unpacking your choices


Yesterday I shared how almost nothing astounds me more than the ability God has given each of us to choose.

To head left or right.
To move or stay.
To say yes or no.
To give or take.
To forgive or hold onto a grudge.

Most of our life happens as a result of our combined choices.

Not happy with your current situation?

It is not only the outside influences you need to examine, but within.

For if you won’t unpack your choices, you will keep making them. and head in the same direction.

Let me share two ways I learned this lesson.

I have a relation who suffers from a combination of bad choices and mental illness. Many of the family stepped in to assist during some pretty traumatic and rocky circumstances. There was a lot of resentment towards those who helped out, because it wasn’t her choice to have us help.

I ended up the target of her rage.

After all I had poured out in time, love and effort to help, I was devastated.

God gently held me as I cried, sent a familiar face to speak His love to me, helped me to forgive her, and clearly released me from assisting moving forward.

In fact, her choice to speak to me that way ended up with consequences which broke open the fact she was dealing with mental illness and she began to receive more support services in her local community.

The result is I don’t visit very often anymore. As much as I love this person, I do not need to be in direct contact with them anymore, and I can serve them best by interceding for her in prayer.

The result of her bad choice resulted in my choice not to put myself in her target zone again without proper cover.

The other situation was one I unwittingly created through my unwise choices. I missed a deadline as I allowed myself to follow the lie that I couldn’t write without waiting for a spark of inspiration. My choice to ask for extra time because of my self doubt caused undue stress on my editor.

The organization’s head (rightly so) lovingly reprimanded me, and brought the situation into the light to see it for what it was.

The result of my bad choice.

Instead of seeking God, i sought the shadows in which to hide.

After surrendering my writing yet again to God, I apologized and gave myself a pre-deadline for my next deadline, so this situation will not occur again.

Positive choices are needed to help us move forward towards the life we want to live.

Not eating healthily over long periods of time results in health problems. Excessive drinking and smoking negatively affect the body. Severe sleep deprivation and unsupported depression can play havoc on the mind. Unforgiveness and nurturing grudges can shut down our emotions.

Negative choices result in negative consequences.

What I appreciate most about God allowing us the freedom to choose?

The choice we have to bring our bad choices and repercussions to God.

For He never leaves us the way He finds us, in the heaping piles of squalor we lie blubbering as our choices return like a boomerang to knock us off our feet.

God not only helps heal us of the fall out from our bad choices, He helps us to make better ones.

He also guides us to see the options He has for us, so we can get a sense of the results of our choices before we even make them.

Prayer and the Word helps us to make healthier choices, and change our lives for the better.

That decision to forgive will set you free in ways you may not even realize for days, weeks or years to come.

That choice to stay and work it out may give you the solid foundation your marriage needs, because of your dependence on God to be the Rock it is based upon.

That no you respond with frees you up to say yes to where He really wants you to use your gifts, and the joy within knowing you pleased Him by choosing His way outweighs the disappointed look of the person to whom you said no.

Your choices can unpack your life for the better when you invite Him to show you how to do just so.

Or add more weight and struggle to your load.

It’s your choice.

facing my giant

I am downtown with a girl friend today, thoroughly enjoying myself.

There was a period of time where I couldn’t do so.

I allowed a fear to dictate where I could walk free.

Years ago, someone tried to pull me off the subway car onto an empty station. Thanks to a good Samaritan & my backpack straps, that didn’t happen.

But the seed of fear entered to make itself at home as I blocked this incident out, burying the memory.

My daughter decided to go to school in this very town I was so uncomfortable in, and I knew I needed to be free. And I knew He wanted it too.

I asked God to release me from whatever had caused the fear, and He brought that memory back….with a difference.

When you know the God of the universe is standing beside you, you can face your giant.

Mine was fear.

In giving Him that fear, He broke its claim on me, removing the Liar’s venom within me.

But He didn’t stop there.

His Spirit swept in, and filled me with a quenching peace.

And reignited my desire to see new places, many of which are nearby.

So on the bus we went, and I am a sunburnt, slightly disheveled content visitor in the city that used to cause my fear temperature to spike.

For I know He walks with me, and I need not fear. God is so much bigger & greater & stronger than we can fathom, and He chooses to hang out with you, & me!


come out

I can so relate to the scene in the movie Frozen where Anna keeps asking Elsa to come out from behind her locked door to play with her.

In fact, I cried at that scene in the movie theater. Probably not the norm for that timing in that particular movie, but it struck a chord with me.

Part of my gifting is exactly that:
encouraging people to step out of their locked rooms, cages, pasts into the freedom God has waiting for them.

And the faithfulness I have is in fact His faithfulness radiating through me, to reach those under lock down & remind them they have the key to their freedom.

Jesus is the key.

Not only figuratively, but literally.

Whomever Jesus calls free, He has set free.

Seeing it come to pass in our life requires both action, and someone who believes in us can help make all the difference.

Jesus took care of making us free, the act, and puts people in our lives to help us see the freedom He offers, and cheer us on to it.

Anna never gave up loving Elsa, even when Elsa turned her away.

Jesus never stops loving us either when we stray.

Are you hiding yourself away like Elsa? Scared to be who you sense He has made you to be, but unsure how it will look or what to do?

Hiding does nothing but tether us to the spot. Whether fear, hurt or indecision, the result is the same: we can’t move forward, we are stuck.

