Free Like The Wind

Last weekend, I walked home from a conference. The sun was out and shining at last and the sky was beautiful. The wind was out that day, too. It brushed my long hair out-of-place and the loose, black shirt I was wearing flew behind me. And suddenly, I felt free.

I stopped at the park and settled on one of the swings. I rocked back and forth and the wind whipped my hair off my back. I closed my eyes and breathed it all in…the stillness, wind, and sun. I realized that everything that had held me down didn’t matter. I didn’t have to care about what other people thought. The mistakes I’d made had been forgiven. There was no condemnation. I was free.

For months, I’ve felt like a prisoner. I’ve been locked in by the stress and worries of life. The sorrow sweeps me up into a flurry of despair and I feel like I can never be happy. The gossip, the looks, and what I know people would say if they knew, traps me in fear. I’ve felt condemned and have yearned for freedom time and time again.

That day at the park, I felt like I had it for once. I’d had a better-than-normal week. There were difficulties, of course, but I’d gotten through them. I had overcome some fear I’d hidden inside. And that day I’d learned, that I really, truly could be free because there is no condemnation when you have Jesus.

The wind continued to blow and the sun shone brightly. The rocks crunched under my feet as I slowed the swing down. I picked up my Bible and read the passage that had set me free that morning again.

This verse wasn’t just written for me! You can have this freedom, too. Jesus bought you at a price. He paid for your sins. If you are in Him, there is no condemnation for you, no matter what you do. He has freed you.

Choosing Joy

There’s a life-eating-monster I’ve sadly come to know in the past few years. He likes to tell us the lies that we’re not good enough and that we’ll never meet that high expectation of excellence. This monster eats away at our souls and everything that was good is turned to bad. He makes our lives painful where they could be happy. And he abides in the minds of many people, young and old — if they let him. His name is stress and he lives to shatter our joy.

Sound familiar? I hope not, but I’m guessing that it does.  If you’re like me, stress has been the source of many unpleasant days, a thousand tears, and most of all, that horrible mongering, sickening fear of missing the mark. He’s the reason that we cannot be happy.

However, I think I’ve found the cure for this disease or the sword to fight this villain we call stress. I’ve been learning about trusting the Love. I’ve been realizing that He knows all things, even when I don’t. And through all that, I’ve found out that despite stress, it is possible to choose joy.

Perhaps its hard not to give into that stress that we so often feel. Maybe happiness takes more effort. But joy is available. And it is so very much better than choosing the monster. It just takes trust, effort, and making that choice.

So today, let’s kick stress and choose joy. I know that I’m going to make that choice. When the power goes out, I’ll enjoy the apples and bread that we have, play the piano in the dark, walk to Starbucks in the rain, and take silly pictures on the couch. If I’m battling a cold and there’s studying to be done and a Spanish classes to assist in, I’ll make a cup of tea, fill my pocket with kleenex, and enjoy what I can. In the deciding moments when I don’t know which way to go, I’ll celebrate the scholarships and good grades, work hard at what I’m not good at, pray and apply to where I think I need to go, and trust the Holy Spirit with the rest. 

Yes, today I’m choosing joy.