Category Archives: let go

Resentment

Am I the only one this week who feels the loving elbow of God nudging itself somewhat forcefully into her ribs?

 

It’s OK if I’m the only one.  Because I am in a season – or I guess more specifically a valley – where God and I are wrestling out another piece of my broken human spirit.

 

And as of today, this piece now has a name.  Resentment.

resentment 1

Getting to work this morning, the first thing I encountered was a message that exemplifies the spirit of my office – “that’s not my job … that’s your job”.

 

And upon reading that, the dark cloud hanging over my head for a few days (OK, maybe weeks), gloomy yet unnamed, suddenly had a name.  And that name is resentment.

 

What is weighing me down is resentment.  That darkness that creeps a few steps deeper into my consciousness is resentment.  And it is an overall ugliness of mind, tongue, and attitude that wants to consume me like the cloud that covers Pigpen in Peanuts cartoons.

resentment 2

So I never see clearly.

So I never think rationally.

So I never speak grace-fully.

 

And there resentment hangs a black cloud over my head, slowly blowing its breeze of depression and oppression over me.

 

And since I accept the breeze and breathe it in, I am slowly becoming a walking epitome of resentment.

 

I am angry.

I am mad.

I am furious.

I am upset.

I am anxious.

I am frustrated.

I am sad.

I am honestly a little disgusted.

 

I am all kinds of levels of crazy and messed up.  Because I have fed into the spirit of resentment.  I have given it a place.  I have allowed it space.  And therefore it is hindering my race.  I am off-track of God’s purpose and off-course of God’s grace.

 

Because I am letting “it is not my job” and “that is not my problem” attitudes affect me.  I am allowing resentment to come in, sit down, and participate in the day.

 

And this is the boom God dropped on me in just in a few minutes this morning.  God and I had a serious moment when I started seeing all of this clearly and when my angst was given a name.

 

And there was actually a moment of celebration.  Yes, really.  No joke.  Why?

 

Because now I can tame what has been named.  Because now I can claim God’s grace over what has been named.

 

I can now tame – and completely stop – the influence of resentment in my life.

I can now tame – and completely still – my agitated thoughts and careless tongue.

I can now tame – and completely silence – my bad/ugly/hostile attitudes.

 

Because my angst has a name.  And because it does, it is subject to God’s authority.  Philippians 2:9-11 – “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Everything on earth is subject to His glorious name.

 

Including resentment.

 

So now the challenge becomes how do I deal with it.

 

What’s the battlefield?  Every minute of every day of human life.

More narrowly?  The hours spent at work.

 

What’s the victory?

Not letting resentment consume me.

Not letting resentment define my emotional state.

Not letting resentment guide/influence my choices.

 

Because resentment is a valley.

 

And we aren’t supposed to live or stay in the valleys.  We aren’t supposed to bunk down or camp out in the valley.  Because the valley is only a testing ground.  It is the place of decision where we have to decide to put our faith into action.  It is the passageway from one victory to the next.  It is the place where we are strengthened by truth and encouraged by progress to continue our journey.  The valley is where we decide – and then declare – God is faithful and true.

 

So why am I stuck, mired down in resentment?  Because I have forgotten that we have to do what God says and to move in His direction when we are in the valley.  We have to keep moving toward the given way out instead of standing still.  We have to be like David and run in faith with the great hope of grace (1 Samuel 17:48).

 

But I have not been trying to get out of the valley of resentment.  Instead, I have been building walls and stacking them as high as they can go.  I have not been walking through.  Instead, I have planted my feet firmly and refused to move.  I have not tired to be or do better, in any way.  Instead, I have chosen to embrace resentment and wallow in her ways.

 

So what’s the hard truth this time?  Resentment is NOT God’s best for me.  It never will be.  Because resentment keeps me stuck, unmoving and unchanging, in its deadly quicksand-like vise.  Because resentment keeps me from letting go of what does not promote God’s goodness or propel God’s plans.

