Fighting for Freedom

For as along as I can remember, food and I have had an unhealthy relationship. Like middle school dating when the couple lovingly bickers about who should hang up first, food and I couldn’t quite figure out how to quit each other. Unlike the middle school relationship where they breakup when one realizes that the fit isn’t quite right, my emotionally dependent relationship with food followed me into adulthood. Some seasons have been worse than others, but until recently it felt like the boyfriend I could not quite stay away from even though the relationship wasn’t good for me.

My unhealthy relationship with food looked something like this: purposely leaving my sorority house during the dinner hour because I was stressed and “didn’t feel like eating”; binging on sweets after a hard day of classes only to feel guilty and workout during dinner instead of eating real food; writing my weight on my calendar daily. As a girl who tends to live a jam-packed, one may say, overpacked, schedule, when I started to feel overwhelmed, I longed for something to control. Manipulating food was a coping mechanism. While some turn to alcohol or sex, at my absolute lowest, being hungry gave me a high that made me thrive. Weight loss was not the primary goal, control was, but somewhere along the way, they became interconnected. I was so lost in this unhealthy relationship that I did not know my way out.

Unlike an unhealthy relationship with a person, I need food to survive. It’s necessary to function. It not as simple as cutting off communication with someone who may be toxic; its something I have needed to wrestle with every day.

In the spring of 2014, I trained for the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon and during my training I started to lose weight. Instead of my brain recognizing that I needed to eat more food to compensate for the 1,000 calories I would burn on my long runs, my mind traveled down the well-worn path of unhealthiness. “I wonder if I could eat less and lose more weight?” Thankfully, I heard a voice louder than the unhealthy whisper. This louder voice said, “Caitlin, we’re not doing this again, you’ve fought too hard against this, we can’t go there again.” Praise be to God.

I had several “come to Jesus” moments when I knew I needed to get well. This is not an issue I wanted to watch my daughters deal with. I longed to be healthy, to love my body and to develop productive coping mechanisms. I longed to be free. I wish I could remember exactly what worked, but over two years later, I’m still learning and growing. It helps to remember just how much freedom I’ve experienced from something that held me captive for so long. It is healing to tell my story.

In the past year, I have made several commitments to my body and mind.

  • I will feed it good food. Food that nourishes and fuels. I will feed it enough food for what I expect it to do. Key in this food issue is a nutritional rebalancing system that I’ve been on since August. It has solidified healthy habits that I was trying to establish, and has prevented me from using busyness as an excuse to skip a meal, thus triggering more unhealthiness.
  • I will workout. Ironically, running has become a safe guard for me. I love to run, I love to get faster. In order to get faster and train at a high level, I have to make sure that I eat the right things. Working out on a regular basis encourages me to fuel my body with the right food.
  • I will make sure it gets adequate rest – not just hours of sleep, but recovery time. I will listen to it when it is hurting. Pain as gain is not always the case. Especially when I’ve seen how pain and discomfort can mess with my mind.
  • I will recognize my triggers. As I said above, control and food/weight loss are interconnected in my mind. Even though my unhealthy relationship with food is not always related to a desire to be skinnier, hearing about fad diets or listening to someone say, “I haven’t eaten all day,” can tempt me into controling food in an unhealthy way.
  • I will view it as strong. Instead of getting frustrated that I can’t run faster or that instead of running 7 miles, I had to stop and walk a couple times, I will remember how thankful I am for a body that lets me run. My legs work the way they are supposed to. My athletic muscles allowed me to enjoy a decade of soccer and how they’re enabling to me healthily cope with stress and giving me a great hobby through running.

Today after my weekly Wednesday workout, I stepped off the treadmill (2.5 miles in 20:10 thank you very much), I silently thanked my body and I silently said a prayer of thanks to God. I ate a good dinner and packed my lunch for tomorrow. I’m learning not to take my body for granted. I want to be healthy, mind, body and soul. I want to look at myself as one who is made in the image of God, giving Him the glory for everything. Just like we have to set good boundaries in relationships with others, I have to set good boundaries in my relationship with my body. I’m learning and growing and being patient along the way.

 

Note: This is my story regarding food and control issues. It is just that – my story. The ways that I’ve processed through unhealthy behavior are not what I would recommend for anyone and everyone. I know that this is a controversial topic. I also know sharing my story is part of my own healing.

