January 12, 2012

Let Freedom Ring.

Can I be honest with you?

I am a people-pleaser. And a peace-maker. They sound like a good combination, right? I don’t like to disappoint or hurt the people in my life and when I do, I have no pride in apologizing to make it right and restore the relationship. But I also often speak without thinking, which means I apologize a lot. And I over-analyze conversations and blame myself for saying things that did not really cause strife, so I often apologize without a real reason to do so. Which leaves me feeling like all I do is apologize.

And I’m a pastor’s wife so I feel the burden, real or imagined, of the implications of the role, impossible as they may be to meet and yet impossible to ignore.  And because I want to be helpful and make people happy, I tend to volunteer to do things I really don’t want/have time/feel called/desire to do.

And I worry. I worry that I am not a good wife. I worry that I’m not a good mother. I worry that I am not a good friend/daughter/Christian/person/name-the-role, I worry. And I worry not only for my sake but for the sake of anyone who may possibly be looking at me for advice, example, or leadership.

Do you ever feel this way? Please say I’m not the only one…

Lately God has bombarded me with a theme…a thought that keeps creeping into my readings of Scripture, blogs, and devotionals…a driving force that threatens to shape my year and direct my path for the next twelve months. And as I wrestle with Sharon Jaynes’ challenge to stop asking God “What do you want from me?” and begin asking Him “What do you want for me?” the fuzziness begins to lift and the word begins to take shape. He has given me a WORD.

Would you be surprised that my word for this year is FREEDOM?


Freedom from impossible expectations.

Freedom to accept that I am doing the best I can every day. I am prayerfully, carefully, thoughtfully, analytically the best mother/wife/friend/daughter/person/Christian that I know how to be. Freedom to seek to grow, and to learn, and to change but only as He guides, believing that who I am is enough for today and letting go of the worry and the guilt.

Freedom from trying to please everyone.

I have a big heart, a big mouth, and a lot of flaws. I am deeply loyal and deeply selfish all at once. But I was fearfully and wonderfully created as were you. You may like me or love me or not be able to stand me but Christ is giving me the freedom to live to please the only One whose approval matters, believing wholeheartedly that as I do, I will love you, treat you, and commune with you in the ways that He intended.

Freedom from over-extending myself.

Freedom to prayerfully consider opportunities to take on ministries, volunteer for causes, and accept invitations. Freedom to say no without feeling like I’m letting you down, or damaging our relationship.

Freedom from my need to control my world.

Freedom from my own self, from my need to plan, to organize, to make sure everything is in place, to control my environment. Freedom to let go of the fears that affect my relationships and rob me of joy. Freedom to find the beauty in flexibility and the trust that it implies not to always know what will happen next but to know the One who holds my tomorrows.  

Freedom to explore my relationship with Christ on his terms.

It is not a checklist, it is not a set of dos and don’ts. It is a relationship. An intimate, loving, peace-full relationship. Freedom to find out what He has in store for me this year without worrying about doing it “right” or getting it “right.” Freedom to let Him define what "right" means for us.

Freedom to fully explore the question that started it all:

Lord, what do you want FOR me this year?

Has God given you a word this year? If you want to read more about 2012 WORDS read what these four amazing women have to say.

Heather at Every Day Evans has chosen to serve.

Natalie at Mommy on Fire is seeking self-control.

Sarah at The Best Days of My Life is also praying for freedom.

Michelle at Graceful is learning about surrender.


Deborah said...

I like this idea. I'm trying to figure out what my word should be - I'll let you know if I find one.

In the meantime, I was remembering a time when I wrote a post you thought was directed at you (about sleep), and you felt bad for making me angry. It was a few months ago, but I just wanted to make sure that you know not to worry. I love getting your comments.

I hope you succeed in winning some freedom for yourself.

Gaby said...

Thank you, Deborah. And thank you for being a faithful blog-friend!

Mary Jo Brunner said...

Oh dearest. This is simply PERFECT ... and that "freedom from trying to please everyone" has been my life's quest... I totally get that. (We dreamers and talkers with our "big hearts and big mouths and lots of flaws" seem to get all tangled up in it all, don't we?!) You are in my prayers, love. SO glad that we have "met".

Jen Ferguson said...

I'm so excited about this word for you. There is so much promise, so much to gain, and so much that you get to lay down.

My word is cultivate!

Gaby said...

I know! I read your post (I'm sorry I forgot to link it. I was trying to remember who all had written on words). I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for you.

Gaby said...

Hey! Thank you for your encouragement, sister. I love this community we create with our experiences. Thank you for your prayers also.

heather said...

GREAT word! I can definitely see how God is going to get glory through your freedom in 2012. datesoonplease???

Sticky Rice said...

Wow. When I read your opening paragraph it felt like you were describing me! (My first line in this comment was actually apologizing that I have read your blog before but not commented...yes, I deleted that. :) ) The idea of what God whats FOR as opposed to FROM gives me much to think about. Thank you.

Gaby said...

I know! How liberating to ask this new question, isn't it?!

Wordsonwheels said...

Gaby, what a WONDERFUL word for the year. I can relate to all of the things that you mentioned and need some freedom from them myself. I love the outlook and the way you wrote this all out.

I have a color instead of a word. It's the color yellow, and it reflects my mission for 2012 which is merely to look for the sunshine.

Kathleen Jaeger said...

" And I worry not only for my sake but for the sake of anyone who may possibly be looking at me for advice, example, or leadership.

Do you ever feel this way? Please say I’m not the only one…"

You are not the only one!! I love your word and the freedom from all of these worries that it will bring. The verse the Lord has brought to mind a bunch for me has been Jer. 29:11 ...I know the plans I have for you...-plans for a hope and a future...

I've been pondering if the word for my year is hope.

Thanks for your insightful post.

waaoms said...

Great word for the year 2012! I posted about my word on my blog if you're interested in reading it! :)

Claire Rose said...

Love your word!-I am your newest follower from Layla's party-Stop by for a visit!