 

Hebrews 12:1 – “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

 

I am not running toward God.  I am clinging to resentment.  I am weighing myself down with foolishness and trapping myself in resentment’s sinful web.

 

And I own this.  Fully and completely.  Therefore, God’s grace can begin its healing and restorative work.

 

Because resentment cannot hide in the shadows or stay cloaked in darkness once it is named.  It has a name now.  It is known now.  Its effects are seen now.

 

Romans 5:3-5 – “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

 

Now hope can invade all resentment’s spaces and fill me up with grace.

Now hope can begin a new work.

 

Yes, I am still in the valley.

Yes, I am still finding resentment in spaces within my heart.

 

But God is with me.

God is for me.

God loves me.

 

So one day very soon I will be able to triumphantly declare my victory over resentment!

 

Marie Fremin.  5/18 and 5/21/17

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Love Your Neighbor

Love.

 

We use the word frequently and without discretion.  We use it to describe people, places, experiences, and possessions.  We use it to express a variety of emotions in response to the moment.

 

But God is specific when He says love people.  Jesus commanded it, and His disciples quoted it repeatedly:

  • John 13:34 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
  • Matthew 5:44 – But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you
  • Matthew 22:39 – And the second [great commandment] is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
  • Mark 12:33 – And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
  • Romans 13:8-10Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
  • Galatians 5:14 – For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • 1 John 4:7-8Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
  • 1 John 4:11-1211 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
  • 1 John 4:20-2120 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Love Your Neighbor

What does this mean?  We have to love people at all times, in all places, through all difficulties.  We have to love people as God loves them.  Which means at all times.  In all circumstances.  When they are angry and obnoxious.  When they are wrong.  When they are abusive.

 

Because everyone is a son or daughter of God, whether they acknowledge Him or not.

Because everyone matters to Him, whether He matters to them or not.

Because God sees the heart He lovingly formed (1 Samuel 16:7, Psalm 139:14), not the hurt they have caused.

 

To love.  To forgive.  To reconcile.  To be at peace.  With all people.  Jesus says it is the second most important thing we are called to do.

 

But it is hard.  I struggle with this.  DAILY.

 

Because I want to repay people wrong for wrong, hard word for hard word, sneak for sneak, and bad attitude for bad attitude.  I want to lash out and slap back.  I want to yell and fight.  In my head I have numerous conversations where I do all these things and come up with a lot of put-you-in-your-place retorts.

 

And my problem is that I don’t let is go quickly or easily.  I allow it to take over my thoughts and emotions.  I allow it to speak a harsh diatribe in my head whenver I see the person.  I allow it to invade my peace and steal my ability to forgive.

 

I know it.  I recognize this dysfunction in myself.  I hear its footsteps in my thoughts.  I taste its bitter feel on my tongue.  I feel the stone wall being erected in my heart.  I know my ability to love languishes.  My capacity to forgive fades away.  My ability to be compassionate is chased away.

 

I am currently going through this now with someone in my life but not close to my heart.  Every time I see this person, I feel myself change into someone I don’t want to be.  I feel myself tense up at the thought of expelling my frustration.  I feel myself skirting toward the edge of temptation to lash out in retaliation.  I feel myself sticking out my tongue and making obnoxious gestures after the person walks by.

 

This makes me human.  And it points to my need for the Savior to continue His work on my heart.  Because I need an attitude adjustment.  Without a heart transplant – where Jesus fills up my holes, waters my dry places, and mends my broken spots – I cannot live up to my spiritual obligation to love.  To love people as much as, if not more, than I love myself.

 

So I will continue to pray that I can live above my emotions and beyond the moment to be someone who can love her neighbor.  At all times.  In all circumstances.  No matter how my feelings are trying to guide me in the wrong direction.

 

Because my goal is to be a Romans 13:10 girl, a person who lives by this guiding force: “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law”.

 

Because harsh thoughts cause harm.

Because harsh words cause hurt.

Because harsh feelings cause hatred.

 

And these things don’t allow us the opportunity to think beyond the emotion.  To consider anything (positive) beyond the moment.  To offer grace instead of growling back.  To extend forgiveness and forfeit revenge.