 

 

Gift Wrapping

Friday at MLJ, we had a gift exchange at our Christmas party. Everyone was invited to bring a gift and throughout the exchange, you could either pick an unopened gift or steal a gift from someone who had already picked. I was predictable and brought jewelry from J.Crew to give. When I purchased them, they came in a jewelry bag, a nice black box and then a small J.Crew bag. The J.Crew bag said J.Crew on it, obviously, but was nice enough to give as a gift bag. That was the plan. Until yesterday. We were talking around work about how if it was appropriate to not officially wrap our gift, but bring it in a nice gift bag that may give away where the gift was from. I was suddenly self-conscious about my nice J.Crew gift bag. Had I had extra time and didn’t work two jobs, I probably would have gone out and bought a different bag for my gift. I did not, and today everything went fine. No one commented on the packaging, they loved the bracelets. It’s silly to think I almost spent time, money and energy on packaging.

I’ve had three different conversations this week that have made me reflect on the way we wrap our testimonies – stories of what God is doing and has done in our lives – the same way that I felt the pressure to rewrap my gift exchange gift. I’ve had a version on this conversation three times this week. What is this fascination with making things look “good”? We want nice, neat before and after testimonies where the after is dramatically different from the before. I was addicted to porn, now I don’t even struggle, because of Jesus. I had an eating disorder, now I don’t struggle with control in any area of life, because of Jesus. I was never in a relationship where we weren’t having sex, now I don’t even struggle with purity, because of Jesus. If one of these is your story, I celebrate with you. God can deliver us out of those strongholds. It is a beautiful thing!

But what if you story is more like mine? Even once I found Jesus, I struggled to manufacture control of my life through eating. While I’ve seen victory, when things are tough, I’m still tempted to grasp for control in whatever way I can, sometimes wanting to go to unhealthy lengths with food or exercise. Is my story not a story of victory? Is God not at work in my life because I struggle? Do I need to re-wrap my story?

No. I see God to be so faithful in the struggle. It is in the struggle that I am reminded that dependency on God not self-sufficiency is the Christian life. I should be reminded everyday that the gift inside of the bag is the same –grace, freedom, life with Jesus – why should I re-wrap it? I want to embrace my brokenness because it brings me back to the cross. I want those who I do community with to feel safe to bring things into the light before they’re completely resolved. If I wanted to know everything that someone loves in their life, I don’t need to look further than their social media, but over coffee, the phone or a glass of wine, I want to know the real truth, without the pressure to re-wrap it.

Here’s to telling stories that aren’t quite complete yet. Here’s to celebrating the struggle because it makes us more like Christ. Here’s to living in freedom of not having to put our testimonies in better gift-wrapping.

Someone Else’s Turn

I’m not heading back to Bloomington this weekend. That fact has brought me close to tears multiple times today. I wouldn’t be at Sweet’n’Low, I don’t get to help target how to reach freshman this fall, I wouldn’t be gathering and following up contacts, and I wouldn’t get to watch as God grabs the hearts of students at IU. When I dream about joining staff with a campus ministry like Cru, part of me wonders if I could handle it, not necessarily the support raising or the full-time ministry aspect, but the transient-ness that comes with working with college students. College is such a short period of a person’s life. Four years. Sometimes three and sometimes five, but then it’s over. My college career, my four years are done. I’m not going back. I’ll be moving to Indianapolis to start the next season, but it’s not college.

freed to be me

There’s a strange peace that has come over me as I’ve prayed through this, I’m sad, but peaceful. In one week, a bright-eyed freshman girl is going to set foot onto IU’s campus with no idea what she wants out of life, and she’s going to search for her place. She’ll try different organizations, and settle on Cru, where she’ll meet people, some of whom have grown up in the church and others who are getting their feet wet with the whole Christianity thing, just like her. Over the next four years, this girl will grow, she’ll face the depth of her sin and the grace that God offers. She’ll make mistakes with boys and develop really meaningful relationships with other girls. She’ll stay up too late, and skip more classes than she ever intended. Most importantly, she’ll get to know Jesus, and what it means to have a relationship with Him, a relationship that will outlast and out-value everything else in her life.

How do I know this? Because that was me. There were girls before me, just like there will be girls after me, whose lives God will change during college. I’m humbled to reflect on the girl I was 4 years ago, and all that God has done in me and through me since I set foot on IU’s campus.

I can’t head back to Bloomington, it’s some one else’s turn. It’s another girl’s turn to wander her way through all the fears of true surrender, to spend countless hours in Wright Food Court, to dream of what revival looks like in her sorority house, to plan discipleships, and to fall madly in love with Jesus. IU saw the good, the bad and the ugly of Caitlin Snyder. It’s beautiful to admit it’s not my time to be in college anymore, it’s someone else’s. I hope and pray that the freshmen stepping onto IU’s campus know how special it is, and that the freshman who find themselves at the Check-Out-Cru meeting next Thursday will let the Gospel transform their hearts. Bloomington is not my home anymore, just as it’s not my Cru movement anymore. And that’s beautiful because it’s someone else’s turn.

