Shame or Freedom

i am leaving home today. i am currently sitting in my bed drinking coffee and enjoying a slow morning. i've been home for three weeks and it's been really hard and full and slow. i have learned a lot and i've cried a few times and i've watched more movies than i can count. Despite how miserable it has been at times, home has been exactly what i needed it to be.

If you know me at all, you know that i think a lot. If you don't know me-- i think a lot. i'm talking an unhealthy amount of internal processing is happening in my brain at all times. Even as i write this, i am thinking about a handful of other things (currently: the way that my fingers can find the keys without looking and how nice the sound is). i think while i'm reading, talking, or listening. My brain was made by my Creator to do wonderful things for His glory. If i didn't think this much, i wouldn't be as intentional as i am with the people i love, nor would i be a writer. i am at a point now where i am thankful for the way my brain has been designed, but that's not how my time at home started. 

i left camp with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart. The ending of that chapter was hard because it meant leaving some of my favorite humans on the planet and coming home to no one. i am introverted and i love spending unending hours with my only companion coming in the form of a book, but coming home was something else. i was feeling a lot and i was exhausted and reading didn't sound enjoyable and between here and there, i allowed myself to fall victim to the lies in my brain. 

This summer i learned about freedom. i experienced what it feels like to live completely free and it was beautiful. i would lay in bed at night in awe of how joyful i was and how excited i was about the gospel. i laughed all the time and my eyes were bright and i felt loved, because i finally believed that i was worth loving. i no longer doubted that people meant it when they told me that they loved me and that is supernatural healing that only occurred by God's grace. It was so good. 

Coming home, i learned what it would feel like to have that freedom taken away. i could sugarcoat my feelings, but we don't have time for murky honesty. i felt worthless and lonely and forgotten and lazy and trapped. i didn't laugh or talk to people or leave my house. i no longer had a job; i only had to rest. Because i think so much, rest normally comes in the form of sleep because when i'm sleeping is the only time i'm not thinking. i, unlike many of my peers, have not lost the ability to sleep until noon and when i first came home, i slept through half of everyday. i fell into an unhealthy pattern and allowed the lies to become louder than truth. i allowed the undercurrent of mental illness to manifest itself in my everyday. My pride was too big to admit that i needed people, so i didn't. By allowing myself to fall victim to the lies, i was weakly attempting to put the chains back on myself that God had broken this summer.

But that's not how the gospel works.

Those chains don't fit anymore. 

Jesus always wins and His victory is mine. 

After about a week of misery, Jesus used my best friends (both of which are at least five hours away from me) and His Spirit to show me His light. On a Sunday afternoon Jesus revealed layers of "why" i was feeling so defeated and He brought me to a place of surrender. So often we allow ourselves to fall victim to lies because they are more comfortable than truth. It is so much easier to wallow in self pity than it is to fight to believe that we are who our Maker says we are. 

When Jesus came to earth, He was fully God and fully human and that's something that we can't concept but it's true. The Gospel, to the world, doesn't make sense but that's why it is such good news. When i was laying in bed allowing myself to feel low and unwanted, i was denying the work that Jesus did on the cross. He came to set the captives free, to take our burdens away and offer us continual rest in who He is. He paid the cost of the sin that i was making myself a victim to. This summer i experienced that rest for all that it is worth. This month, i allowed reality to become blurred in the enemy's attempt to steal what is mine. 

i am a child of God who has been redeemed and set free from sin. No matter how hard i try, i cannot put those shackles back on because i am new; they don't fit anymore. 

Jesus has given us the incredible gift of grace. His grace has given me the ability to take the lies in my head and flip them to what is true. It is a new habit and it is shaky, but it makes me smile a lot more often than i did before. He wants us to believe the truth about ourselves more than we do. 

Everyday we get to choose whether or not we are going to embrace the gift of freedom that we have been given or to falsely live in shame. Let me tell you, freedom feels a lot better than shame. Allowing truth to make its home in my brain has been wonderful. The Gospel is simple and beautiful and it is our everyday story. We get to wake up and belong to the Maker of the universe. We get to be free and we get to love and be loved and we don't have to give the lies the power that they want! The world will tell us differently; the world will tell us that we aren't good enough or that we need to feel the weight of that mistake we made that one time, but the world is wrong. The only thing that we need to feel the weight of is the love of God. 

Today marks the end of this mini-season that i have lived at home. Three weeks of finding Jesus in the home that i've grown up in has been such a full experience and though it has been hard, i am thankful. We are all works in progress and my story is being lived day in and day out just as it should be. i am walking into a new season of life and there is nothing short of abundance ahead of me, because the abundant life is what we have been promised.