Free To Be Me
by Sheila Lockhart
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What does it mean to be free? There are several meanings: not controlled or restricted by any external thing, not a prisoner or in slavery, not restricted in rights, not controlled by a ruler, not affected by something stated. I could go on, but the last one takes hold of my attention.
When we learn to not be affected by something that is said to us, then we are totally free. My mom recently stated to me the old cliché, “sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This holds true if we learn to cast down thoughts and imaginations that we know are from the devil. How do we do this? We must balance it out by realizing that words spoken both negatively and positively can be powerful. God spoke words to bring creation into existence and creation speaks for itself. The words that we spoke to or about people can have effect on them. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turn away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Words can either heal or wound, words can determine an individual’s destination in life.
I had to learn this for myself just recently. I am the youngest offspring, the youngest sibling, the youngest first cousin on both the maternal and paternal sides of the family. And many times when a person is the “baby” of the family, everyone seems to want to control that person’s life. The have a tendency to want that person to live up to their dreams and expectations and this is not necessarily done with harmful intent, but at other times it may be done for their own selfish gain. Be it one or the other, it places that person in bondage, because they grow up thinking that they have to meet others expectations and approval. When this happens, that person spends the majority of their life trying to figure out, what is it that I want to really do? They end of wasting years and time failing at trying to achieve another’s dream. I can recall for myself times that I wanted to do other things like my writing for example, but I was constantly told by others, not necessarily family, but outsiders that all that I do is write down my feelings, why can’t I just speak my mind or communicate my feelings. So through hearing this for a majority of my life, I stopped writing and would not even talk about my feelings. I instead bottled up everything inside until the anger caused me to lash out everything that I was feeling. I built a wall of protection around my heart and would not communicate wisely, I felt that I had to curse everyone out or be cynical at their expense. Then there were times later, after Christ, where I felt that I had to be a doormat, and I would just allow people to say things and I would not respond but still built up anger on the inside. But how many of you know that God does not want us to be doormats for people to walk on! I got to a point where I could gently tell a person where to go without offending or I would have to allow the Holy Ghost fire to rise up in me and tell that demon to flee.
The key to all of this is to know that God has your destination planned; He has a purpose and a plan for us. He always has, Jeremiah 1:5 states that. God knew us before we were born and mapped out our plan in life, but with that plan He also gave us a free will. We can either follow His way or follow or own way. His way is to please Him and not man, now do not get me wrong, God does use us as instruments to get a message to others, but what I am saying is that we are to seek Him as the final authority in our decisions.
I have literally found myself hesitating to make decisions for fear of what others would think or say. We just recently acquired a litter of kittens and I have always wanted kittens, but I was hesitant to share this with family members because I knew that they would say something negatively. And of course when I shared, they did, but my response was, my kittens are anointed because I laid hands on them and prayed for their health, safety, and temperance. There are also other situations that God is working in my life that I have not shared with them, but through this all, He has shown me that I needed to be free in this area of being the person in which He has chosen me to be.
I love my family, but I love God more and I have to seek Him for wisdom and direction. I now realize that different people, even within the body of Christ, are at different levels of faith. Not everyone will understand how God is working for me, or how I can remain at peace while going through a major storm. I had to realize that maybe God is using me through this storm to witness His greatness to those very ones who are walking in doubt. Maybe their faith will be strengthened by my miracle.
I must use my innermost vision and put on my peripheral blinders so that I can stay on course and stay focused. I cannot let surroundings distract me from the call and purpose of God. Nor can I let them deter my husband’s along with my own plans that we make for our family and future.
One thing that those of us who are parents and/or older siblings must keep in mind is that we cannot control one’s destiny. We can give advice, when asked of course, but if they chose not to follow that advice, don’t start going off on a tangent or gossiping about them. I have four children, one who’s about to graduate from high school. I would love for them all to study the ministry, but I know that one has to be called to that office and that they each have gifts and talents in which God has ordained for them to use either in the kingdom or in the world. My words of wisdom to them is that wherever He leads them, keep Him first place. I cannot dictate their future to them; my job is to train them up in the Word of God so that it stays with them, and to nurture their dreams while they are still young. Sometimes when we try and smother out their dreams, they become dependent upon us. We’re training them in the way that they should GO and looking forward to spending the rest of our years enjoying each other, seeing their offspring, and how what we have imparted to them manifest in their families.
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