Finding Freedom in a Nap

I’m just going to go ahead and throw it out there that I will say this to my grave: there is power in a good cry and a nap. I believe in those things!

The past week has been miserable for me. Absolutely miserable. At every turn, my feelings were being hurt by my friends, my family, even people I don’t know well. Everything was hurting my feelings. I was constantly living in a heaviness of self-loathing and sadness and I was shutting down and barely leaving the house because I just didn’t want to be with people.

Merry Christmas, right? Ha.

Yesterday morning was the worst. It was like I had reached the very end of my rope. I couldn’t take any more of this sadness. I knew the truth. I knew I was allowing myself to wallow in heaviness when I didn’t have to, but for some reason I couldn’t shake it. My parents graciously referred to it as apathy, and they were right. I was allowing myself to hold onto my pain, to believe that everyone I love was against me, to believe that no one loves me because I’m just not good enough, when I know those are lies! How silly of me to allow that! And even after several conversations with my gracious and loving parents that spanned for days (seriously, we had nearly the same conversation for a week because I was continuously dealing with these feelings), all I could do was crawl to my room in my anger and heaviness and take a nap.

And for some reason, just like that, it was gone. Like gone, gone. It was as if Jesus had taken off this heavy, heavy coat I was wearing and I was finally free. Joy was rising. I felt more secure than I had felt in days. All the sudden, I was just okay!

And that’s the thing about Jesus. Even when I’m angry or tired he is SO QUICK to come to my rescue. He gladly pulls me out of the muck I continue to wallow in. He even comes to pull me out when I won’t do it myself. It was like He said “Enough, Mary Cate! You know the truth. We’re done here. I have joy for you!” And that was it.

I woke up and felt more alive than I have for days.

It’s crazy because sometimes I forget He has already won. He came to earth, endured the cross, and rose again to set captives just like me completely free. He already did that! I’m already free! And the only reason I’m stuck in my sadness or my bitterness is because I am choosing to stay there. I’m choosing apathy instead of fighting with the Truth and the Word. I just read a quote from a document entitled “Who I Am” which spoke to the core of my situation because it is exactly what I’m coming to realize. It says,

“This is your choice: You can live your life based on a lie and drown in conflicts or you can live your life based on truth and fly through each day in joyous freedom.”

Friends, it’s time to live in that freedom. It’s time to receive the joy that Jesus died on the cross to give us Hebrews 2:1-3 says:

“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

It’s already done friends! He came to set us free and therefore we are FREE. We only have to walk in that freedom! But we have to choose. It’s our choice whether we want to live in lies or truth. Jesus has placed his offer on the table and it is our turn to either pick it up or walk away. There is joy and freedom to be had this season. I know that at Christmas we reflect on Jesus as an infant, innocent and new to this world, but he already knew why he was here. He came intentionally, humbling himself to set us free. God’s plan was already in action, from the beginning of creation, and Christmas reminds us that Jesus has come to rescue us. Think about that! He came to rescue you, rescue me, from our sadness, from our sin, from our darkness and he came to bring us freedom and joy!

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to choose freedom. It’s time to choose joy. It’s time to replace the lies you’re believing with the truth of who Jesus says you are. To name a few you are:

Accepted (see John 1:12, John 15:5, 1 Corinthians 6:20, Ephesians 1:5)

Secure (see Romans 8, Philippians 1:6, 2 Timothy 1:7, Hebrews 4:16)

Significant (see Matthew 5:13-14, John 15:1,5, Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 4:13)

 

YOU are accepted, secure and significant. YOU are seen, YOU are known, YOU are loved. YOU.ARE.FREE.

It’s time, my friends. It’s time to boldly believe that was Jesus says about us is true. It’s time to let go of the past that we’ve been fearfully holding onto. It’s time to get free and pick up the joy that Jesus is handing us. It’s not always going to be easy, but it sure will be beautiful.

Jesus, I’m ready.

 

More of you, less of me.

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(It just takes my breath away every time!)

Coming Out of a Season

So if you’ve read my blog at all this semester, you’ve probably noticed one theme surrounding just about every post: me, in pain, learning painfully how to look at Jesus. Call it leaning in, call it losing my dragon skin, call it whatever. This semester has been a season of constantly feeling like Jesus has been stripping me of my skin leaving me bare, raw, exposed, suffering. The word that keeps coming to mind is Long suffering: Patient endurance, which kind of makes it more beautiful because it isn’t about the pain as much as it is about the waiting, the listening, the learning.

To be honest, I haven’t “patiently endured” as well as I would have wanted to. A lot of my conversations with God have been centered around the central mantra of “What the heck, God?” There’s a lot I haven’t understood. A lot of emotions I haven’t been able to give words too. It has just been a really raw season of my life, filled with tears and struggles to understand what Jesus is doing.

And then, all of a sudden, the pain just isn’t so bad anymore. The cloud has lifted. I feel a little bit lighter. Still very raw, but lighter.

And that’s the thing about following Jesus. He never said it was going to be easy or pain-free. Heck, it’s nearly always painful because I’m trying to die to myself daily and that is never an easy task. And to be honest I don’t even know if there has been a purpose to this season  other than that Jesus is just teaching me and taking me to a deeper level, asking me at every turn, “Mary Cate, will you go just a little deeper with me? Will you trust me just a little more?” And it’s sweet actually, it’s kind of a dance. Like all I can do is place my feet on top of his and lock eyes with Him and let Him spin me, twirl me. It’s like my eyes can’t stay locked on anything else but Him. All else is temporary; all else is fading away. And in the spinning and twirling, bits and pieces of my flesh, my sin, my worldliness are falling off and I’m starting to look a tiny bit more like Him. It’s funny that this is what my entire life will consist of, baby steps, this pitter-patter, back-and-forth dance with Jesus. But He just seems so worth it, because He’s just so faithful. He just keeps proving himself incredibly faithful in every season of my life.

So I’m writing this just to say Thank You Jesus. Thank you for always being faithful; desperately, incredibly faithful. Thank you that I never have to fear that you’re going to leave me. I never have to fear seeing the shadow of your back as you leave because you are so steadfast. You’re not going anywhere, even in the hardest seasons of my life. You remain steadfast whether I spend hours with you or don’t get a single prayer in before bed. You are steadfast when I’m so wavering, when I feel like I’m drowning, tossed back and forth in the waves when my eyes were locked on you only moments before. You’re just good to me Jesus. I’m overwhelmed by your goodness in my life. I will praise you all my days because of what you’ve done, what you’re doing even in this moment. So thank you for being who you are, Jesus. Thank you that you fulfill your promises, that your word does not return to you void. You are making me new. You are giving me purpose. You’re just so good and I will praise you all the days of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Amen.

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“‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety. I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them.” Ezekiel 34:25-27