mini devotional: freedom

for the past few days, my go-to song has been “Traveling Light“.

I noticed that when I move further from God/don’t do His will, I start to get burdened down by insecurities.


I remember when I was little, my mom would wait till I got home to spank me if I hadn’t behaved that day. I started cutting to the chase: I wanted to know what to expect when I got home. I started asking her if I had been good before we even made it home. I thought it was some recent poor habit I’d developed but I’m realizing I’ve always wanted to know what lies ahead. 


Verse & Prayer

this morning’s verse of the day is 2 Corinthians 3:17 –

“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

that verse got me thinking about freedom. this morning I prayed for a sign and I got it. I wanted to be free from thoughts that often blind me and weigh me down. I just longed for freedom.

and I’ve been working on just talking openly to God about things. so that’s what I did when I prayed today. the point of prayer is to seek God’s Spirit – to look for it, to submit to it. and I found out today that when I prayed, I truly found God’s Spirit…I found freedom.


Morning Focus

on a morning call, God led me to focus on the story of the thief on the cross. I love how Jesus doesn’t force the 2nd thief to go through a bunch of rituals and traditions. all He gives him is assurance. assurance that not only will he be remembered, but that he’s received the most important thing that there is to receive in life – paradise. he immediately receives an assurance of salvation.

remember when I said earlier that when I don’t do God’s will, I start to get really insecure? Jesus’ words to this undeserving criminal can assure us that when we cry out to Him, He will save us. He gives us assurance. assurance is the opposite of insecurity.

remember when I said earlier that I love to know the future/what lies ahead?  Jesus’ words to this believer gave him an assurance of the future.

look at this verse from Romans 8:28:

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

“we know“. I like that. not “we think“.

knowing something is assurance, not insecurity. no matter what you’re afraid of/what your situation is/what your hopes and dreams are – you know that God will cause everything to work together for the good. so even if your life doesn’t look exactly the way you want it to look right now – be patient. our futures are set when we entrust our lives to Jesus. we don’t have to worry about any aspect of our lives – money, food, clothing, education, careers, etc. even the things we consider bad or negative events will be worked out for good because God chooses to do that for people who love Him.

that verse can give us so much freedom if we accept it and live it today.

freedom from fear and anxiety – especially about the future.

freedom from insecurity.

freedom from burdens.

freedom from sin.


just stand

a few days ago, one of my exes called. there's so much that could be said about the past calling.

you know the usual – you're supposed to be asleep but you get that text that reads

hey, are you awake?

I guess old habits die hard. you know the usual – flirting, temptation, pictures. but this time it was unusual. this time it was different. this time it was one-sided. and I don't know what it was. maybe, like he described later, it was maturity. finally. or maybe I was just bored…

I'm just so tired of being that girl. always a bridesmaid, never a bride. only this time it's always a…I dunno…well I know what I want to say but it doesn't flow as nicely. it's just not nice to not make it to full-fledged wife status with all the frills it comes with. I don't want to settle for anything less than the dream – the vision- that I believe God has whispered to my heart. and something within me just stood up and firmly said no. and I'm not writing about this to brag. I'm typing this out because I've never felt this feeling before. I feel as confident as I felt before I was an awkward, pimply teenager. I feel confident. I feel strong.

I just said no. I feel like I just can't live the same way anymore. Like the Woman at the Well, I'm looking to experience something new. I'm tired of the same old water that continually leaves me thirsty. I really can't do this anymore. Within a few moments of texting and talking, I realized I had grown. I couldn't believe what I was saying. I couldn't believe what I was refusing. And it didn't mean I'd be perfect – no I definitely slip every day, but thank God for grace through Jesus. I don't have to do it all on my own. I don't have to constantly fear slipping up. I can live and walk confidently knowing that my sins are forgiven and that God will help me to live life loved and to live life new. I don't need to return to the past. It doesn't fill me up anymore. And the truth is, it never has.

"In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall." Psalm 18:29

I am stronger. I am goal-oriented. I am focused on the benefits ahead and not on momentary pleasure.

