choosing to hope

there was a season in my life not too long ago where it was so easy for me to dream and believe in possibilities. i thought i was going to change the world. i thought i knew what i was going to do and how i was going to do it and who i was going to do it all with.

a lot has changed since then.

i’ve hardened myself. mostly because i don’t like the feeling of disappointment. i deny myself things too quickly and easily. it is what it is, so be content. my imagination has essentially become my enemy. for so many years, it was how i coped…my mind was how i escaped from the reality i was living. i’m safe here inside my mind – no one can get in. i can obsess and linger and no one will ever know. but as i’ve gone through recovery, i realized that it couldn’t be my crutch anymore, and so when i’ve caught myself using it, i’ve quickly snuffed it out. so i’ve become afraid of it. and when i find myself struggling with it, i immediately fall back into that all-too-wrong line of thinking that i’m screwed up. who am i, anyway? stopping being ungrateful and focus on what is in front of you. there’s no need to look any farther…there are no guarantees.

i can trace all of those lie back to the past. and – as i’ve recently discovered – when you believe a lie, you’re in bondage. i’m glad i see that now, but now i’m accountable – once again – for what i do with it. so where do i begin?

well, it seems it has something to do with hope. hope is a choice. and it’s essential to faith.

“Now faith is the assurance of thingshoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.  By faith we understand that theworlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” hebrews 11:1-3, nasb

choosing to hope goes against everything i’ve ever done. it goes against every “logical” response i’ve had to things. it’s good. it’s requires trust. it’s draws me closer to Him.

”…in the presence of Him whom he [Abraham] believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’” romans 4:16-18, nasb

but i don’t deserve any of it. i don’t want to hurt again. i’m protected here.i should be happy enough with what i have, because it’s by far better than where i’ve been.

all lies, but at the same time, so much easier to hang on to.

i have a long way to go. His word and love are the realest things to me despite everything, and yet i struggle with the idea of hope. seems like i don’t make much sense, but then again, when have i ever?

sara

why truth is so important…

nothing can betray our beliefs swifter than our actions. they are the springboard of all that we do, whether we know it or not.

why do i struggle? why do i find myself in bondage? well, the answer lies in my belief: is it truth, or a lie?

(i know my teachers/mentors will appreciate the use of this:)

believe > think > feel > act

what you believe affects how you think; what you think affects how you feel; how you feel affects how you act. if the end result is sin/disobedience, then your belief is based on a lie. ridiculously elementary, i know…but realizing that has allowed me to know where to begin as i try and figure this all out.

for me, this whole idea of freedom has been difficult to grasp. i’ve been so embedded with structure and routine and dos/don’ts, that i can’t see past the box i’m in sometimes. not to say that boundaries and routines are wrong, but like many other things used in excess, they can do harm.

as i’ve studied, bondage and slavery all coincide with sin. Christ set us free, truth sets us free. so my struggle has essentially revealed to me that my belief is rooted in some lie. no matter what i know, no matter what i tell myself, my thoughts, feelings and actions betray me.

so, what do i do now?

well, i’ve learned that knowing the truth is necessary to freedom. my life is testimony enough to that, and continues to be so. life continues to amaze me. and it never fails: as i stop and look back to thank Him for how far He has brought me, and serve Him wholeheartedly where He has me now, something happens to allow me to look forward to what’s ahead…as if it’s some sort of surprise that there isn’t all there is. there’s more. but hope requires some exercise in freedom, too, and that’s something i still have to work on.

but the story isn’t over. not yet.

sara

one small step at a time. no rush.

one word: freedom

last year i had some issues. i felt myself feeling restricted, stuck in a box, trapped in habits…and i can’t stand the thought of any kind of bondage. i desire freedom. i too easily fall into lines of legalism: dos, don’ts, musts, can’ts…so i do what i can to avoid it. growing up in an environment of restriction and legalism and spiritual abuse has turned me fearful into falling back into the old habits.

it’s hard to know when to draw the line. keeping what’s healthy and dismissing what’s not. staying motivated enough to keep up. my bible studying habits have suffered because of my fear of turning it into a chore:  i must do this a certain way and i can’t use that and this is the routine i must keep and if i fail in any which way or break a personal rule then…well, you can see the issue.

so in my effort to free myself from…well, myself, i stepped back a bit and tried to simplify. i tried not to heap so much guilt on myself when it didn’t happen…and then it started to NOT happen very often at all. my prayer life and relationship with Him didn’t seem to suffer, but i started starving myself, and have been since wondering why i’m suddenly so indifferent and frustrated. how could i have allowed it? getting to know Him is one of the most precious privileges i had come to love and crave…studying His word is a beautiful, beautiful thing. when did it start becoming a burden? how could i take something so wonderful and turn it against myself? really, i’m just ridiculous.

God is not a God of bondage. He set us free. He is also not a God of fear, and yet somehow that has crept its way into my life again. maybe i need to take a look at how the spiritual abuses are still affecting me.  i’ve had to be so diligent in so many areas of my life in my recovery to not fall back; it’s a constant thing, and it just seems like as one layer is peeled away, another is revealed. so here i am again…

so, while i’ve been opposed to making any kind of resolution, i am determined to deal with this. to achieve freedom spiritually, emotionally, socially, etc. because, really, the more i think about it, i’ve got a deeply rooted issue here.

(and now i have the mental picture of mel gibson screaming in my head.)

so, here’s to my one word: FREEEEEDOOOMM!!!

sara

i blame the OneWord365 initiative for this. i fought against the idea for a while, because, well…i didn’t want to be committed/restricted/on a bandwagon/whatever. and i actually had a different word to begin with, and then found myself fighting against the idea of changing it to this.

so…while i’m a few days late, here goes…