Stop hiding behind your rules. If you’re afraid of failure, you’ll hear the voice of a judge telling you that you have to be perfect to be loved. But God says that your failures can show your need for a Savior – Jesus – who only asks you to have faith in Him and His power to make things right in your life. Remember that, if you have a saving relationship with Jesus, you’re not under law but under grace. Your righteousness comes not from your own efforts, but from what Jesus has done to pay for your sins and connect you to God.

Stop hiding behind your intellect. If you fear criticism, you’ll hear the voice of an intellectual telling you that you have to be the best to be loved. But God says that you can find great freedom in not striving in vain to know everything, but instead to focus on knowing more about Jesus every day through a loving relationship with Him. You don’t have to figure everything out, because God holds all things together. When you humble yourself before God and place your trust fully in Jesus, you can gain true wisdom.

Stop hiding behind your dreams. If you’re afraid of missing out in life, you’ll hear the voice of a dreamer telling you that your life won’t start until later. But God says that you don’t have to wait to pursuing your dreams; you can start living them right now when you surrender your dreams to God and ask Him to show you His dreams for you. Once you’ve discerned God’s purposes for your life and which dreams reflect those purposes, rely on God’s unlimited power to help you make those dreams come true.

Adapted from Graceful: Letting Go of Your Try-Hard Life, copyright 2012 by Emily P. Freeman. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mn., www.revell.com.  

Emily P. Freeman is the author of Grace for the Good Girl. Every Sunday night, she leads a small group of high school girls at her house, where they talk about real life, real love, and the God who makes a difference. Emily’s husband, John, is a youth pastor and their live together in North Carolina with their twin daughters, their son, and their crazy dog, Finn. Connect with Emily online at www.ChattingAtTheSky.com.  

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: angels@aboutguide.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.

Publication date: February 5, 2013