Here’s to Freedom

In my pre-Jesus days, I saw Christianity as a religion full of rules. From the outside looking in, Christians appeared to adhere to lots of behaviors that I believed would restrict my “rights” and how I wanted to live my life. Why would someone give up rights? Why would someone want to follow even more rules? As I understand now, I was missing the Gospel in this line of thinking. I was missing Jesus.

I stumbled my way into putting my faith in Jesus my freshman year of college. I struggled, and still do, to put to death my old ways of thinking about Christianity and all the rules. Thankfully, along the way, freedom has been redefined for me.

Freedom in Christ has changed my life.

I am freed from my own sin, in Christ. I am freed from my insecurities, in Christ. I am freed from worldly pressures to make millions, lose weight and create a name for myself, in Christ. I am freed from thinking I can do it all… and acting on that thought, in Christ. I am a hot mess. I am a sinner. I fail to believe the best about people and love them well. But God loved me so much that He refused to let sin be the end of my story.

I’m fortunate enough to live in America, a country that celebrates freedom on this day every year. Freedom is what originally separated America from the rest of the world in the 18th century. Freedom also separates Christianity from many other world religions (because of grace).

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. It reminds me of just how desperately we all desire to be free. The early Americans were thought to be rebels, but in reality they were freedom fighters. Sick of the rules and regulations of the King of England, they said, “No thanks.” Today and every other day, I can say, “No thanks to my sin,” and instead choose to live in freedom. Contrary to the colonists, I am the very thing that holds me captive. I desperately desire to be free, thankfully in Christ, it’s a decision I can make, and have to make, daily.

So here’s to today, when I can celebrate my freedom as an American, and how that freedom is just a glimpse of my freedom in Christ. #snapsforfreedom

Rest

February has exhausted me. I spent four weekends in four different places, leaving me irritable, tired and burnt out. About a week ago, before I left for the weekend, I had a conversation with a friend, in which I confessed feeling a lot of pressure – pressure to be a good friend, a good girlfriend, a good roommate, a good discipler and a good student. There are a number of things out of my control that have been heavy on my heart, so as a response, I’ve grabbed anything I could control and controlled the crap out of it. In the midst of a schedule that was not sustainable, I had fallen into performance mode, and no one was feeling the pressure of performing more than I was. And the silly thing was, besides some joking comments from friends, no one was telling me I wasn’t doing a good job at any of these roles; it was all me. I was the one putting pressure on myself and holding myself to impossible standards.

There’s a reason why we’re called to die to ourselves as Christians; we are our own worst enemies. I’m my own worst critic. If it isn’t how I’m eating, or working out, it’s how I’m caring for my friends or serving my roommates. I have ideas in my head of how I’m supposed to perform, and then I judge myself based on these standards. Absent from my scale is the fact that I’m freed from these standards. Jesus died on the cross so I don’t have to live up to anyone’s standards, not even my own. I’m free. Free from standards, or in biblical terms, free from the law. If I’m trying to achieve righteousness based on the law, I must follow the law in it’s entirety, which is impossible; hence Jesus. He fulfilled the law and set me free from it.

I’ve spent a lot of time resting this weekend. Rest is not easy for me; I start to feel lazy and laziness in my sinful brain translates to failure or punishment. Reality is, after two full days of rest, I’m starting to feel like myself again. I’m remembering why God’s commandment for a Sabbath is imperative. When I don’t rest each week, I end up having emotional breakdowns, feeling burnt out, and falling into sin patterns. I stop seeing God’s goodness because I’m just trying to survive and make it until bedtime. Rest is reminding me how much of my thoughts are based on worldly perspective – success does not begin with me. Victory has already been attained; will I live in light of it? Will I fight against my fleshly desires to measure my performance and place pressure on myself, and live in true freedom? I sure hope so.

Dead to Sin

I started this semester flat on my face in sin. I was crying out to God and desperate for His grace. Well, I’m always desperate for His grace, but the first week of the semester reminded me of it. I had talked big game about wanting to truly enjoy my last semester at IU, but every fiber of my being felt like I was starting it off on the wrong foot. I started to realize that some of the decisions I was making were not good for me, or pointing people to Christ, but instead leading them into sin. The more I sat in my sin, the farther God seemed to be from me.

