Walking In Freedom //
The definition of freedom is this: the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
In the world we live in today, there are SO many things that can imprison us, and as believers, we often tend to forget our freedom- or worse, forget that we are gifted it. We have all found ourselves chained to something before- whether it's the opinion of others, the expectations of society, or the never-ending pressure to appear 'perfect' by the media.
Through being chained to these things, and feeling the weight of these expectations, we so easily forget that this imprisonment is not what we were created for. We so easily forget our own interests, convince ourselves its normal and okay to not like anything about ourselves, whilst telling ourselves this is an okay way to live- as long as we get the most likes on our latest instagram post. But, does it really matter if we're known? Well, yes. It matters. I mean.. anyone can be admired through the way they portray themselves online. But to be known.. REALLY known.. that is what actually takes guts. That requires us to go to the depths of who we are- the good and the bad. I didn't learn I had a fear of vulnerability until recently- because I hadn't tried being vulnerable. The only approach I'd tried was to push down every issue I was chained to, and convince myself this was a fine way to live.
A few Months ago someone said to me:- "when was the last time you forgave yourself?"
In that moment everything was slow motion for a second as I dug deep into my brain, desperate for an answer - one that I didn't have. You see, I'd never considered that maybe I needed freedom from things in my life. Especially from the way I saw and thought of myself. So many of us are our own biggest critic- and truthfully, that was one of the biggest imprisonments of all for me. It dictated almost everything I did- and I didn't even realise it- until I was fortunate enough to have someone wiser than me, who's opinion I respected a lot, confront it.
Everywhere we look, and everything we read, we're told that we have to be a certain way, shape or style. That if we fit a certain stereotype it somehow dictates our worth. But this brings me back to the beginning- this is not what we were created for. You're not supposed to fit the exact mould of someone else. You were fearfully and wonderfully made as YOU, not them, for a reason. Because the world needs one you. You're not supposed to be neatly tied up in a size 0 package. Your worth is found in God alone.
If you sat down with me for coffee a year ago, you'd see a girl who would never allow herself to fail- but simultaneously consider herself a failure, because society's standards had her bound tight. You'd see a girl who didn't say much at all for fear of saying the wrong thing. Who wore baggy clothes because she thought her underweight, boney figure was too big, and was ashamed. I mean, goodness, I probably wouldn't have even allowed myself to have that cup of coffee because of the calories. You see how chained to these things I was? I didn't even have the slightest clue about it.
Once I realised what it meant to be free, did I discover how imprisoned I was. But even after this realisation- it didn't happen straight away.
It was so difficult to let go of this image I'd tried to create and convince people that was the real me- I'd even convinced myself for a while. In letting go of this image, It meant that I'd have to come to terms with the real truth.. who I really was. Which, for me, was hands down the most daunting thought. It also involved facing my past, and everything i'd pushed down for so long. Amongst all of this lied the biggest problem of all.... I didn't even know who I was. I had so intentionally and carefully crafted myself into who everyone else wanted me to be, that I forgot who I was- and who I was created to be.
What I've learnt through this huge identity crisis, though, is that life is also very much one big identity crisis. We turn to places like Instagram and Pinterest to 'quick-fix' our lives, without truly realising that they can only give us superficial things like recipes and an ideal winter outfit. Ultimately, no matter how pinterest-worthy our lives may appear, there is no DIY method to fill our hearts. That one, only God can do. We weren't created to do this alone. God sent His son, not so that we would follow the world's ways and expectations. He sent His son to fix things for us. To make the broken pieces whole again.
Now, every time life tries to knock me down, there is not a chance it will have effect on me. I live in the truth that I have already been RAISED UP with Christ, and nothing can change that. You don't have to try so hard to measure up- His grace fills the gaps between you and God.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 6:6-10
You ARE beautiful. You ARE enough. You ARE worthy of love. You ARE more than your past. You ARE NOT your failures. You DO have a purpose. You ARE important.
A relationship status doesn't define you. Your level of education doesn't define you. A job doesn't define you. Your worth is found in God alone. Don’t give up on yourself. You are here to love, serve and share your talents and goodness while you’re alive, and to me, that seems like a life that matters. A life that is full of purpose. And maybe, just maybe, a life that might change the world.
For the record, I think you're pretty great.
Love, N. x