 

It is hard.  Again, I struggle.  DAILY.  But thank God I am a work in progress and each day I get a new opportunity to love.  To love my neighbor – anyone I come in contact with – as much as, if not more than, I love myself.  To love.  At all times.  In all circumstances.  No matter what someone throws at me, right or wrong.

 

And daily I pray I take advantage of every opportunity He gives me.  So my heart softens, my heart opens, and my heart loves.  Willingly.

 

Because every day I will have the chance to love my neighbors.  And I want to be ready!

 

 

Help me, Father, to see people the way You see them.  Help me to see them through Love’s eyes, which see the heart and not the behavior.  Help me to see the potential, the poetry, and the possibilities You have embedded in each person.  I pray You continue to soften my heart against anger, retribution, and harsh words.  Help me to replace my negative reactions with Your influence of love and grace.  It is hard, since I am human, but thank You Father that You are not – and so You walk with me to help me.  Replace my words with Your love, my reactions with Your grace, and my anger with Your forgiveness.  For to truly love my neighbors, I need to be an extension of Your love … which means replacing all my human frailties with Your divine sureties.  Fill my human holes, my human emotions, and my human limitations with Your divine power, divine insight, and divine grace.  In Jesus’ almighty name.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin. 4/17, 4/18, and 4/24/16

I Don’t Know

For the last two weeks, I have felt like I am stuck in the middle of a maze. Unsure of where I am and uncertain of where I need to turn. I feel like I was making good progress and going with God’s flow while considering the possibilities of where He would lead. Then BAM! I turned a corner of the maze and hit a dead end.

 

So I backtrack to the last sure place and try again. A few more steps, and I hit another dead end. So I turn back again and try another direction. A few more steps, and I hit another dead end.

I Don't Know 1

So now I am standing in the middle of the maze. Feeling lost, confused, and stuck. And so I look up to God, who sees beyond all the dead ends, and I ask “which way do I go?” – because I don’t know.

 

I don’t know if I should stay straight or turn left or right.

I don’t know which direction leads to the exit.

I don’t know how many more dead ends I have to face before I find my way out.

 

And I feel God nudge me that I have found the right answer in saying “I don’t know”.

 

Because I truly don’t know. Which means I either try to figure it out for myself – and possibly stay lost for hours – or I trust Him to guide me out. For God sees me, and God sees the exit. And God knows the steps I need to take to get out of the maze. And God is trying to get me to turn in the right direction – following Him – so He can lead me where I need to go.

 

Because I do not have all the answers.

Because I cannot see above the maze or beyond the walls in front of me.

Because I can keep making wrong turns for a while.

 

But instead I choose to say “I Don’t Know”. And I what I find is that “I Don’t Know” is the starting point for God. To move. To speak. To guide. To encourage. To impart. To send.

 

“I Don’t Know” is the place where my humanity and limited perspective meets a supernatural and unlimited God.

 

“I Don’t Know” is the place where I (need to) pause. To seek God. To ask God. To learn. To listen. To wait. To pray. To be still. To trust.

 

Because I need someone to help me, to turn me, to guide me, and to direct me.

 

And when I choose to say “I Don’t Know”, I open the door for God to start moving – for me, in me, and through me. Because “I Don’t Know” is my starting point. For answers. For direction. For a miracle. For revelation. For my destiny.

 

I don’t know what tomorrow will look like. He has a good plan.

I don’t have many answers. He has them all, and He will reveal them as I need to know.

I don’t know which direction to turn to walk with Him. He will guide me.

I don’t know what to say to encourage someone’s faith. He will give me the words.

I don’t know how the dream in my heart will come to pass. He is working it out.

 

I don’t know how to let go and forgive the hurts of my past. He does, and He is walking me toward forgiveness and reconciliation.

 

I don’t know how to always treat people compassionately and fairly. He does, and He is teaching me to walk in love at all times.

