April 12, 2022
Freedom To Feel
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“… where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)
A large canvas of Monet's Nympheas, also known as Water Lilies, hangs in my living room. The artwork depicts Monet’s flower garden at his home. I love this painting. Its magical quality evokes a sense of wonder and imagining. I love things that make me feel something.
But in recent years, feeling things has often seemed more painful than promising, more like a burden than a blessing … just plain hard.
Broken relationships remain. Deep pain needs to be processed. And boundaries must be kept in place. Confusion, fear and doubt threaten my peace. Shame and regret seek to steal my joy. And moments of despairing are all too familiar. I wonder if I will ever feel the warmth of the light on my face again for more than just a brief moment.
But there is also healing — the deep kind that makes me feel fragile and vulnerable.
In our key verse, we see that we have the freedom to feel without fear: “… where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). And so if the Holy Spirit is in us, we are free to express ourselves honestly without fear of rejection, condemnation or shame. Not to do so is like handcuffing ourselves when we've been let out of a prison cell. Or like deciding not to leave when the cell door is opened wide.
Rejecting freedom seems unimaginable when put in those words. And yet this is what we do. We choose to stay incarcerated for fear of exposure. We believe the lie that, if we just keep it all pushed down and hidden away, no one will ever know these things we're thinking and feeling and judge us by them — or worse, identify us because of them. And we even believe this about God.
But let us pause for a moment and consider the alternative: a relationship so safe we can say anything. We can voice exactly what we are feeling in the moment. We can unleash all the thoughts that torment and suffocate us and lay them out, scattered upon the table.
We can speak into the light the unspeakable things the darkness has been telling us and admit that we are even believing them.
And then, having revealed all this, we can look up, instead of down at our feet, to find Him intent upon loving us anyway.
What if we can be this real and authentic even when it makes us feel afraid? What if we can be this way because we know that, no matter what we have felt or said or believed or even how we’ve behaved, we will be seen, loved and cared for the same?
What if this were true? Not just for someone else. But for you.
Beloved, look up. Because it is true.
It’s true for me. And it’s true for you, too. It is true for all who belong to Him.
Dear Lord, my attempts to make myself vulnerable to You are so often tainted with doubt, fear and questioning. I want to surrender and trust You fully. I want to experience the freedom of being known by You intimately. Thank You that You are trustworthy and patient. Help me to know You more so I can trust You more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 139:1-3, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” (NIV)
Psalm 139:7-10, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (NIV)
Shame and fear can often keep our hearts locked up and hidden away from intimacy with God. How might this be true for you? What are some ways you can actively seek to know God better so you can build a stronger foundation of trust in Him?
We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2022 by Kelly Burns. All rights reserved.