As with Elsa, we can spend years wasting our talents…if it weren’t for the Anna God always puts in our life to point us to God, and our freedom.

Its time to come out of hiding.
Turn the key,
open the door,
step through
let go…
of the past
of your fear
of your hurts

Come out, come out
wherever you are.

Your freedom awaits.

And because I am a little creatively wired, I am sharing a Face in the Hole image i put together to remind me that how that I have been set free to walk as He designed (Elsa) I am now to be an Anna to help others live free!


entrenched in guilt

Being entrenched in your guilt is like standing in cement and letting it set around your feet.


Guilt does nothing but lock you into place, keeping you from moving forward.

The only way to combat guilt?

Admit the issue that you are feeling guilty about.

Sounds simple enough, but when you shove something to the back burner over long period of time, you can almost convince yourself the guilt is just part of your daily makeup.

I know a few people who are literally stuck in holding pattern over their feelings of guilt.

Did something you shouldn’t have?
Didn’t so something you should have?

The apostle Paul could relate… He struggled with those very two questions (Romans 7:15), even referring to sin as a prison (Romans 7:14) and how we can’t live just by the law.

Because we needed help, Jesus not only settled the score for our sin, He gives us His Spirit to clear the air and set us free to live.

No longer stuck in sin’s concrete socks.

There is no guilt without sin.

Just as there is no fire without an ignition or spark to set it off, guilt doesn’t happen without an action behind it pulling your emotional strings.

Its time to get light, break free from the concrete, address the guilt by figuring out its source, then talking it over with God.

As Edmond did with Aslan in the Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, its time to clear the air, deal with the weight caused by our sin, and align ourselves with living free.

Walk again.

Guilt can only keep you captive as long as you refuse to deal with the root behind it.

Uproot it to kick guilt out, and move into the freedom that awaits you.

Its time to take flight again.


looking back


There were two ways to look back.

One is healthy, the other an addiction.

One acknowledges your history, looking over your past as if you were flipping through a magazine, with a few key images, major highlights and the necessary details inside.
This way acknowledges where you came from, but you have been set free from the moments that harmed you, so although they are still in your history, they aren’t in the forefront of your mind. You might go for a brief visit, but you don’t stay.

Some look back like their lives are editions of the encyclopedia, going into every detail possible, used for referencing over and over and over again.

Or a DVD, where you can pause and live certain moments over and over and over again, as often as you can.

Some also records the sounds, smells, tastes and feelings in such a way that a recall can trigger a memory or cause a relapse to another time.

One way of looking back allows you to be free. To take that freedom and help others find their new future. To truly live, work, love as a God intended you to. Living in the present, hopeful for the future.

The other? Binds you in such a way that you feel like you are stuck in a puddle of quicksand, constantly afraid of going under, never able to get out on your own. You can’t move on.

When your past seems more real than your present, you are not free.

Its time to leave the garbage, hurts, broken dreams, wounds and everything else you don’t want to keep your eyes fixed on, and bring them to God.

The one who made us knows the way to our freedom.

Find a wise counselor, and press in to leave your past behind you, once and for all. This may happen quickly, or over time. You may need to go back to school to reconnect with who you really are, and are going to be once you have tasted the freedom God has for you.

I have been set free from the major hurts in my past. It was not easy in the beginning, but becoming whole is a journey. I am still seeing a counselor to learn healthier ways to express myself and take care of me. These lessons remain with me now that the pain of my past has been laid to rest, at the foot of the cross where they belong.

Pressing onwards, keeping my eyes on the hope of the future.

Take control of your past, before it overwhelms your present and steals your future.

Freedom is calling….

come back to life

Let everything bad escape and take the pain with it so you can come back to life.


I have found that God is truly the only way to leave my past behind, in its icky pain hurt loss filled entirety.

It is one thing to share your hurt with another person, as there is great value in companionship, being heard and receiving love.

Its another thing to bring it to God, who already knew everything in its entirety because He was there at each pain filled moment, and knows how to release and free us from it.



The cool thing after God sets you free? You can go back to your history, recall it and remember it without the emotional baggage soundtrack pushing your buttons.
The fact it happened to you doesn’t change, but you are not stuck in the memory reels on constant rewind, stirring up all the pain hurt frustration anger as it used to every time you tried to revisit.

That is true freedom from a nasty memory.

If you are anything like me, you too may have a tractor trailer filled with pain, regrets, memories you allow to trail behind you, sapping your joy and strength in the now.

But you don’t need to take it with you anymore.

God is waiting to unhitch your baggage from you. He is the key to your freedom.

How do I know?

I have left abandonment, rejection, molestation, rape, self injury, verbal abuse, bullying, labelling, betrayal and intense grief behind me.


God set me free.


(Image from: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/files/wh6_uploads/images/1310-unlock-past-art.jpg)

Who Jesus sets free is truly free. (John 8:36)

As the Message version puts it, free through and through.

Your mind becomes free to think about current and future things.
Your body becomes free to release its physical stresses.
Your heart is free to love with abandon, no holding back.
You are able to forgive, freeing yourself from what you did and what was done to you.
You are made new.

There are many different tools God uses to set His beloved ones free.

Theophostic and Sozo are the two types of counseling that I have been led through where God led the pathway to freedom through listening, caring believers.

Don’t wait to be set free.

Start your new life today by taking a step away from your past towards God.

He is waiting to break the chains that are harming you and holding you back from all He has for you:

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out––plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else.”

Jer 29:11-13 (Message)