I Don't Know 2

So I need to come to the place where I don’t know, and He will meet me there. He will walk with me. He will teach me. He will give me peace, joy, and hope. He will help me to be thankful for all things. He will shower me with grace.

 

And then He will fill me with compassion, to help point others to their “I Don’t Know” epiphany.

 

So I don’t know. But God does. He sees me, no matter where I am. He knows right where I am. No matter how many wrong turns I take. No matter how stuck I feel. No matter how long I wander. And He loves me unconditionally through it all.

 

So I will say “I Don’t Know” and hope in the One who does. Because He will make sure I get out of the maze – either taking me turn-by-turn or by creating a door in the dead end.

 

So I don’t know. I will consider the possibilities in front of me, yet I will trust God to guide me in the right direction. I will believe God to turn me in the right direction. I will stand confident that God will show me the right direction. And this will leave me open and flexible to whatever way God sends me.

 

I don’t know, and that’s the best place for me to be. How about you?

 

Marie Fremin, 1/31/16

Forgiveness is NOT Optional

Is it just me, or does everyone else feel like he/she is constantly being bombarded by offense? Persistently being chased by aggravation? Always being assaulted by annoyance?

 

Aggravation is inevitable. Because God knows we need these things in our life. To learn patience. To practice kindness. To walk in love. To find joy and peace in the midst of all circumstances.

 

But most importantly? To extend forgiveness.

Forgiveness is NOT Optional

Because forgiveness requires a full dependence on God to change our heart and soften our emotions to someone who treated us unfairly. Who abused and hurt us. Who ignored us. Who belittled us. Who abandoned us. Who disappointed us (regularly).

 

No matter what happened, we are called to forgive. Commanded to forgive. Commissioned to forgive. Because God says forgiveness is not optional. It’s not a suggestion.

  • Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25-26 – “14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
  • Matthew 18:21-22 – “21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
  • Luke 6:37-38 – “37 Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
  • Luke 7:44-47 – “44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
  • Luke 11:4: – “And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”

 

So it’s not optional. Just as we have been forgiven for every bad thought, bad decision, wrong emotion, and wrong judgment, so too are we supposed to forgive everyone who hurt us. Offended us. Wronged us. Because that’s what His Cross is all about. A love so big and so epic that it forgives everything. Colossians 2:13-14 says “… He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses … He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

 

So God says we have to forgive. No choice about it. But sometimes it just isn’t easy.

 

Sometimes forgiveness is a process. You can start by saying the words “I forgive you” every day and at every resurfacing of the memories. And you keep doing it. And one day you’ll find that pretty soon they have taken root and aren’t just words. You have truly forgiven.

 

And it’s SO important to forgive.

 

Because you do it for YOU. When you don’t forgive, you are only hurting yourself. You are keeping yourself in bondage to the pain. You are keeping yourself from moving forward. You are stealing the future and its joy from yourself.

 

Because forgiveness is freedom to live life to its fullest. It opens the doors to God’s opportunities, and it gives you the ability to walk through them freely and unencumbered. Because you aren’t weighed down by your pain or held back by the burdens of the past. You become a victor, filled with power, instead of a victim, fueled by pain.

 

Because forgiveness is healing. Forgiveness heals fully and finally the wounds from your past that you keep rubbing and picking. No more painful scars or itchy rashes. Just the evidence of His grace filling your empty spaces and hurting places and redeeming all your tears. So you are whole – body, mind, and emotions – and ready to follow Him. And then your scars become testimonies of His grace and His love that others can see and benefit from.

 

Because He wants His best in your life, and unforgiveness stops it from coming to you. It is so natural to want to hold onto and hoard our hurts. But it is so counterproductive to what God wants to do. It is so harmful to our spiritual life. It literally eats us up from the inside out. It keeps us off balance so we never let people get close to us. We even hold God off at a distance. We’re not quite right in our behavior and our reactions. And forgiveness will break every chain that keeps us from God.

 

Forgiveness needs to happen, whether there is an apology or not. Because forgiveness is about us being free of an unmanageable burden. Because forgiveness brings overflowing grace that is bigger than any abuse, bigger than any pain, bigger than any shame. Because forgiveness is necessary if we ever want to make progress and grow.

