I’m not sure what to make of the fact that I am starting a trend of blog topics that appear to come with a built-in soundtrack. I am thankful that although my middle daughter is obsessed with Frozen, we have not purchased “Let it Go” or the entire soundtrack for that matter. From listening to other parents around the country, I think I may be a “chosen one” who does not know every word of that song from their daughter singing it on their own personal repeat loop. Thank you, Jesus. Seriously, that is not blasphemy, I am very thankful.
Now, what I really have on my heart tonight is letting go of our hurts. Really, it seems there are two things we like to shackle to our ankles and drag through our lives, past sins and past hurts. I understand them both. Actually, I wish I didn’t understand them as well as I do. But friend, I am feeling closer to the other side of healing where freedom seems like a regular sensation than a fleeting thought or hope. Can I just say that the whole “you should blog with numbered lists to be successful” thing is not gonna work here? There isn’t really a top 3, 5, or 10 things you should DO to let go of past hurts and sins. Perhaps it is the doing that keeps us trapped in the first place. Or, perhaps it is our reliance on SELF to discover what to DO that keeps us carrying things around our necks, ankles, shoulders, hearts, minds, and souls.
At IF:Gathering in February, I hosted a group in my home even though I had no clue what the format or even the content would actually be. It was all simply brilliant on more levels than this space can describe, but Christine Caine spoke firmly into my heart about this inability we, especially women, have of truly letting go. In her talk she describes the normally 11 day journey to Canaan from Egypt that took 40 years for the Israelites because of their fears, doubts, murmuring and complaining. The Israelites had been delivered from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, but they were not free. She poignantly painted a picture of how they wandered, as the chosen people, in the wilderness for forty years, delivered, but not free…
Are you living as if you’ve been delivered or set free?
Are you wandering in the wilderness rather than thriving in the promised land?
Well, I’m pretty sure I was wandering at the time of the IF:Local group I was hosting in my own home. I loved how she reminded me that we can be saved (delivered from sin and death), but not set free. We can lose our lives, even as Christians, on this earth to the rituals of religion and burdens of our past. That is not what I want, and I’m guessing it’s not what most of us want. I am so humbled and thankful for an eternity sealed with Jesus’ death and resurrection, but man what could I be missing out there on this earth in the mean time if I’m simply living delivered? He doesn’t save us just to survive this world. He saves us to thrive and in turn save. To be the gospel. To be hope and love to people who do not see hope and love in this ridiculous, seemingly dark, troubled world we exist within.
Tonight I had the opportunity to reflect on why we continue to carry our burdens, why we choose to live in the wilderness despite the promises of God. I think that part of my own journey through deliverance and freedom came in two parts (okay, maybe there are some numbered lists hidden in here). First, we are to ask Jesus to take away our burden. Ask Him for forgiveness when we sin. Pray phrases like, “Lord, take this weight, burden from me. Take these feelings of unworthiness, or loneliness, never being good enough, you fill in the blank here…take them and carry them for me because I simply cannot. Their weight is destroying me and weighing me down from running free into the promised land for your name and glory.” This first step comes from taking the yoke of Jesus alongside Him as he bears our burdens and makes the work light (Matthew 11:28-30). This is good. But what I see in this image, and my own life is the second piece that often is missing.
You see, we pray. Most of us are good at that. We ask Jesus to take this or that (insert various and many burdens, sins, and hurts here) from us. Then we wait. We feel lighter for a time, but then we realize that actually they are all still there clanging around, weighing down our souls. The weights and burdens of Hebrews 12:1 are still heavy and ensnaring us. Why is that? Personally, I wonder if there is something mutual going on in this “transfer of burdens” that so many Christians talk about, but secretly may struggle with the reality of truly being set free. I see in Matthew 11, Jesus doing the bulk of the work:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
We come and take. But it is His yoke that is easy. He will give rest. We take the yoke, but here Jesus provides the rest. He promises rest. Maybe there is more than simply coming to Jesus and taking His yoke, His help? I think there are two things and they both fall on us, not Jesus – belief and action. Above we see Jesus offering to give us rest from our burdens and trusting Him with our weights and sins. Yet, I see something else in Hebrews 12:1-2:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Here we are called to act, to “throw off” and “run.” Yeah, pretty sure those are action verbs (thank you, I am learning something homeschooling). And not just throw off the things that are annoying, or those that we might not miss all the time, but EVERYTHING that hinders us, including our sin. This is where the rubber met the road for me the last month or so. It was time for me to act. I knew to keep praying and releasing my burdens to Jesus, but to also throw them off and run for goodness sakes. What are we waiting for? Are we waiting for our human senses, our internal barometer of measuring if our burden is now light enough, we can safely run the race God has marked for us to run? I don’t think the bible paints that picture for us. Frankly, the race will not be easy or safe anyways. That is why it’s time for us to quit simply praying and take up Jesus’ yoke, throw off our weights and sins, and actually BELIEVE that the God of the stinkin’ universe has got this. He’s got YOU. He has your sins covered, no really, even that one… Why are you, me, we still standing in the middle of race waiting?
What are you waiting for?
I see a generation, a community, a movement of women who not only desire to be delivered from our past and our sins, but BELIEVE with all our might that we are FREE. Like, right now, not after we finish this book or that counseling session. Women who know they don’t have to WAIT to be free. Why take 40 years to find freedom and waste your life wandering in the wilderness of life like the Israelites?. What is the wilderness today? For me, it is educating my kids, maintaining a house, checking Facebook, checking emails, internet surfing (oh how I wish that actually involved physical activity like it infers), worrying, comparing, stressing, yelling, driving, shopping, cooking, refereeing…these all keep me distracted and held in the wilderness on earth if I’m not careful. If we are not careful. What are we missing in the busyness of life, that is actually what we are to be living out our freedom in? (shhhhhh, that might actually be our calling and purpose as part of the Church, I have to whisper because the whole calling thing freaks us out)
So let it go. Let it go. Can’t hold it back anymore. Sorry, just making sure you’re still paying attention.
Let us throw off our burdens, hindrances, sins and GO. Faith is more than a mental exercise or a philosophy of life. It takes action, actions based on belief in the truths of scripture. For it is not our self-reliance or to-do lists that remove our burdens. Simply it is the belief that Jesus is alive and He meant what He said when He walked upon this earth. And just in case, He proved himself true through His death on a cross and resurrection from a tomb.
That is something worth racing for, being free for, letting go for.
And if you need something to replace the Frozen soundtrack about running and letting go, try this instead today.
Forever Reign by Hillsong