I am heading to the White House to celebrate the 4th of July. For real. Our son, Jonny, is performing there and is bringing me along-my flight and hotel included in the deal. A confession-when we first got the news (along with a request for our social security numbers), I figured it was a scam. It sounded too good to be true. But as it turns out, an alumnus of Jonny's college issued the invite, the social security numbers were needed for security, and it's all legit. I am packing everything that's red, white and blue and can't wait.
Thinking about the 4th of July brings our newest Bible study, Fearless and Free, to mind. So many of us are geographically living in “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” but are emotionally living in bondage and fear. Fearless and Free offers a roadmap for the journey to freedom. But living like this won't come without a fight. If we want to be independent (as opposed to being enslaved by people pleasing, perfectionism, and performance-based worth) we're going to have to fight for our liberty.
President Harry S. Truman once said, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and on an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” All those things are needed if we are going to experience the freedom that Christ offers us. Want some good news? In 2 Timothy 1:7, we're told that we already have what we need: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.”
The Spirit Paul is talking about is the Holy Spirit, who dwells inside God's children. He fills us with the exact same power that raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:20). This is an absolute game changer and courage builder-if we choose to tap into it. But too many of God's children are living in defeat because they are trying to do all that God asks in their own strength. This is like trying to vacuum a room with the vacuum cleaner unplugged. It's frustrating and nothing ever changes. What's the solution? We need to plug into the power source, the Holy Spirit, and we need to do this every day. The best way to check if you're trying to do this on your own or if you are plugging into the power source is to take a look at your prayer life. No prayer? No power.
President Truman also said that we need an “unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” What I propose throughout Fearless and Free is that “the job at hand” is to finally take a look at the state of our hearts and deal with our wounds. To own our stories. To invite God into the mess and allow Him to begin the process of healing. But to embark on this journey requires “an unbeatable determination.”
Why should we bother? What is at stake?
I believe that if we ignore God's call to enter into the process of healing, we will continue to live in fear. This will cause us to live our lives in self-protective mode, which is the opposite of the way Jesus lived.
I believe that many people in America are living in fear, and that is what is behind much of the division we are experiencing. We are afraid of “the other.” If someone doesn't think, look and vote like us, we pull back. Sometimes we withdraw in disgust, other times we feel threatened, but at all times, we close off our hearts. I believe that we can do better than this. We must do better than this.
Pope Francis invites us to build bridges, not walls. Where does this begin? It begins in our hearts. If we don't deal with our own fears, we'll forfeit the freedom God offers us. We'll also ignore the call of Christ, which asks us to go out and rescue others. There is a whole world out there that desperately needs strong women and men who aren't just taking care of themselves. “It's all up to me” is a lie. But so is “I can't do anything about this.”
Praying that we would all live Fearless and Free,