 

So decide to let go and move forward.

Let God be good, faithful, and true in your story.

Let God enhance your life with freedom and joy.

Rise above your trial and choose the better way.

 

We will all be defined by something. Let it be God and not unforgiveness. Let it be God and not your past. Let it be God and not your offense.

 

For what we let God define He will refine. For your good and His glory.

 

Let today be the day you choose forgiveness. Let today be the day you (start to) forgive. Let today be the day you (begin to) let go.

 

For when we open our hands from holding onto the hurt, our hearts immediately open to God and His goodness. And what we think will be a great effort to forgive will become effortless. Because His grace will enable you to forgive completely.

 

So let today be the day that you allow God to change your life for the better. You will never regret that decision!

 

Marie Fremin. 1/10, 1/16, 1/19, 1/23/16

 

Give Me a Break

Give Me a Break

I seem to think this a lot as I remember events and replay conversations of the past. When thinking about conversations had, I think about what people said and what they implied. And when I remember how they were wrong, I think to myself “give me a break”. In other words, get your facts straight before you point your finger. Get your act together before confronting. Get your ducks in a row before you start something.

But we as humans often don’t. We judge. We assume. We jump to conclusions. We ignore obvious facts. And all because we need to be right. We know we’re right. We couldn’t possibly be wrong.

So we roll our eyes and cast judgment on those who blame us, accuse us, shame us, hurt us, and use us. We wish these people would just leave us alone, think before speaking to or about us, or just get a clue. We just want them to give us a break.

And then, if we’re really following God, in those moments He gently says to us “give Me a break”. Oh no. What could He mean by that?

He means to think positive, happy, uplifting, praiseworthy thoughts (Philippians 4:8).

He means to let it go and not hold a grudge – to forgive fully and finally (Matthew 18:22).

He means to look inward and deal with anything you can change within yourself (Matthew 7:5).

He means to watch your words and be careful what you speak (Ephesians 4:29,31).

He means to be purposefully careful and loving in what you say and do (Ephesians 4:2,32).

He means to trade your burdens and anger for His peace and edification (Matthew 11:28).

He means to transform your opinions and ideologies toward truth (Romans 12:2).

He means to choose to bless someone instead of spite them (Romans 12:14).

He means to allow God to handle judgment and consequences (Romans 12:17).

He means to “overcome evil with good” with positive attitudes (Romans 12:21).

He means to choose peace and walk in peace, no matter what comes at you (John 14:27).

He means to remember that love is always the best choice (1 Corinthians 13:7).

He means to step outside our hurt, our indignation, our pain, our shame, our embarrassment, our anger, our pride, and our self-righteousness to choose something better than our emotions. He means to step outside that moment to see the bigger picture, to maybe connect with where the other person is coming from. He means to overcome our prejudices and pride to see beyond the current flash of emotions to have the right reaction. He means to step outside the moment to consult with Him, to pause and pray before speaking any harsh word or condemning criticism.

Ouch!

God and I are working on this day by day, and it’s a process. A hard process.

Because in the moment it is so easy to jump to conclusions and rock the boat of peace to be right. To be quick to speak and slow to think. To feel justified in proving someone else wrong. To be overcome by self-righteousness and justify/defend your actions. To condemn and criticize to feel better about yourself.

Ouch again!

So what’s the answer? Recognize these unholy things within you and give them to God. When you are tempted to follow them down an unrighteous path, stop and pray. Ask God to renew your mind and energize the new man within you to not knee-jerk react. Believe God will put a guard over your mouth to keep you from speaking out of turn. Call upon God to replace any negative and unholy thoughts with loving and edifying thoughts. Decide it is time to be different and then act/react differently that you want to (feel).

When’s the best time to start? Now. Right this minute. As soon as possible.

And the minute you decide to change your mind, God will give you the opportunity to put your walk where your talk is. He’ll allow you to walk through a situation where you will have the opportunity to put your new resolutions to the test. To see if you can be faithful and true to what you say you believe.

