it!!!! I know you can!!!

 

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