• Barb Lownsbury

Reclaiming Freedom

Updated: May 28

Gently, I pried off the dusty lid of a family photo box. Do you know the kind? Back before everything became digital, when pictures still had to be developed and there was no such thing as deleting. Back when everything was printed out, touched, and lovingly placed in a photo album or a photo box.

I could feel the nostalgia rise as I looked at much younger versions of my children, my parents, friends, and people long since gone. We were happy, young. Full of life. I wasn’t nearly as heavy or unattractive as I thought I was at the time. That picture I thought made me look terrible in hindsight was actually pretty good.

It got me to thinking. How often do I let my fears and insecurities block me from seeing what God is trying to do right in front of me? How often do I miss the moment I’m in because I’m too busy fretting about a future moment that I’m not even guaranteed to experience? I don’t want to be my own worst enemy, constantly criticizing and harassing myself. I want to embrace this moment, now, as God designed it to be.


My photo box was a poignant reminder that time is so short, even in the seasons where it feels long. In this box were also pictures of events I had forgotten; memories that had long since faded. I struggled to recount where I had been or who I was with. What was I experiencing in those moments, I wonder. What compelled me to take a picture back when pictures weren’t disposable?

I want to live life with Jesus like each moment is meant to be savored. A life where there are no longer days and seasons to be endured or swept aside. I want to experience the life Jesus promised me in 1 Corinthians 10:10, a life lived to the full. My guess is you want that, too.

Only here’s the thing: the enemy wants the exact opposite. Jesus made clear the enemy came to “steal and kill and destroy.” Who is the enemy? It’s not some shadowy devil in a red costume and a forked tail. It’s the self-berating thoughts that nag me to no end. The boundary I don’t put into place with someone who consistently hurts me. My lack of self-worth and the haunting belief that I am not enough, even though Jesus showed me I am worth everything to Him—His very life.

So, as I sit here, tempted to mourn the loss of time, to feel badly for what did or didn’t happen in the midst of living life, I remember an important fact. Jesus wins the war. I’ve read to the end of the good book and I know the outcome. Jesus defeats the enemy. Death has no sting. COVID-19 can’t take it from me. My sins and failures can’t take it from me. My achievements won’t qualify or disqualify me. My bank account will be irrelevant.

What will matter to me on that glorious day will be my walk with God. My life will become a picture box I take out with my gracious heavenly Father. We’ll remember the tragedies and the triumphs. The battles I lost and the battles I won. I’ll see the bruised knees and the bruised hearts, the joy-filled smiles and the times of deep growth and power. And every tear will be wiped dry by my Father’s hand, the pain will be wiped away, and He will welcome me into glory.

Today, make a choice with me to embrace your moments. Don’t waste them on self-pity, emptiness and despair. Don’t let anger or fear choke them out. Don’t let the enemy get the best of you. Cling to Jesus and He will cling to you. Remember His promise in James 4:7-10:

“So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. If you do, he will run away in failure. Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up” (NIV/VOICE).


For no matter how many promises God has made, they are yes and amen in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). Make your moments matter!

FOR FURTHER THOUGHT

What are the spiritual enemies that get in your way? What are the negative tapes you keep playing over and over in your head? Write them down right now. I have found most of mine (and most people’s) are tied into fear or lack of worth. I want to challenge you to find 2 new scriptures today that remind you of God’s great love for you, your infinite value to Him, and how is power is enough for you to overcome any obstacle that stands in your way, even death.

Then write or print out those scriptures. Pin them to your landing page. Post them in your bathroom mirror or on the frig where you will see them often. Post them along with mine on our Facebook page. Make space to connect with God and He will come near. The enemy will flee. And never forget the end of YOUR story! While you may lose an occasional battle, God WILL win the overall war (Revelation 21:3-5).


PRAYER

Lord, always you are good. I praise you in the midst of the storm. I praise you in my coming and going. I praise you when I see answers and when I don't. I praise you when things go my way and when things go awry. I praise your goodness, your strength, and your divine providence. I praise you that Jesus makes up my differences and frees me from condemnation and fear, from self-loathing and pain. I praise you in this life and into the next. May I wear your garment of praise today. Amen.


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