“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” Galatians 5:1

Several years ago, in the midst of a carpool drop-off, a friend said to me in passing, “Someday I want you to tell me why you always seem so content.” If I recall correctly, I laughed and said that my kids and husband might disagree with her characterization but that I would love to have coffee and chat more about it. And I said, “The short answer to your question is my faith. My relationship with God is the source of what I think you are noticing in me.”

That was several years ago now, but that conversation and our follow-up discussions popped into my mind when I was thinking about the word “freedom” and what Paul might have been talking about in the verse above. Any joy, peace or contentment that my life manifests is the gift of God’s love, grace, mercy and presence in my life.

Simply put, although it sounds a bit sappy, God’s love sets me free.

When I am plugged into the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s love sets me free from:

  • comparison and envy
  • perfectionism and people pleasing
  • competition and the need to be right/better/smarter
  • a world with no boundaries to keep me safe
  • guilt and shame about the past
  • worry and fear about the future
  • the sense that everything is my responsibility/fault/job to fix
  • loneliness and isolation
  • addiction to self and my narcissistic idiosyncrasies

When I abide in him, God’s love, grace and forgiveness sets me free to:

  • be brave, be me
  • create, imagine, explore, dream, risk, try new things
  • be vulnerable and authentic in my relationships
  • love and serve others well
  • find peace through obedience to the ways of Jesus
  • be confident and self-assured
  • extend grace to myself and others
  • forgive myself and others
  • make a difference in his kingdom by sharing my unique gifts

Do I always live in this freedom? No. Sometimes I forget that I am God’s beloved child. Sometimes I get distracted. Sometimes I get insecure and petty and confused and scared.

But then I remember.

I remember that I am loved beyond all measure. My heavenly father delights in me.

I remember that I belong to God and that he will never, ever leave me alone to figure out life by myself. God has my back.

I remember that I have the mind and spirit of Christ within me at all times. If I listen, God makes me wise.

I remember what Jesus said about focusing on the most important thing: love God with all our heart, soul, mind and spirit and love others well. God loves people through me.

I remember that I am made in God’s image. Therefore, when I am abiding in God’s power, I am creative, loving, gifted, equipped and sent out by him. When I temporarily forget and act otherwise, through Jesus, I am forgiven and I can try again. And again. And again.

I remember that God wants to partner with me, and with you, in bringing his kingdom down to earth. We get to be on Team Jesus! We can fight for justice, feed the hungry, love the unloved and be light in the darkness. We have the power to change our little corner of the world by being brave and following Jesus to heal our broken world.

When we stay connected to God, we are free!

Originally published on www.kellyiveyjohnson.com.

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