"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Friday, April 1, 2016

A New Place to Live

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Egypt.  A place where God's people were enslaved.  It was also a place they lived and worked.  They had families, settled in homes, cooked, ate, drank and married... 400 years of "normal".  This was their home; but, they were not free.  God hears the pain of this reality---their slavery--- and He makes a way for them to leave.  He gives them their freedom.

For a few days, I have been feeling out of sorts.  ...not free.  ...not at peace.  In reading Exodus 13 this morning, I had the thought---and a prayer rise up: what is the Egypt you delivered me from?  

I, too, lived in Egypt long ago...  working, living, settled down... but not free.  And, through Jesus, God has delivered me out. What did my "Egypt" look like?  What is the Egypt You delivered me from, Lord?

my egypt was ...love starved.  ...a dry and desert place.  ...lacking  ...a place where I lacked the deep knowledge of His unconditional love, so I ran about looking and longing for it.
my egypt was ...lonely  ...sad  ...driven and productive  ...a place where I was "hustling for my worthiness" (as Brene' Brown talks about in Daring Greatly.)  ...hustling for love, for okay-ness,  ...hustling for peace.
my egypt was a place where I had to earn my okay-ness and it was dependent on what others thought of me  ...it was a place where I felt I must be perfect to be loved.   ..it was a confused place  ...a nervous place.  ...a place I had to be ever calculating and fixing.

As I processed and prayed through this passage, I was struck by God's heart for His people.  He has such great compassion, understanding and wisdom.  He makes a way for the Israelite people to leave Egypt---yes; and, yet, because He also knows them so well, He makes the way longer and more arduous. He knows if the way is shortened, they would be tempted to go back.   With a wise and loving heart, God 'burns the bridges' that lead back to lead them back to Egypt.  He takes away their options.  He makes retreat impossible.
"When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea." (Exodus 13:17-18)
He delivered me, too, from "my egypt".   And...He also knows my heart so well!  He knows that I might change my mind and run back...  just like my brothers and sisters, the Israelites.   Indeed, I do feel the temptation to live in that egypt from time-to-time, to be sure!  We are so prone to run back to what feels normal or comfortable---even if it is slavery.

These last few days, I think maybe I have been living in the memory--- or in the shadow of my egypt, Lord.  
God reminds me that He burned that bridge for me with Christ's "it is finished" sacrifice.  He says "the old is gone and the new has come!"  (2 Corinthians 2:15)

As they are leaving Egypt, God reminds them... yet again... to take no yeast from Egypt.   He reminds me, again, this morning that I need to be aware of the "yeast" I used and lived with, in my old"egypt" land.  These are old things... things to be seen, noted, and discarded.  It is where I once lived.  But, not where I live today.  Or, at least, not where I must live today.  Instead He has delivered me into a new place...   a place of freedom.

So, I ask Him now.  What is the promised-land to which I have been delivered, Lord?  

My promised land is ...rich in love. ...a place where I can know and walk in the deep knowledge of His unconditional love.  I don't have to run anywhere or do anything to find it.
My promised land is  ...full  ...connected ....relational ...a place where I don't have to earn my worth---it has been earned for me!  ...a place where I have been given, as a gift, peace and joy and fullness.  I have enough.  I am enough in Him.
My promised land is a place where His Presence is always with me.  ...grace and mercy are in abundance  ...I am strong and okay and firmly planted on Him.

I want to live in this reality today, Lord.  I want to live with You in this land... my promised land: Your love.  

"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Now, remain in my love." (John 15:9)    Live in my love

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