Dear Reader,
Could you please pray for me? Pray for deliverance. I'm praying for you too. Even if you're not there yet – have faith. You will be. This God I serve is so great. So powerful. His love is endless. There's nothing too embarrassing, dirty, or unworthy.

"Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies;"

Psalm 103:4

Song: Clean

"There's nothing too dirty

That You can't make worthy

You wash me in mercy

I am clean

There's nothing too dirty

That You can't make worthy

You wash me in mercy

I am clean" – Natalie Grant, "Clean"

Thank God that we serve a God who's perfect; who loves us even though we don't deserve it. He fights our battles for us. We are never alone.

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14

Song: I Am Not Alone

Sometimes we don't think of our bad habits as addictions. Or worse, we think that our bad habit is not as bad as his or hers. But praise God for deliverance. Have there been bad things that have happened this week? Life is filled with mess-ups, slip-ups, and breakups, but today let's make our minds up – we won't live life with a victim mindset. We can make it. We can overcome.

Song: Overcomer

Today let's celebrate the progress we've made. Lets give credit where credit is due instead of focusing on our failures. Let's replace fear of failure with faith in the future: hope. A hope that can only be conceived through a continual trust in Jesus.

Song: 'Tis so Sweet

Let's say thank you to God as we recognize how far he's brought us from our past. And let's look forward to the future.

just wait part 2 (finally)

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” 

-1 Chronicles‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬ 

Today’s verse of the day spoke volumes to me. This verse reminds me that God is in control over every situation in our lives. It also reminds me that he is in control over all of our resources. It encourages me to stay anti-anxiety. It encourages me to look towards him, and to look at what he is capable of and not to look at my circumstances. It’s not that I’m not aware of my circumstances or I am not putting forth effort; rather I am not driven by my circumstances or my fear. My fear of the future does not define me. Instead my faith fuels my drive. 

I want a job but I also need to finish my field experience volunteering hours by the end of April so I’ve been volunteering Monday – Friday mornings. 

I need a job, but after years of taking just any job, I think I’m finally moving in the direction God wants me: total reliance on Him. I trust that He’ll lead me to exactly where I need to be at the time I need to be there. 

Even the way I got the position for my field experience volunteering was truly the work of God. Everything fell into place at just the right time. And I know that if God did it before, (and very recently), he will be faithful in the future. I don’t have to worry or stress like other people who don’t have a relationship with God might be tempted to worry. My relationship with God has changed my outlook on life. And I am so very grateful. 

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Waiting on God isn’t such a bad place to be. Trust Him. He will never let you down. 

just stay in your lane

I’m usually not a jealous person. At least I wouldn’t add that to my list of trait characteristics. But recently I had a repeat situation that reminded me of some things I need to take care of. Every Christian will face it at some point – the temptation to look outside of your lane. 

There will always be someone who is prettier/smarter/more skilled than you. Sometimes it’s just a matter of opinion (e.g “prettier). Sometimes it’s a matter of fact (e.g. “more skilled”). 

If you spend your entire life looking in the other lane, you’ll never appreciate all that God has in store for you. I think that’s why this verse is written the way it is:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6 

Giving thanks involves remembering. 

A memory is a powerful tool.

Remembering what God has done for you or others in your life or in the Bible can help shift your thought processes, making them less negative and more positive. 

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2 

Focusing on God is uplifting.

What does this have to do with jealousy and envy? someone is asking.

First this to clear up things, a few things I learned from Merriam Webster: 

“Though ‘jealous’ and ‘envious’ may both mean “covetous,” only ‘jealous’ may be used to mean “possessively suspicious.”” 

Jealousy comes with the threat of losing something while envy is wanting what someone else has. 

The biblical books of James and Ecclesiastes give us insight: 

James 4:2-3

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Ecclesiastes 4:4

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 

To stay in your lane, take your focus off the temporal. Don’t look to the left or right, only look to Jesus. He is the One Who tells us who we are. When you know who you are and how valuable you are to God, you won’t need to compare yourselves to others. When you compare, you will always fall short. 

