Tag Archives: freedom

free to dance

Today I’m altering costumes.  It’s big show night tonight for my daughter and her outfit is too big.  If you want to dance in something, it needs to fit really well. There’s no time to get the right size, so I’m making a few adjustments.

I’m also wearing clothes that don’t fit properly.  I lost a little bit of weight recently. Not much, just enough in fact to make my jeans fall down if I try to run anywhere.  I really need to find the time to get a new pair of jeans that actually fit me. But until then I’m just getting by with the old ones and making sure I hold onto them if I need a turn of speed.

This theme of badly fitting clothes in my life at the moment reminds me of this verse from Ephesians 4: 22-24

 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (NRSV)

When we chose to follow Jesus and accepted his gift of a new heart and a fresh start, our old ways of living stopped fitting.    It’s as if we have become a totally different shape.  But we often keep wearing bits of our old lives out of habit.  The list in Ephesians is pretty long: malice, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, stealing, harsh words…

Those ways just don’t fit the new you.  You need to break the habit of wearing them.

Firstly: They don’t suit you.  They’re not your colour.

Secondly:  You can’t dance in something that doesn’t fit.

Why not ask God today if you’re still wearing something that doesn’t really fit you.  Something that’s restricting your movement or stopping you from running forward.

It might be something from Paul’s list, or something more difficult to spot, like the negative things you whisper to yourself or  say about yourself, you’ll never amount to anything, you can’t do that or I’m rubbish, I’m useless. Or it might be something hidden away for fear someone will see it.

Ask God, because he has priorities. He knows which thing he wants to help you deal with today. It’s not meant to be an exercise in thinking about all the things which are awful about ourselves, but in asking God to pinpoint the one thing he’d like us to get free from first.

Whatever it is, ask God to help you to take it off. Then accept his all-covering forgiveness and pick up the new clothes that he has for you to wear:

Clothes that fit well enough to dance in.

 

P.S For those of you who’ve noticed – this is painted in acrylics instead of watercolour – a temporary departure!  It’s a favourite of mine and I wish there was a word for the-freedom-generated-by-the-dance.  If there was, that would be its title!

P.P.S Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of Postcards from Heaven. If you have time to go and write a review on the Amazon or BRF listing that would be wonderful x

 

 

 

 

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What does Freedom look like?

I’ve been wondering this week what freedom looks like.  I’m painting a piece for a prayer room around the theme of finding freedom, so the question has been bubbling away all week!  One picture that comes to my mind is this hot air balloon, breaking free from the ropes that held it down and heading into a vast unexplored sky.

Freedom is finally becoming all that you were always meant to be.

The balloon is beautiful.  It is a joy to watch it become slowly inflated with warm air, to see it grow out into its shape, to watch it as it eventually strains against the ropes that tether it to the ground.

At each stage it is wonderful, holding all the potential to become truly itself, to fulfill its purpose, to be all it can be.

And yet, it is not until it is released from the ties that hold it down that it is able to be truly itself, to do what it was designed for.

I listened to a talk recently by one of my favourite authors and speakers, NT Wright.  In it he mentioned about how when people have been sick for a long time we sometimes say that they are ‘a shadow of their former self’.   But, he says, to a follower of Jesus you can say ‘you are only a shadow of your future self, because as you become more like Jesus in the way you think, feel and behave, the more free to be truly yourself you are.

I love that idea so much.  Just like this balloon, being slowly filled and then being released one rope at a time – through your choices you are transformed into his likeness, through his Spirit you are filled with power and as you are cut free from the things of the world that hinder you, you will change,  becoming more like yourself than you have ever been before.

So this postcard is an encouragement, firstly not to lose hope when the journey seems long, but secondly, not to become too accustomed to life on the ground.

Strain towards what is ahead.

Don’t fall for the lie that it’s better to stay safe and uninflated on the ground.  Don’t fall for the lie that you are all that you will ever be. And don’t fall for the lie that some chains just can’t be broken.

You are only a shadow of your future self.

You are designed to fly.

hotairballoonfeat

For Your Journal:

If you’re filled, but not yet flying, maybe you’re not quite free.  Even one rope can have the power to keep you close to the ground.  Take some time to ask God to show you if there are any ‘ropes’ in your life that he wants you to deal with..  Then ask him what it will take to deal with them.  If you need to, go and find someone you trust who can pray with you.