Years of Truth and Freedom

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This has been the year of beginnings.

Of opening my clenched fists and letting go.

I've spent a lot of time being scared, saying, 'I can't! I won't! I don't want to!' and hearing God reply, 'you can do all things through My strength.'

It has been a time of cleansing. The bleakness of the winter landscape matches the bleakness of my soul. Delusions, fripperies and pleasing lies have been stripped away. I've been forced to view myself in the hard light of Truth. Nowhere to hide. No more excuses.

I've done a lot of repenting.

This has been the year of doggedly going on. And on, and on.

This has been a year of great beauty. Of creativity, of growing things, of finding just the right words.

This has been a year of struggling toward freedom.

Of learning not to be ruled by the judgments of others.

Of developing new friendships and strengthening old ones.

I've been useful this year. Being useful makes me happy.

I've also been a total jerk...and God seems to love me, anyway.

God is good. And I? Well, I need help.

As I basked in the warmth of a New Year's bonfire, I realized that 2013 was a year of truth. It's been a hard year, because truth hurts. But the truth will set you free.

I'm not in the habit of making New Year's resolutions. If I come up with a good idea, I refuse to wait 'til January 1st to implement it. Also, I'm convinced that, if any true and lasting change is to occur in my life, I won't actually be the one doing the work. God's timing is better than mine, so I prefer to leave my timeline in His capable hands.

But I suppose I can make New Year's prayers. And so this year I pray for freedom.

I've had a vision of myself as a prisoner. The door to my cell stands open. My shackles are broken. But still, I can't muster the courage to rise and walk into freedom. I've been praying (very frankly) about this situation. 'God, I don't have the courage to seize my own freedom. So could You just pick me up and drag me out of my cell?'

Over the last few days, He and I have faced down a few of my fears. I've taken a few tiny, baby steps toward absolute freedom and God has met my faltering advances with an overwhelming kindness. He's dragging me out; sometimes very much against my own will. He is my Father. Christ is my Brother. The Spirit is my Advocate. Through them, I am free, and through them, I will embrace my freedom.

So as the first small hours of 2014 steal away, I cast my fears on the bonfire of His perfect love. I step into a new year, a new start.

I step into a fresh redemption. Mercies that are new each morning.

Freedom to live each day as a joyful, purposeful child of the King.

No more iron bars. No more shackles. No more fear.

May this be the year of the Lord's favor; of healing for the brokenhearted and freedom for the captives.

May this be a year of letting go, of falling free, of trusting Him to catch me when I follow His call to leap the guardrails of my craven humanity and launch myself into the vastness of His glory.

I don't expect freedom to be safe. But I do expect it to be good. Very, very good.

I will say to the prisoners, 'Come out in freedom,' and to those in darkness, 'Come into the light.' They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare. 
Isaiah 49:9