“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
If I were to give you one word explaining the reason why I blog, without a doubt it would be: freedom. It is and always has been the root of my writing. This is because I’m so over expectations. Expectations hold us to the idea that if anything goes the opposite way of which we foresee, we get angry, sad, depressed, and anxious.
It’s funny, when I first started dating-to-marry (some call this courting), I expected flowers, romance, and lots of affirmation. When I didn’t get this, wow was I upset! I literally thought that he didn’t love me because he was not filling my expectations. There were a few times that I wondered if this would be his last fighting chance. Phew. I sure had some knots of worry and distrust to work out of my heart.
Eventually this guy (who is now my husband), ended up proposing which definitely proved how serious he was about me. All this to say, setting expectations can and will hold us in a type of prison. I want to tell you what freedom looks like and what it looks like to break out of expectations. I want you to experience freedom because with it comes great joy and perseverance.
How many of us hold expectations on our bodies? Much of what that relays is guilt, sadness, and an endless circuit on a hamster wheel. Why do we have such a hard time being unhappy with our appearances? We feel the need to work so hard to fix how we look or how we operate but friends this needs to be an INSIDE-OUT approach. Whether you are in the slumps about your weight and extra skin, or you are disabled in some way, shape or form, it starts with a transformation of your mind and soul! We like to fix our problems with extreme workout programs or diets. I’m here to tell you that those don’t last unless the fixing begins on the inside. Often times when the inside is healthy, the outside will reflect it in health and attitude.
“Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” Matthew 23:26
What happens before a resurrection of life? Grieving! We need to grieve the loss of our expectations. Do not feel silly about doing this, grieving is an essential piece to losing. Be open to those who can help you heal not simply make you feel better during this time. You may feel incapable of much, but let me tell you sister, when we feed to those thoughts of incompetence and not to the thoughts of God, we hold ourselves back from a great work. Meditate on Isaiah 55:8 “”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”
We need to understand that we are called to something greater than ourselves. It took time for me to get over myself. It was not a flip of a switch because a rewiring of my brain needed to take place. Yes, my midsection might look like silly putty when I stretch it down to the floor, but I do not get hung up about it. No, I absolutely refuse to now because something changed in my heart. God revealed something big. I’m talking a turning point in my relationship with my body AND God himself. I’m talking fireworks of freedom y’all. You thought Independence day was the greatest mark of freedom in humanity, but I’m telling you it’s the day that you decide to go independent of Great Britain–or great expectation and run towards the Lord to discover His perfect plan for your body. His ways are higher than our ways!
Gosh, the world leaves such an imprint on our hearts when it comes to what we think we should look like or how our bodies should work. And in turn, how we understand relationships to work with our friends and spouses. The day that I turned to Jesus to be the decider of my fate, JOY entered in. Perseverance and peace followed close by. I wish I could light up your souls and show you how God broke the chains of expectation and released me to absolute freedom in how I live, breathe, move, eat, workout, interact with others, be a mom and a wife! God’s thoughts for us are so much better than our own. The only expectation that we should have, is on God. We expect him to do what He says in scriptures, because that is what He has promised: to be our healer, our guide, shelter, comfort, strength, redeemer and Savior. God ain’t no promise-breaker sister. Let Him in to your health and fitness journey, let Him into your lives! Then you will be FIT: sound physically and mentally: HEALTHY. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Friends, fitness is just a result of the work God is doing on your inside.
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5
The main thing that resulted in Joy was making the daily choice to love others really well. It seems so simple of a statement, but have you ever tried coaching 20 middle school girls?? A couple years ago I was coming out of a rough season in my life. Postpartum-anxiety hit me like a mallet as well as some lovely intestinal disruptions. I’d love to go into the story of how I got there, but God led me from social-anxiety to confidently coaching middle school soccer in a matter of months. If any of you have social-anxiety, you can probably relate to how I felt speaking and leading in front of a bunch of little talking monkeys. The difference came when I prayed: Lord, I pray that everyone I come in contact today would feel loved and valued. This prayer set my mind right–my focus came off of me and how I was performing, to how can I love those girls and make them feel valued the most? My suffering turned to joy, the minute I turned my expectations over to God.
“Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:4
I see it everywhere in the Bible and in the world around us: there is great joy when we branch out and focus on helping other people. If you’re not a people-person, I have a feeling that God will work out something great in your life and grow you by loving others. There’s an awesome man in the Bible named Paul who God had called to reach out to the Thessalonians. He says, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:19
Once our life becomes about something greater than ourselves, expectations crumble with depression, anxiety, ungratefulness, and self-loathing. Once our life becomes about something greater than ourselves, the result is joy and perseverance through the hard stuff.
If there’s a collar of expecation around your neck and doubt has you leashed to it, I challenge you to take a giant step of faith by grieving over the loss of it and finding what joy God brings as your redeemer.
With freedom, comes fruit. We’ll be diving into the topic of fruitfulness in next week’s blog, so stay tuned!
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
Peace and Joy!