Today’s Quote: “When God finds a heart given over to Him, He forms from it a life with facets and features that normally wouldn’t fit…..He makes us unusual!” –Beth Moore
Today’s Song: “Good Morning”- Mandisa
Welcome to Phase 3!
I just want to start today by refreshing your memory about our key scripture
(Remember, this will be our focus for the next 4 days):
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” - Galatians 5:13-14
Over the next 2 days we are going to be looking at the first part of this verse:
“For you have been called to live in Freedom, my brothers and sisters…”
“Didn’t we just finish up section 2 with all of this talk about being clean and set free? Remember, we’re cucumbers now- we’ve dealt with our stuff.”
Yes, this is true, and I certainly hope that you have.
But this is more about wisdom. Long term issues. Things that we want to learn to do well in life.
And one of those things is how we relate to people.
Because we’re always dealing with people. Wherever we go, wherever we live, whatever we do, there they are.
And girlfriend, we have us some people issues, don’t we?
We have relationship issues and we have some run-away-and-hide-from-certain-relationships issues.
We have insecurity issues, anger issues and flat out I-DO-NOT-LIKE-YOU issues- am I telling the truth?
We have a tendency to cultivate very unhealthy feelings toward and about people and just pass it off as the norm.
We get jealous, we put too much stock in, we can lean too much, we can let bitterness take root. Are these things speaking to anyone but me?
In some people’s company we feel like we’re more than enough, in other people’s company we feel like we’re not good enough.
And we’re thrown for such a loop by it all.
Girls believe it or not, this is not how God intended for us to do relationships.
He intends for you to be whole.
Not have your wholeness vary depending on whom you’re around.
And if that’s really going to happen then we are going to need to wise up to some things, and learn how to get freed up in the ways that we need to get freed up from people.
And equally important is that we then need to learn to connect with people in ways that are healthy for us to connect.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to be talking about over the next two days.
Becoming independent from people in ways that are good to be independent, and connected in ways that are good and healthy for us to be connected.
Living free from unhealthy ties to other people, and thus being free to cultivating more meaningful and beneficial relationships.
How does that sound?
Would you just stop right now and ask God to help you with this?
Bringing our issues out into the light with Jesus is always the first step.
We know by now that if we’re ever going to be real with people, we need to first be real with Him.
So as we talk about these things, listen for God’s Spirit saying to you,
“That’s you. That’s the issue that you have with so-and-so.”
I want to give you a quick little visual that I’ve been thinking of lately.
I want you to picture yourself standing there, and imagine that you have a bunch of strings coming off of you.
These strings represent any kind of unhealthy relationships in your life that is tying you to another person.
Now imagine that all of these strings are constraining you from moving forward; holding you back from your freedom and growth in the Lord.
Because, in the spirit realm, that is very much the truth of what’s happening.
Some of us may have a lot of them, and some of us may only have a few.
But it is highly probable that all of us have some strings that are tying us to certain people in ways that are holding us back.
Right now I want to try to bring to light three very common types of strings that we girls tend to tie ourselves to other people with. Because recognizing and acknowledging these strings is the first step toward freedom from them!
String Type #1- Jealousy
I just need to testify quickly that I have come such a long way in this area of my life, but I still struggle with a lot of jealousy and insecurity type issues.
Remember how back at the start of Phase 2 I was telling you this?
Well this is an area that God has really brought to the forefront of my life lately to be dealt with on a deeper level than I’ve dealt with it.
I’m just such a jealous person by nature, but only over certain things.
There are times that I can’t help but compare myself to other girls. Looks-wise for starters. If I am around a beautiful girl who just also happens to be smart, funny, and down-to-earth, I sometimes cannot help but feel jealous or insecure if I’m with my husband. There is a certain girl who whenever I know I will see her I feel like I have to lose a quick 5lbs and go tanning.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
Just plain-old ugly jealousy.
But you know what?
I don’t want to be like that anymore.
I want God to change me, because those are strings that are tying me to other people and preventing me to grow and be myself, and do what God has planned for me.
Comparing ourselves, or wanting to be more like someone else in any area;
are all forms of jealousy.
And wishing that we were like someone we’re not is very dangerous, even if not in the most obvious ways.
Jealousy can just fester and fester and cause us to do things like poke and press at our body in the mirror while contemplating a way to fund plastic surgery, or look and look and then look again at some girls webpage, thinking of all the ways that she is more attractive than us.
It’s like a cancer to our spirit as it eats up and consumes our own sense of self-worth and confidence. Our glow. Our usness.
Jealousy of a friend, a relative or even a celebrity, these are strings that we need to pray that God will cut.
Because we will never be a whole person so long as we are comparing ourselves to anyone else.
It’s a hard thing not to do, with social networking and all. But girlfriend, you need to let God deal with you on this stuff.
I know it can feel impossible, but just pray about it for starters.
Pray that God would help you to cut those strings of jealousy that are holding you back.
String Type #2- Unforgiveness
This is a huge one.
