Following a weekend of celebrating the brave Veterans of our country, it only seems fitting to really reflect on the idea of FREEDOM.
I had a question to ask myself this morning and it was this: If we live in a FREE country and we serve a FREE God, why do we feel so UN-free? Imprisoned, hopeless, inferior, guilty, shameful, suffocated, and overwhelmed were some common themes that seemed to come to mind when I think of a lot of Americans these days.
After talking with God on my morning walk, he left me with this……Every negative feeling we feel can be traced back to one of our needs not being met.
I narrowed it down to 5 needs we must have met to be as successful as we can be here on Earth:
- Survival (water, food, shelter etc)
- Faith (something greater than us, quiet time)
- Love/Relationships (significant other, family, friends)
- Self Esteem (confidence, self worth)
- Personality (interests, hobbies, fun)
God also clearly defined for me 3 ways in which we react when our needs are not met or are met poorly.
- Emotional Reaction (anger, sadness, jealousy, greed, selfishness etc)
- Put up a wall/Shut Down
- Find a vice/Numbness
Thank you Lord for this clarity! If I can sit down at the table with God (as people do when they cherish a relationship) and just have coffee with him and bring him my hurts, I believe I can put it in one of the 5 categories of unmet needs and hopefully identify how I am trying to meet it with the 3 reactions. So you may think, although this list is interesting, what do I do once I’ve figured all of this out? How do I fix it? How do I get closer to feeling FREE?!
Through my own recent experiences, and a few little whispers from God, I’m thinking some answers may lie in the fruits of the spirit! Hang in there for a second while I try to make this connection for you. If we root ourselves in the holy spirit- we will bear the fruits of the spirit which include:
- gentleness and
- self control (Galatians 5:22-23).
I have had times through my suffering, though, where I don’t know how to “root myself in the holy spirit,” know how to hear from God or wonder why he’s not answering. I’m learning that when I’m in that moment, if I turn to one of these fruits and try to apply them to the situation……that I start to receive answers! And blessings on top of that!
If I choose to treat other people (especially those who have hurt me) with love, patience, kindness, self control……(insert any of the above)…..I start to see it cycle back around to me and I start to hear God’s whispers again! I feel like sometimes I just need some concrete steps I can take to give myself a little bit of relief instead of always relying on this huge overwhelming idea that there is a God up there listening and then trying to figure out how to hear him, when my physical eyes and ears try to test me. Am I right? This is me, being totally raw with you guys. I can’t pretend like it’s 100% easy to be a Christian all the time. Our flesh and just the nature of being human, sure do love to test us and make us ask questions! I believe God wants us to experience FREEDOM in such a way that we can be open and transparent with our friends and love God and grow in him together! I pray you are able to feel some relief and experience true FREEDOM through some of these strategies I’ve been trying lately!