If you were to ask my husband, he would be the first to tell you that I have been a down right grouch the past few days. For no good reason, I have been tired, irritable and cranky. Not to mention that I have had a headache every single day since I gave birth to Luke. (PS...if you could pray for that, I would really appreciate it!)
However...this morning, I woke up with a new song in my heart and a new hope in my spirit.
I serve a God whose mercies are new every morning. Hallelujah!
I realized this morning that no matter what is going on or how bad I may feel...my God is greater. He is greater than my bad days at work. He is greater than my fears and insecurities. He is greater than my headaches. He is God.
So often, I wake up, go through my day and go to bed defeated. I let the world get the best of me. I complain about the little things instead of thinking about how much the Lord has done for me. I allow satan to steal my joy, to cloud my mind and to hinder my spirit.
Instead of claiming the freedom Christ has given me, I put shackles on my own feet and then complain about how I can't move.
We serve a God who gives us a key. So many of us are shacked down, carrying around burdens that we have accumulated over the years. We are tired. We are overwhelmed. We live our entire lives as though we are captive to our circumstances. Yet all the while, we have the key in our own hands. We are so distracted by the world that we forget that it's ours. All we have to do is use what God has already given us and set ourselves free from our own condemnation.
Romans 8:1 tell us that, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." When we submit ourselves to Him, He is overwhelmed with mercy. He forgives us and no longer condemns us for our sins. We are the ones who choose to continue to condemn ourselves.
I am the world's worst when it comes to believing in myself. One of my greatest struggles is dealing with my own self-worth. Unfortunately, the devil knows this. He puts negative thoughts in my mind all the time that I know are not of the Lord. In my mind, I am never good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, or talented enough. I complain a lot about superficial physical things that shouldn't matter. I beat myself up about things in my past and choices I wish I would have never made. Although I may never admit these thoughts out loud, every negative thought I allow to grow inside my mind is one more shackle that I put on myself. Before long, I am carrying around a heavy chain of guilt and worthlessness that binds me down and keeps me from being used by God to my full potential.
I love the scripture out of Galatians 5:1 that says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
The Lord has given us freedom. He has set us free. We are the ones who choose to be slaves and to set ourselves in our own bondage. We are the ones who decide that we are too unfit, too broken and too burdened to be used.
Last night, someone told me that she thought I was going to be the next Beth Moore. I laughed. Surely, to be like Beth Moore, I would have to be more educated, more anointed...I would have big time connections. I'm from a small town in the middle of nowhere for crying out loud.
Then I realized, I was shackling myself and shackling God.
Why can't God use me in a big way?
As long as I feel like I never can...I never will.
As long as I feel like God wouldn't...He won't.
You don't have to have all the answers before you begin doing something for the Lord. You don't have to have it all figured out or every bullet point in place. You just have to go for it. Quit making excuses or rescheduling -- just move. The Lord will be faithful to your faithfulness.
Last week, I finally decided to take my own advice and listen to what the Lord was calling me to do. For a long time I have been burdened for the women in my community and this burden has continued to grow after losing Luke. There are so many women who feel alone and isolated...that don't have friends or other women around them to motivate, encourage and empower them. The Lord spoke into my heart to provide an opportunity for women to get together and be part of a community...to talk, share and learn together...to go out and have fun with each other...to be a family and source of support. So with the help of some women who I love and respect more than they will ever know, we are doing it! We will meet every Tuesday (starting next week, August 31st) at 7:00pm at Elkhorn Baptist Church in the WAC building. This is open to all women of all ages. If you want to grow in Christ and be connect with other women who want the same thing, please come. I have no idea what exactly it is going to look like.. but I know its going to be good.
I am excited about what the Lord is doing in my life but I know that I am not the only one who God desires to use. We can all be used to do big things for the kingdom of God. After all, the majority of people who God used in scripture were messed up common people like you and me. The same God that called fishermen to be disciples can call you and I to do even greater things for the Kingdom of God...if we let Him.
First, we have to choose to be free.
We have to want to be used.
We have to take the key and unlock ourselves from our own bondage.
This means believing in ourselves...believing that we are worth it....believing that no matter what we have been through, He has set us free and called us to more than ourselves. It means living in today instead of yesterdays. It means not making excuses for our actions or rescheduling our spiritual lives...it means claiming your life back and living victorious.
You CAN set yourself free of the bondage you have been carrying.
You CAN release the shackles you have placed on your own feet.
You CAN do ridiculously incredible things for the kingdom of God.
You CAN be the next Beth Moore.
Do you believe that you can?
The Lord does.
Be free today. Believe that you can. Believe that you will. Believe in yourself...Believe that He is greater.
Challenge: I challenge you today to read Romans chapter 8. I have read this chapter almost every day the past month. It has really helped me realize who I am in Jesus and the power that I have through His Spirit.
Feel free to leave a comment about how God is working in your life. Let's be encouraged together with the news that God is moving!
PS: To all my girls out there...PLEASE COME NEXT TUESDAY!!