So what’s a girl supposed to do when God feels distant? Well, first I cried. Then I prayed, some sad pathetic, wallow in self-pity prayers. Finally, I talked to a couple close friends and confessed my sin. And then I prayed some more. Here’s what I began to understand: God doesn’t call me to flee from sin for His sake, but for my own sake. Sin clouds my judgment. Sin makes me question my identity. Sin isolates me from community. Sadly, there was some sin behavior that I had become very comfortable with in my life. In my daily quiet times, I would ask God that He reveal Himself to me, but I wasn’t actually looking for Him; I had become content with the way I was living.

Thankfully, God is good. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is once and for all. He died a brutal death so I can live in freedom from condemnation. When my flesh and Satan tell me that sin is okay and can be compromised with, God’s Word can fight the lies. Sin is serious. Sin affects my view of God and my view of myself. God calls me (and all believers) to purify myself from all ungodliness. Why? So I can see and experience Him. I’ve spent some good time in Romans 6 the past couple weeks, asking God to speak to me. Paul writes to the Romans, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (6:6-7). My old self was crucified on the cross with Christ. Why? So the body of sin might be done away with. Sin has lost it’s power on me, until I give power back to it. The more power I give sin in my life, the less I will see Jesus because Jesus is the opposite of sin. There is only so much time in my day, if I fill it with sinful things, and things not for the Lord, the less I give Him.

My identity is not that of a sinner. I am a daughter of the highest King. I have been chosen and not rejected. But, I forget that. I choose to sin and put myself and my desires above God. I give sin power in my life again. When you give Satan an inch, he’ll take a mile… he’s sneaky and manipulative like that. I want to see Jesus and walk closely with Him, which right now looks like taking drastic measures to flee from sin. I pray that I can live out what Paul writes to the Philippians, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection from the dead” (3:10-11). Here’s to choosing Jesus over sin, even when sin seems like not a big deal, because sin will leave me wanting more; only Christ can truly satisfy.

Enough

This fall has been rough. It’s been constant realization of sin – sin patterns that were so engraved in my life before I trusted Jesus, but I had thought that they ceased to exist. And while God no longer punishes me for them, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I found myself living back in the patterns. The past two months have been filled with doubts – am I enough? Constant thoughts running through my head, any given day they could be “am I pretty enough” “am I smart enough” “do I work hard enough” “am I skinny enough” “am I doing enough”… and while I know in my head that the answer is yes, an overwhelming yes, I was experiencing what we often refer to in the ministry world as “head/heart disconnect”. It has been an inner battle, one I would see days free from this mindset, but something would easily trigger me right back into these same doubts over my worth. And because my heart wasn’t feeling worthy, I fell back into trying to earn my grace, earn beauty and earn wisdom, but obviously I was failing.

The sad thing is, this fall I’ve seen so much fruit from ministry, I’m doing well in school (finally), and my friendships are the healthiest they’ve ever been, but I was feeling the need for control. This need for control wiggled its way into every area of my life. Before I knew it, I started obsessing over my to-do list, stressing about if the girls I was investing in felt loves enough, and controlling what I ate, when I ate and how much I worked out. Basically, I decided that I was going to make myself feel like I was “good enough” for God. The sad thing is, I knew (and know) that this is so contrary to the Gospel. I am freely given grace through faith; Jesus died a brutal death on a cross to tell me that I’m enough, there’s nothing I can do to add to that sacrifice. But the head/heart disconnect was still occurring full force.

Last week I hit rock bottom (well I hope that was as low as it gets), I was sick of fighting the Holy Spirit. I wanted to be able to let go, but I was clinging to every piece of control I had left. I left the house during dinner time so I could skip it without feeling guilty and ran errands, I came back and kept myself busy so I didn’t have to deal with my feelings, and the overwhelming feeling that I wasn’t okay. Finally, on Wednesday night, during a wonderful bible study, I confessed that I didn’t feel like I was enough for God, and that I was spiraling out of control because of it. The girls prayed for me, and then again on Thursday night a friend prayed for me. On Friday, during discipleship as I started to process all that was going on, it became evident that I wanted a sign saying that I was enough; I also wanted to just be done struggling, but instead what I got was a reminder of what walking in the Spirit is. It’s a momentary decision to believe that Jesus died for me and then gifted me with the Spirit – a powerful spirit living inside of me to help combat the lies and walk by faith moment by moment. The blood of Jesus already freed me, now I had the decision to live in this freedom.

