The holidays can be a hard time of year as we travel and go back down memory lane. For many, this can mean a lot of stress as we see people we haven't seen in a while or go to a place that brings up memories we've tried hard to forget (high school anyone?). While the holidays are supposed to be such a joyful time, I know for many it's anything but that. The ghosts of the past tend to rise up and taunt us. However, it doesn't have to be this way. God has freedom available to each of us if we'll receive it (John 8:36).
I recently read a book called She is Free by Andi Andrew and it opened my eyes to all the areas of freedom available. We have a gracious, forgiving father that wants to provide complete healing and freedom in our lives if we will seek him. You see the biggest problem is not our past, our family or the holidays- it's the lies that hold us captive as Pastor Andi talks about in her book. In her book, she covers several areas of freedom we need from shame, anger, and isolation to fear, unforgiveness and control.
I think we can all agree there is something we need freedom from in our lives. We each know that specific spot that gets us every time. For me, it was rejection and shame that would creep up at the worst times and it would cause me to see life through that lens. Driving in the town I went to high school in would bring back memories from high school that weren't the best. Getting asked certain questions would cause all kinds of feelings for not being married yet or in a relationship. I thankfully went through a small group at my church to find freedom from my past, but realized it's a constant journey. When Pastor Andi's book came out, I realized I still needed freedom in certain areas of my life and this book gave me the tools through scripture to find that freedom.
Pastor Craig Groeschel said in a recent series, "The devil knows your name and calls you by your sin, but God knows your sin and calls you by your name." I'm so thankful that God forgives and forgets! It's so important that we know the lies from the truth so we can walk fully in the truth God has for us. Andi breaks this down in such a powerful way in her book through raw, realistic stories and ways to overcome. I have freedom now because I see myself the way God sees me and I'm confident in who I am in him.
As you go home this holiday season, be intentional to find freedom in those areas you know cause you pain. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Andi's book because it will assist you on your journey to freedom. I know we all have areas that are difficult and face different things, but choose to lean on God to help your holidays be better this year. Here are a couple steps you can take this holiday season to have a more joyful season:
1. Know your pressure points and seek freedom.
It's important to know the pressure points in your life. We all have them and we all know the things that set them off. We have to be intentional not to let our feelings have the drivers seat. We have to seek God for freedom in those areas by specifically praying over those areas.
2. Look for the good and choose thankfulness.
It's easy to let things get on our nerves or to see other families and wish things were different in our own. However, we have to choose to look for the good in our own situation and family. Tolstoy says it this way, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," which basically means we all go through things and no one is perfect. As Christ followers, we have to choose a different path. We need to have grace and mercy and be thankful for what we have. This doesn't mean you let people walk all over you, but it means you are intentional and see things from a different perspective.
3. Spend time in the word and with God.
The best way to overcome the frustrations through the holiday season is to be in constant connection with God. I used to think reading the word was overly complicated until I began to view it as a resource to what I want to know. God speaks through his word, so I realized I needed to ask my questions to the bible. I often use google and then find it in my physical bible. If I want to know how to deal with anxiety then I look for that in the bible (with google's help). I also have to make prayer and worship a priority in this season. Prayer is just a conversation with God about anything and everything. Worship is my surrender and connection with him to reconnect to what matters most.
I hope this article opened your eyes to some areas that you may need freedom in and I hope you'll be brave enough to seek God to find freedom. It's also important that you find community on your freedom journey and don't do it alone. I know the holidays can be difficult, but I hope this year they will be more joy-filled and full of freedom!
Father, thank you for the freedom that only comes through you. I pray that you will help me to find freedom through you and to overcome the areas of pain in my life. I pray that you will help this holiday season to be full of joy and better than years past. Help me to see things through your eyes instead of the filters I put on my own eyes. I pray you'll help me to be compassionate and find healing from my past. I pray you'll help me to help others find freedom as well. Thank you Lord for your healing power and freedom. In Jesus Name, Amen.
This is not an ad or sponsored post. I truly believe in Pastor Andi Andrew's ministry and this book. Pastor Andi Andrew and her husband Paul co-pastor Liberty Church in New York City. I love their heart for NYC and their mission to reach people for God. To check out Andi's new book, She is Free, click the link below.