I really didn’t understand everything at the time that it happened. The full reality didn’t unfold immediately. With this kind of internal healing, it’s like a walk of discovery. Only as you move forward do you see the changes.
I remember when I worked as a youth minister, I loved the verse Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ set us free.” I craved that verse, wanted it to be true in my life more than anything but after a while I doubted it was possible. Seemed like my faith walk and life was an emotional roller coaster ride most of the time.
But over the years, as I submitted more and more of my heart to God, He has entered and healed as much as I allowed Him. Go back and read that sentence and see if that’s true for you. Do you limit what God has access to in your heart? Why? Keep reading and see if your answer is the same as mine was.
The conference at Bethel was the near completion (I say near because I believe we are constantly being perfected in our faith, and I in no way want to assume God is done in this area of my life) of a process that started in 2002 to free me of a past full of hurts and rejections that I’d allowed the enemy to use to hold me in bondage.
As I submitted more and asked for more freedom in my life, God was and is faithful. The process is ongoing! I am so radically changed! Sometimes we think we’ve completely submitted to God but He shows us more that He wants access to in order to show us who He created us to be through Jesus Christ, who we always were, are and are meant to be in our identity in Jesus. And very often to restore what the enemy has taken away.
My immediate proof was in the security and peace I felt. Then I noticed that I could look people straight in the eye. I didn’t dart my glance away out of shyness. I WANTED to look at them and I didn’t fear them looking back at me.
Then came our evening worship. I stood, anxious to worship God. My heart was so full of gratitude for what He’d done in me, even though I didn’t fully understand it yet, I knew He’d freed me. The music started and I can only describe it as if my spirit were dancing inside of me. I literally wanted to twirl like a little girl! Where I once used to hesitate out of fear of what others might think, I had not a care of what I looked like. It didn’t matter to me anymore.
At one point I shed the thin black jacket that I wore. Lynn was standing in the aisle a couple rows behind and says it was like witnessing my freedom come to life as I shed a mantle of darkness for God’s freedom. (I’ll let her tell that story if God leads her to.) I only know that I felt like I was dancing before God. I even remember the way I felt as a girl taking ballet lessons and losing myself in the joy of the movement. And now it was again like that elegant dance but this time, all to worship God. More proof of God’s unexpected healing.
And more kept coming. When I returned home and back to my office, all those things I’d been striving for didn’t matter anymore. And I don’t mean that they weren’t important—they are and they have their place in what God is calling me to do. They just didn’t define me anymore. My work for God no longer defined me. My relationship with Him and who He says I am now does. The rest is extra for Him and I to share together and my chance to give to others what He has so generously given me.
My entire world has changed. I used to structure my day by first starting with God, my quiet time of course, and then the rest of my day was about my work. My agenda. Now God is my agenda. I can’t figure out a better way to say it. All the work stuff—what matters gets done. But whatever God has planned for the day comes first.
I used to dread interruptions because they took me away from what I needed to get done. My agenda was priority. I truly wanted to be available to God but didn’t want it to be inconvenient. Now, as I walk through my days, I look for those interruptions! They are sweet times to see God at work in OUR lives (Not just mine. Yours too!) in a very real and tangible way and to be a part of that. To co-labor (love that word!) with God to reach the broken hearts He sets in our path at the most unexpected times.
And I will share one other place in my life that is radically changed. My fear is gone! Yes, that is the most radical area of my healing. Was your answer the same? Does your fear of what God might do or ask you to do limit Him? I know mine did.
My prayer life is very different now as well. I didn’t realize how big of a hold fear had in my life. The enemy had worked layer upon layer of fear in my life since I was a child. And that fear is what kept me from praying boldly and from understanding my authority in Jesus Christ.
Now I am learning to pray boldly in the Holy Spirit and I am seeing breakthroughs and answers to prayers. Areas of conflict in my life in which I normally would avoid rather than face, I now confront confidently and insist it be dealt with. This is an HUGE area for me!
My friends, let me emphasize that I did NONE of this! This is all God. He did this and is doing all this in me. I didn’t work at it, make a plan of action, set up a prayer regiment, or anything like that. I had been praying for God to make me bolder, like Paul. I wanted to be confident in Him and not afraid to step forward or to take a risk. I told God I was tired of being insecure and lacking confidence. What I didn’t realize is that was also part of God’s process in exposing what He wanted to heal in my life.
Please understand, this is about complete submission. My biggest prayer had been for more of God. I wanted more of Him in my life. I wanted Him to BE my life. The amazing thing is, God WANTS to do this in us and give Himself to us.
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! — Luke 11:7
The emphasis in this verse is mine because this truth just stood out to me this week. We miss this last line thinking we get what Jesus is saying, that we are to ask God for what we need. But hear me right how, Jesus is saying the Father wants to give us something better.
God wants to give us HIS HOLY SPIRIT. Not just to indwell us as part of our salvation, Christ living in us. But his very presence!
Because He is all we truly need. The rest will come, just trust Him for it. And I promise you, that may seem like an impossible thing to do, but when we want God’s presence more than anything in our lives—I mean truly crave it—the rest just isn’t as important anymore or you are confident in God’s provision and care.
Let that truth sink in deep, my precious friends. I will have to finish this blog post next week as it seems God had so much more for me to share than I realized. And I dare say next week will have more revelations—one in particular, the mystery of God’s love.
Join me next week and I will tell you what fear and love have in common. The answer just might surprise you. I know it did me.
Know that I love you with the heart of Jesus!