I have been thinking a lot about the word freedom lately. Generally speaking, I am, by nature a bound person. I can be bound-up in "shoulds" or in what other's think. I can be bound-up by the judging voice in my own head, criticizing and reprimanding me. I can be bound up in the dual shameful feelings of being "too much" or "not enough".
Bound and not free. Bound by worry about the future. What if it gets worse.. Will I be able to handle it? ...what will I say? Bound by regret from the past--- what I did, what I should have said, or didn't say. What I could have done or shouldn't have attempted. We are bound in compulsions, comparison, anger or unforgiveness. Bound-up in insecurity, in judgment, and in discord. We are, by nature, a bound people. We bind each other and, most poignantly, we bind ourselves. I bind myself.
I found myself bound in frustration this morning at church. Annoyance and frustration: the small, niggling kind--- not the full-blown-loose-temper kind. I was frustrated with someone and it was distracting me.
Stephanie, there is another way... As I sat in worship and asked the Holy Spirit to fill me with His way, I thought again about freedom. It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. I am free. Because He lives I am free... today. Every single minute of every day.
What is binding me right now, Lord?
But, Lord, what they are doing is wrong...
Mercy triumphs over judgement. (James 2:13)
These are the words that rang in my head and brought clarity to my clouded thinking. Mercy. The antidote. I don't have to judge. I feel the need, yes. The urge and the natural tendency, yep. But, there is another way. Judgement isn't my job. ...So NOT my job! Mercy is the cure for the disease of judgement.
Brene Brown, in her beautiful book Rising Strong, says that "love is the last thing we need to ration in this world". I don't have to ration or limit how much love I show another person. I simply can't love too much. You have been forgiven much, can you love much here?
Can you give too much mercy today, Stephanie?
In the quietness of my heart, mercy was given. Love offered. Blessings genuinely prayed for the person I was frustrated with... Rest was restored in my soul. Mercy did triumph this morning! Because He lives.
Because He lives... I can be free to love and offer mercy. Always.
--------this was my answer to the statement. Here are a few other people's "fill-in" that made my heart smile:
Because He lives, I can.... Be happy. Be myself. I can forgive. I can be forgiven. I can make mistakes. I can face tomorrow. I can be the person He made me to be. I can love. I don't have to worry. I never have to be afraid. Forgive. Worship.