A couple of weeks ago was the 4th of July, the day we celebrate freedom in America. America was built on a series of freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom to worship as we choose, freedom to live a life we want and to get to work and school. As Americans we live every minute of every day in a freedom that a lot of people in other countries don’t have. Did you know that as followers of Jesus we should have freedom too?
In fact, the Bible says:
For FREEDOM Christ has set us FREE! Galatians 5:1
Because God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross we have been made clean. We are redeemed and loved and forgiven. We are forgiven for things we have done and things we will do and we have been made clean, as white as snow!
So if the Son sets you FREE, you are FREE indeed! John 8:36
Being happy with the person that Christ made me to be is something I have struggled with for a very long time. It has caused me to not have the FREEDOM that God intends for us to have. I grew up as a tall, shy, introverted and awkward girl and I am still all of those things. I was very lucky to have an amazing family and a great circle of friends. I played sports and was on the dance team but I never felt like I measured up or quite fit in. I didn’t date a lot and always felt like I wasn’t very pretty because I didn’t get much attention. In college, I had my first long term relationship. It was not at all healthy but I stayed in it because I was afraid no one else would come along. I ended up in a couple of very unhealthy relationships in which I was made to feel unworthy and not important. I gained some weight which added to my low self-esteem. I was so full of shame because of the mess that I felt I had made with my life because of a lot of poor decisions. About the time I found myself single in my mid-twenties I also got very sick and got very skinny. I went out a lot on the weekends and found that with my super skinny body I seemed to be a little more attractive to boys and if I drank I was way less shy. This developed into a very unhealthy relationship with my body and a very destructive and messy way to relate others.
Life continued to be filled with choices that made me feel so guilty. I struggled with how I looked and wanting to be skinny. Being in control of my body seemed to make me feel better in the midst of not liking myself. I married an amazing man who loves me no matter what I look like but I have continued to struggle with who I am and what I look like. It’s so easy to look at the women around me and to find where I am lacking. Parenting has added a whole new layer in wanting to look good. I want everyone to think I am doing a good job as a parent and get extremely stressed when my children act less than perfect. Just recently I realized I have built a wall around myself because I have been so afraid of people thinking I wasn’t good enough because of things that fill me with guilt and fear. It has caused me to not be able to build relationships with others because I’m so afraid to let others in. I am so tired of it because Christ didn’t die for me to live with guilt, shame, fear and insecurity. I’ve decided to be honest about my struggles because I know I am not the only one. We are not perfect but Christ has made us perfect in His sight!
None of this is easy to admit but I want to tell you about it because what I have struggled with is LIES. We have an enemy that wants us to believe anything but the truth about who we are in Christ. I have loved Jesus for a long time yet I struggle with LIES on a daily basis. Although I have gained control over a lot of my destructive behavior, I still struggle. Due to a lot of health issues I have learned to eat to make myself feel healthy and not to just be thin. I do, though, have to keep my motives in check on a regular basis. I have learned to embrace fitness because I love it, and also because I know not only the health benefits but also the awesome lessons I learn from it. It provides a great sense of accomplishment and makes me realize that I can meet goals and do more than I thought I could. I am learning that I can’t expect perfectionism from myself as a wife and mom and I certainly can’t expect perfectionism from my kids. I am learning all of these things but the devil continues to attack ALL. THE. TIME.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
If you know something bad could happen, you have to stay alert. I have to be on guard against the enemy every second of every day. So many days the lies come at me like a machine gun, fast, furious, and non-stop. Some days I can fight them well and sometimes I fail miserably. I have some ways that I have found help fight the lies. The first way I fight the lies is by making time with Jesus my top priority of the day and the very first thing I do every single day. Spending time in God’s word is the best thing to do. God’s word is full of the promises of who He is, how much He loves me (and you!) and how He is with me always! I also read a lot of Christian non-fiction, listen to podcasts and listen to Christian radio. It is so important to continuously fill up with positive thoughts instead of negative ones! Another extremely important thing is to know the promises of God and remember them when the enemy tries to tell you something different. One of my favorite all-encompassing promises of God is that He is FAITHFUL and TRUE!!
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True. –Revelation 19:11
This verse is speaking of Jesus. He is the one who is faithful and true. This means we can trust Him in all things. He never breaks his promises. He is always there! I love this so much I may get it tattooed on my body. Seriously! I need that constant reminder! God was so faithful that he promised to send a redeemer and then sent His son to take on my sin and die for me! He is so faithful that He loves me and will sustain me and provide a hope and eternity. He will never leave me nor forsake me (Deut. 31:6). We can never get too far away from God. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). We can choose to turn back to God any minute of any day. His love for you has never ended.
I want you to know my story and my struggles because I want you to know you are not alone! Your struggles may be very different than mine but the truth is you have Savior who made you perfectly and an enemy who tries to make you forget it! We all face the lies of the enemy daily and we have to make sure that God’s voice is louder! Focus on the truth today as the enemy attacks! You are LOVED, you are redeemed, you are HIS!!!
By: Heather Wright