Sunday Sheep Ponderings – May 29,2016

Pondering today on “freedom”.
We live in a free country and for that, I am extremely grateful! But freedom isn’t really determined by a system of government is it?
Are you free? 
I am on a journey back to freedom. “Back” to freedom you ask? Yes, because I was born free. I was born without the chains of performance, people pleasing and religion. I danced and sang and played and imagined and laughed with no thought of anything else except the joy of just “being.”
Then from an early age, we are conditioned to perform. We get praised and applauded when we measure up and we get punished and rebuked when we fall short. We are constantly sized up and measured at every step along the way. Our joy slowly begins to be overshadowed by the desire to fit in and be accepted. 
I struggled for most of my life with performance and perfectionism. I think this is very typical of first- born, high achievers. So many hopes, dreams and expectations are heaped on our fragile little shoulders. Don’t ask questions, just do as you are told.
But thank God, the story doesn’t end there! It IS very possible to shake free from all those expectations that weigh you down. It’s a process and I’m not saying it’s easy BUT it IS worth it! AND you are not alone on the journey! Christ is IN you and FREEDOM is why Jesus came! 
So today, ask yourself? Am I truly FREE? 
Am I afraid I don’t measure up? Am I worried that if I stop saying “yes” to things that people may not like me? Am I constantly feeling pressure to keep up an image? Do I measure success on what others think of me? Am I afraid to ask “why”? Do I feel like my kids and my marriage define me? Do I go to church or read my bible because I am “supposed” to? Do I ever think “that’s what a good Christian would do”? Am I trying to gain the approval of people? And more importantly am I trying to gain approval from God?
My friends! I have the very best news! You are accepted and loved exactly as you are! You are created in the image and likeness of God! You are designed to be uniquely you! You are a masterpiece like no other! You are the only you there has been, is or ever will be! So just “be” you! 
You were created to be free so start your journey BACK to freedom! There may be people along the way that resent your freedom and they may try to put their chains around you, but just keep your eyes on the prize. Mostly, there will be people along the way that see your freedom and it stirs something deep in them, something they used to have and long to get back. Then my friends, you can turn around, extend your hand, and show them the way. I don’t think there is anything more satisfying than “setting captives free” and leading people back to their true selves. 
Happy Memorial Day my friends! Celebrate your freedom! Dance, sing, imagine , laugh and just “be”! 
Galatians 5:1

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

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