Freedom

The last time I blogged was June 24, 2016.  I haven’t written on Wandering Purposefully for an entire year.  Had someone told me a couple of years ago that that would be the case, I would have laughed at the person; written word has always been a huge, irrevocable part of my identity.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure why I didn’t write for a year, but I have a few ideas.  The past months have been a time of transition in many ways.  2016 and 2017 have been hard years, both societally and personally. There were times in which I truly had nothing to say. I think the large, macrocosm difficulties require little to no explanation (we’ve all seen the news).  As for my little world, most of the hardships revolve around what a lot of my struggles do: unrealistic explanations I put on myself.

My default mode is productivity.  I often take on way more than any one person should, and I rarely allow myself down time.  When I’m at home, I tend to find something to clean or start a random project instead of watching a movie, browsing Pinterest, or reading a book outside of whatever I am teaching at school.  I never really feel like my work is done.  I subconsciously demand perfection of myself, which will always be an unfulfilling mindset.

This past year, I have also stopped doing quiet time with God as much as I used to.  It seems as though He is precisely the part of my day that gets put on the backburner, even though He deserves my full attention and has the power to help me fight through my battles, large or small.  I am on the launch team for a new devotional and a new prayer journal that one of my favorite Christian writers recently published, and one of the sneak-peak devotionals touched my heart and shook me.  It compared reading the Bible to eating chocolate—rich and satisfying.  I could not help but reminisce and feel nostalgic for the times that I would lose myself in all of the “chocolate” of God’s word.  Until I read this devotional, I hadn’t realized just how much I missed spending time with Him.

This morning, I decided to do something about it.  I had to be up early anyway, so I set my alarm for a few minutes earlier than necessary.  Instead of lying restlessly in bed until the last possible minute, I got up, brewed myself a latte, and sat down with an amazing devotional I have been neglecting.  After I completed today’s session, I read through my notes from previous entries, and I could not help but notice I trend… the word “exhausted” popped up on almost every page.

I haven’t heard of many people setting mid-year resolutions, but they almost make more sense for teachers—our summers are the time of the year when we get to reflect and reset.  So, I decided to set a mid-year resolution.  It’s simple and seemingly impossible at the same time… trust God more.

Trust Him that my best is good enough and whatever doesn’t get checked off my “to do” list will get done in due time.

Trust Him to help me prioritize my time effectively, including making time for self-care and the things I am passionate about (like writing).

Trust Him to help me find adventure and whimsy in my life.  A rich, fruitful life that I savor like my coffee in the morning is what my heart desires most.  On our recent vacation in Iceland, it’s like my soul remembered what whimsy felt like.  Even though each day will not bring trips across the ocean, it can bring small tidbits of adventure if we are willing to pause long enough to look for them.  I’m asking God to help me pause.

Trust Him to help me remember that relationships are far more important than productivity.  Doing so will help me be more present.  I don’t only want whimsy, but I want to be able to share it with the people I love the most.

Today is the 4th of July, so “freedom” is the word that comes to mind.  “Grateful” cannot possibly describe how I feel about living in a free country.  As I’ve gotten older and mature enough to acknowledge some of the tragedies that happen in the world every day, I grow more and more thankful for the sacrifices that have been made to ensure our freedom in the U.S.  This country is far from perfect, but despite all of the facets of it I would like to change and improve, I know that we are more fortunate that several other parts of the world.

However, the freedom I am declaring the most this morning cannot come from a government, nor can it come from any earthly thing. Everlasting freedom comes through Christ and knowing that nothing we can or will do will make Him love us more or less.  There is nowhere we can go that He will not protect us, and we cannot screw up so much that He cannot redeem our mistakes.  That’s powerful, and there is more freedom in those truths than in anything else.

Happy 4th of July.  My prayer is that you bask in perfect freedom today and every day and give yourself grace when you get a little too caught up in the hullabaloo that is life.

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