Flying

I chose this image to fill my kitchen chalkboard for the next few weeks after a little Pinterest inspiration. At first glance it’s not terribly seasonal. I wondered after hanging the board back up if I should have chosen a Psalm of thankfulness and a giant pumpkin instead. But I know that this is my lesson in gratitude.

I want the reminder each and every day to see forgiveness as freedom: forgiving others, forgiving myself, and living in the grace of God’s forgiveness. For far too long I’ve let the fear of failure keep me from embracing the life I was created to live.

“This fear of rejection drives me hard, eating away at my courage. And so I am cautious in my love. I am timid in my faith. My life tells a small story. I long to be seen, but I feel safe when I’m invisible. So I stay a good girl. And I hide…

I hide behind my mask of performance so people will think I am smart, capable, and put together. I hide behind the reputation I have established rather than trusting an unpredictable Jesus. I hide behind my positive emotions rather than let you see my reality. I hide behind my list of rules so I can check off each one, as if I’m another step closer to God because I’ve followed them. I hide behind my mask of strength because I’m ashamed of my weakness.” – Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl

Slowly and surely those thoughts are transforming. I’m claiming truth even when it doesn’t feel true. His grace is enough. I am enough because of Him.

I am so thankful for the freedom that is beginning to seep into my heart and mind each day. It is freedom that keeps my eyes off of maintaining a perfect image and instead fixed on the One saying, “Follow and be free.”

Which side of the cage are you on?

Following,
Ginger

Graceful Love

Yesterday I mentioned that I have lived most of my life trying to earn the approval of God. I believed I was redeemed, and by no doing of my own. But I also believed that 99% of the time my Heavenly Father was thinking one thing about me: “I’m so disappointed in you.” 

Here’s how it came to a head this summer.

My counselor encouraged me to journal through some of my deepest fears. Here’s the list straight from the journal page:

  1. Fear of rejection.
  2. Fear of failure.
  3. Fear of disappointing others.
  4. Fear that at the end of my life I will be found wanting and faithless.
  5. Fear that I’m not doing or being enough.

These needs and fears keep me anxious, worried, frustrated, and discouraged. They cause me to keep walls up and to continue performing in my relationships with others and with God.

I’m like Sally Field at her acceptance speech for winning best actress. I desperately want to shout, “YOU LIKE ME, YOU REALLY LIKE ME!” 

And yet, somewhere deep inside my heart I’ve known the truth, I just couldn’t take hold of it.

One side of my mind yells: GINGER, you can’t keep the law. That’s not the point. It can’t be done. The purpose of the law is to lead you to grace!

But the other side screams back: BUT you aren’t even really trying! DO MORE NOW!

Pendulum living is depressing. I will admit that freely to you today. For so long I didn’t live aware of God’s grace. My emotional highs and lows were often fueled by the grade that I awarded to my own performance.

And then one morning as I lay in hotel bed in North Carolina I knew I had to get up and pull out my journal again. I pulled back the drapes in the early morning light and fell to my knees in tears. I was just so tired. I felt as though God was speaking freedom to my heart in a whole new way. Here’s what I wrote that morning.

Ginger, will I ever be enough for you? You are all that I want. I just want you- your heart, your dreams, your ministry, your future, your relationships, your words, your comings and your goings. Have I asked you to try harder or did I ask you to come with me and get some rest? Won’t you come and choose what is best… sit at my feet?

That’s your fear, isn’t it? That I’m looking for BEST and you aren’t it or aren’t doing it and if you COULD just read, do, love, serve, give MORE… then I would turn to everyone else and say, “Look everyone! Ginger chose what was best!” That’s what you want, isn’t it. You want my approval.

My child, you have it. You always have. You always have.

Perhaps you also have performance tendencies like me. Friend, we weren’t made to perform. We were made to live in freedom and grace. When we choose to make guilt and shame our daily companions we do not accept the gift of God. Of course, there is the good kind of guilt that leads to repentance, but if you find yourself living out of fear rather than faith, chances are that grace is a vocabulary word and not a lifestyle. I know. I’ve been there for far too long.

But I’m not going back.

“What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.” (Galatians 2:19-21, MSG)

Here’s to grace-filed living…

Following,
Ginger

GRACEFUL GIVEAWAY! Two copies of “Graceful” the book by Emily Freeman are up for grabs this week. Follow this link for details and entry form!

“Instead of holding so tightly to the outcome, I can know that God is with me in the process. Instead of working to be right on my own, I can choose to believe God is gracious toward me. He lives in me, and he wants to flow gracefully out of me in every situation.” (Emily P. Freeman, Graceful: Letting go of your try-hard life.)

An Attitude of Gratitude

Happy 4th of July! 

I’m missing my family back in Texas and our years of quirky 4th of July traditions, but I am also so thankful for my extended family here in Arizona and some new quirky traditions. Either way, I am so thankful for so many freedoms!

I hope you have a fantastic day celebrating!

Tied Up.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m stuck on images of hunger and thirst after my trip. It’s a theme in everything I’m reading, studying, preparing and learning.

Living Water
Cisterns
Portion
Hunger
Thirst
Drink
Eat
Be Satisfied
Well-spring

These words are popping up everywhere. I know they’ve been there all along, but right now they are leaping out from the page and impressing themselves on my heart and mind.

Take the story in Luke 13, for example. In preparation for our trip I read through the Gospels again.When I came across the story I was shocked that I had never read it before, or at least it felt that way.

Luke 13:10-17, NIV (emphasis mine)

“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.”

I don’t know about you, but I am that woman. I am the woman who has been bound by infirmity again and again… eating and body issues, relationships, deep wounds. But I watch Jesus in this story straighten everything out in an instant. He sees her, calls her forward, declares her freedom, touches her and straightens her out to praise God. He has done the same for us, my friends. He saw us tied to the stall of pain and He led us to the water source… The Living Water.

We are declared free from infirmity.

He has called to us.

He has touched us.

And now we are to straighten up and praise God.

Here’s the NLT version of that verse: “Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God!”

If you’re like me, you battle with strongholds (a sin area that keeps you trapped) but you come up just short of claiming the ultimate victory.

Your battle is against the one who would convince you that you are still bound. You are not! You ARE free because of the work of Jesus. Claim that.

Reject the lies. Claim the truth.

I’m doing the same right along-side of you. I’m tired of walking back to a stall when my Living Water is within reach!

Heading for the Living Water,
Ginger

p.s. Thank you to two wonderful friends who have helped me see this story in vibrant colors of victory. Love to M & C. Claiming the truth with you!