There are various times in a Christian’s life where he or she has to ask God to help with his or her vision:

  • When you’re proud – God help me to see myself for who I truly am so that I can please you. (1 Peter). 
  • When you’re feeling lonely – God open my eyes to see that you are all around me. (1 Kings).
  • When you’re feeling threatened that someone might take what you have or you want what someone else has  – God help me to see that you have plans for me – plans to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Here are a few power verses to lift your thoughts:

The Key to Anti-Jealousy: Stand firm in knowing who you are because God, who made you, said so. Stand firm knowing that God has good plans for your future.

  • Psalm 143:8-9 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, LORD, for I hide myself in you.
  • 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
  • Galatians 5:14-15 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
  • Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Key to Anti-Envy: Keep your eyes in your lane. Recognize that God’s grace and love are able to take care of you as well as everyone else in the world. His supply of love, grace and resources  is unlimited. 

  • Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
  • Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…
  • James 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
  • Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

when you just doubt.

I wanted to entitle this one “just hope” but that didn’t feel right.

I’ve experienced a lot of terrible situations in life that have left me fearful. 

Anxiety.

Imagine walking to your favorite restaurant. You already know how to get there so you don’t need a map. You know you need to cross a few streets and maybe wait at a few stop lights, but instead of walking the direct path from point A to point B, you stop behind each building you see along the way and then peek from behind the building’s walls before moving forward down the familiar path to your favorite restaurant. That’s what anxiety feels like to me. I feel like I have to hide behind bushes and buildings and wait to see if there’s any traffic rushing towards me before I step out into the street. I feel like a dangerous accident might happen. 

Drunken driver. Malfunctioning airbag. Deer in headlights. Flock of geese. 

I mean, anything could happen. 

And that’s what anxiety feels like to me – like I need to have a peek around the corner before something terrible happens to me. 

Sometimes when I feel that way, I remember this post I read a while ago “Expecting the good that God wants to give you“. 

If you’re too lazy to read that short article, here is a powerful line that stood out to me:

“Fear is the opposite of faith and it takes faith to accept anything good in our lives.”

This verse is powerful too:

All the days of the oppressed are miserable, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. 

– Proverbs 15:15 HCSB

satan wants us to focus on the terrible things in life that have happened, are happening, or could happen. When you’re stuck on focusing on anything/anyone but God, it is so very easy to become anxious and depressed. We don’t focus on His abilities. We focus on our inabilities. When you see no way out, of course you’ll feel trapped and saddened.

Exodus 20:2-3. Israelites have just been delivered from slavery. God doesn’t want them running their lives by the rules of the old land so he gives them rules on how to live life free. 

The first thing He says to them is 

““I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me.”

Exodus 20:2-3 NLT 

If you look up the definition of “god” you’ll find it associated with words like worship and adoration and admiration. Whatever or whoever receives our worship, adoration, and admiration is our god. God wants us to make Him our priority. 

Rule #1.

Obtaining freedom from anxiety involves keeping God #1. Not our jobs (or lack thereof). Not homework. Not friends. Not boyfriends. Not girlfriends. Not spouses. Anything else you could name doesn’t count as God. 

But when we focus on God we learn things like true love (click this link & the ones below).

We learn that He is our refuge so we can run to Him at any time.

And not just any time in a fearful way but any time and confidently.

We learn that He’s forgiving

We learn that He’s patient.

We learn that He is merciful.

We learn that He can bring to fruition things that are seemingly impossible

We learn that He understands us.

Yup, understands us. 

And loves us exactly as we are

But too much to leave us there

When we trust Him with every aspect of our lives, He directs us. And He doesn’t just direct us in a far off, distant sort of way. He cares about every single detail of our lives. 

The God of Christianity isn’t at all a tyrant as some have presumed. He is the One who brings meaning to life. 

He brings good things to those who follow Him.

And our God is very good.