“‘If you are a human being living on planet earth, you know what it is like to be wronged by someone. Every single one of us has been hurt, betrayed and trampled upon more than once. While some of these offenses are quick to role off our shoulders, others get buried deep inside of us and eventually spring forth stems of resentment.”- Joanna Weaver
Resentment that stems from unforgiveness is not only a string that ties us to other people; it’s like a big old nappy, ugly string that’s hard to hide.
Unforgiveness not only does tremendous damage to your insides, it will undoubtedly show up as harbored resentment and “baggage” in the way that you speak.
Don’t you just hate that word, baggage?
Let’s ask God to help us drop ours.
The only way to go through this life without that kind of baggage is to practice forgiveness.
We need to remember how much grace God has poured out on us, and exercise that same grace toward other people, even when they don’t deserve it. We don’t deserve it either.
I’m not talking about allowing someone to walk all over you or hurt you again, and again. By all means, make wise choices and guard your heart.
What I’m talking about is learning to forgive people who have wronged you, and making forgiveness a habit for all the times that you will be wronged throughout your life.
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”- Mark 11:24-25
Just as God forgives us immeasurably, he calls us to forgive others.
If we ever expect to be whole people, following this instruction is a must.
This one has everything to do with releasing our control to God, trusting and knowing that he can do a far better job with any person or situation than we can.
Justice is God’s, not ours (Romans 12:19). And holding onto offenses will only make us bitter.
Harbored unforgiveness is always most detrimental to our own health and growth, not the person’s we are refusing to forgive. As someone else once put it:
“Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Girls, we know about forgiveness. We hear about it all the time, but these things are much harder with the skin on them.
True forgiveness is a choice that you have to make, followed up by the daily action of praying that God help you to do so, and also praying for that person.
If you’ve never done this before, get ready for your heart to start to change in ways that you never thought it could.
Not falling for the enemies scheme to get us all to hate eachother rather than him.
Being able to separate the sin from the sinner.
Lord, teach us how to separate people from their sin. To love them despite how much we dislike the things they do. Let us take the higher road, Father. Let love break through.
We need to trust Jesus for justice and forgive people.
String Type #3- Toward Us’
So far the two kinds of strings that we’ve talked about attaching us to other people have been about our feelings toward other people.
Jealousy and unforgiveness- both very strong and debilitating ties that come in the form of our thoughts and feelings toward others.
But what about other peoples feelings toward us?
How many of us worry ourselves sick over those?
This is a HUGE form of bondage for us women. I’m talking about those nagging thoughts like...
-“They’re gonna think I’m…..”
-“She thinks I’m like this…”
-“He thinks I’m the kind of girl that…..”
-“I know they don’t like me because….”
-“What do they think about me?”
Or in a relationship it will be thoughts like…
-“Does he still love me?”
-“Am I the only girl that he’s interested in?”
-“Is he comparing me to other girls?”
-“What does he think of me?”
Girls we need to stop playing God.
It is not our place to try to guess at, fixate on, or control what other people are thinking and feeling toward us. It is not our job and it’s such waste of time and energy.
And the more we do it, the uglier and less original we will be for it.
It makes us into chameleons.
The kinds of people who just do what we think will be pleasing to whoever we are around at the time, blending in with everyone else, rather than just freely being ourselves.
Being those beautiful and amazing women that God is making us into!
It is freedom that we’re after!!
And worrying about what other people think and feel toward us is a very real tie that holds us back from it.
Girls, we keep ourselves chained to other people in the most ridiculous ways.
Let God take control over what people think and feel about you.
Worrying about those things will be nothing but a hindrance for your growth.
Pray that God would help you to recognize those strings of bondage, and snip them!
I truly believe that our ties to other people can be one of the biggest inhibitors from reaching our full potential in this life.
Subtle but strangling, they have the potential to keep our focus mixed up in all the wrong things.
But again, with Jesus, nothing is impossible.
And His desire is to break those chains in your life.
Don’t be scared, and please don’t put it off.
We only get to do life on this earth once, and what a shame it would be for us to live the rest of ours being chained to unhealthy people in unhealthy ways.
Remember, these are easy things to recognize, but if we actually want to change it’s going to take some praying about and some doing.
Ask God to show you where to start.
Don’t look to your left and to your right to see how everyone else is handling this. Be one of the few who fixates her eyes on Jesus, and allow Him to bring you out of the heaviness and chains of jealousy, unforgivness, and always worrying what other people think about you.
God wants to cut so many of those strings that have kept you tied down.
Pray that He would start it today!
Today’s Dare: It’s time to do some string snipping. Pray about the issues and people who stood out to you most as you were reading this. Do your POFU time and ask that God would help you to not be jealous of so-and-so, to forgive so-and-so, and to stop worrying about what so-and-so thinks about you.
Make a list of the people who fall into those categories, and make it a point to pray for God to help show you how to cut those strings each day. (For me, these things often take time and consistent prayer).
Make it a point today to do something nice for someone on your forgiveness list, and speak a nice compliment about someone on your jealousy list.