And in the meantime, give yourself a break. Know you are human and will make mistakes. Remember that God is working through you to produce spiritual maturity and absolute faith in you. Because failure is never final. God will give you another chance to get it right, because He loves you too much to leave you the way you are or where you are. He wants to see you grow, blossom, and produce spiritual fruit. It starts with recognizing where you need His help and then repenting for where you missed His mark (of love).

And once you can give yourself a break, you’ll be more able to love people and give them a break.

So give me a break. Give yourself a break. And give everyone around you a break. Then you will see the full faithfulness of God infuse you with “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, [which] will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). And you will be able and willing to walk in grace to anyone and everyone. And who doesn’t need more grace?

Marie Fremin, 10/17/15

Stop Pushing, Start Flowing

Self-propelled lawnmowers are a great invention. With one lever, all you have to do it guide the mower. It will do everything else.

I forgot to engage the self-propel lever last time I cut the grass. I forgot it was there, so I had a hard time getting the mower up the hill. What a difference it made when I remembered it was there and activated it. I went from doing 90% of the work pushing the mower to merely guiding the mower where it needed to go.

This is exactly what we as humans do. We go and do – and keep on – until we wear ourselves out. We think we need to control every detail, every emotion, and every situation. We feel like we need to hide our real emotions, bite our tongue from speaking (simple) truths, and speak only things that will be acceptable to society (being politically correct). We live in self-propel mode, just trying to get through each day with some of our dignity intact.

Stop Pushing

But God says there is a better option than the self-propel option available. His strength!

God wants us to trade our busyness, our self-righteousness, our do-it-yourself attitudes, our emotional upheavals, our weaknesses, our mistakes, and our shame for His strength. His desire is “to give [us] beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3). He wants to take everything that is wearing you out and running you ragged and dragging you down – and give you His grace, peace, and rest instead.

Why? Because He loves us. That’s the core of it. Everything He wants to give us and instill in us is because He loves us. For no good reason other than we are His children.

And His love is the foundation of the life change you so desperately need. Allowing Him to love you leads to bigger and better things. It’s the beginning of a new life, a new attitude, and a new outlook.

How can that be? Because it worked for Paul. When Paul begged God to remove his obstacles and challenges, God said no. But not because he didn’t love Paul or want to change Paul. It’s because He did. Because it was only when Paul came to the end of himself and stopped living in self-propel mode that God was able to reach in and begin working. Why? “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

It’s only when we stop living in self-propel mode that God can reach into our situation, our shame, our difficulties, our bad attitudes, and our challenges to help us, guide us, and free us.

He asks us to “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden.” He’s asking you to come with everything you are, everything you’ve experienced, everything that’s hurt you, and everything that bothers you. And what do you get in return? He promises that “I will give you rest … you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30).

What does this rest look like? I think Isaiah 40 gives a great idea – “29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).

No need to be self-propelled. No need to hold onto hurts. No need to do anything but trust God with every minute of every day. How freeing that life would be!

So where does it start? With us coming to God with all of our self-propelled things. Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Boldly. Without fear of repercussions. Without judgment. Without fear of being rejected or turned away. Without worry of being unworthy. Without all our self-propelled ideologies.

Boldly. With confidence. With self-assurance. With trust. With hope. With joy. With strength.

So what’s the point? We aren’t designed to live in our strength, effort, or energy.

We’re to give all we are and all we need to do to Him. To sort out our priorities. To be infused with His strength. To be equipped and encouraged to go. To be reminded of the importance of walking in love.

We were created to be dependent on Him. Not independent. Not self-dependent. Not self involved. And definitely not self-propelled.

Remember how I started by saying “With one lever, all you have to do it guide the mower. It will do everything else”? That’s what faith is. All you have to do is trust God, and He’ll give you everything you need to live daily life. No more living in self-propel mode. No more relying only on yourself.

Are you ready? Will you trust Him today? He’s waiting for you.

Marie Fremin, 7/5/15 and 7/9/15