I could choose to view myself as a child of God or as a slave to everything that is not of Him. What will I choose? It isn’t a matter of how God sees me – that doesn’t change base don my emotions – it’s all about how I view myself. And out of how I view myself, my view of God will be affected. When I say that I am not enough, I am saying that 1) The Gospel is not always true, and 2) God can create something that is less than worth Jesus dying for.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17

I have the Spirit living in me. That means I’m free. I’m free from feeling unworthy. I’m free from believing that if I’m not in control then no one is. I’m free from what others think. I’m free from being the cookie cutter Christian. I’m free to worship Jesus will all that I am. Do I believe it not only in my head, but also my heart? Well, I’m trying.

A Daughter, Not a Slave

I am a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. Such a sinner that sometimes I can be so lost in my sinfulness that I forget that God desires other things for me. Tonight, as I read through Galatians’ 5, where Paul describes the desires of the sinful nature, I underlined all the desires I have acted on or fell victim to in the past week. The following were underlined – impurity, idolatry, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, and envy. Wow. Talk about being convicted of sin. I so largely fall short of perfection. It would be so easy to let my thoughts stop here, feel guilty, hopeless and wonder how God is ever going to use me. Yes, I am a sinner, and I frequently chose my fleshly desires over the life Jesus died for me to have. I am not proud to admit this, but it is the reality of this world and a reality of my imperfection. Thankfully, the message of Galatians 5 is not our utter sinfulness; it’s the freedom we have from sin in Christ.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. (Galatians 5:24 NLT)

The beautiful thing about having a Savior is that He died for my sin. With my sin, He took the passions and desires of my sinful nature with Him. The passions and desires were not just put to a graceful death, they, like Jesus, were brutally killed. I so often forget that my ties to my sin have been crucified. I no longer have to live in slavery to my sinful desires. I no longer have to live in slave to impurity, idolatry, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissention, division or envy. Instead, I get to live in the freedom of the Spirit, bearing fruit as a result. The fruit of the Spirit is not of me, it’s not something I can manufacture by obeying the law or striving to be a good person – it comes from submitting to the Lord and walking in the Spirit. For me, it’s a constant decision. Some moments my flesh feels so strong that I cannot possibly overcome the sinful desire to be jealous or fight with someone else, but in these moments, I’m forgetting the power I have because I belong to Jesus. Because I am a daughter of God, I have the power of the Holy Spirit, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and the same power that performed miracles; it lives in me! It is what fights my sinful desires. The question for me becomes, do I acknowledge this, or do I live believing the lies that I’m still a slave and not a beloved daughter with an inheritance that “can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4)? In this power and in this inheritance is freedom. Freedom in my brokenness.

Obedience

I honestly don’t know when I became such a rebel. Growing up, I was always such a goody-goody, and followed every rule set for me. However, somewhere along the line, I started to question the rules, and decided to bend (and sometimes break) the ones I didn’t agree with. Even in my walk with the Lord, it’s been a journey of listening to where God’s calling me as a last resort, only after I try it my way 100 times. This past week on project, we’ve been studying Galatians 3 and 4. In these chapters, Paul discusses the law with the Galatians. It’s been this week that I’ve realized that I’ve been believing some hard-core lies about the law. Because I had grown to hate rules, I had a very negative view on the law. However, during bible study on Tuesday night, someone brought up that the law is a reflection of God’s character. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this, but at the core, I’ve realized a lie I’ve been believing. I believed that because legalism is bad, all rules are bad.

God gives His people rules for their protection. He desires to protect His children from their own sin. However, we are sinners; we are rebels. We break the rules and then wonder why we are unhappy, in danger, or unhealthy. Here’s what I’m starting to believe – God set the law, therefore the law is good. Obviously, we should not idolize the law or follow rules just for the sake of following them, but they are in place for a reason. My heart has been softened to God’s rules. They exist so I can experience the fullness of His character. I am not a slave to the law, my salvation is from my faith in Christ, not from obeying rules and performing, but by obeying the law I bring glory to God.

One example of this is in purity. In today’s society, and even in my own heart, there is the temptation to believe that purity is not worth striving for. It is pointless; it is impossible. However, Matthew 5:8 states, “blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Yes, purity is hard, and those who seek it strictly out of legalism will most likely not be successful, but by desiring to obey this command and relying on God to do so, He will reward you. For me, it would be really easy to rebel against this law (not just mentioned in this passage, but also in Galatians 5, 1 Corinthians 6, Ephesians 5 and 1 Thessalonians 4), and fulfill my fleshly desires. However, if I want to see God, if I want to wholeheartedly experience Him, it important to obey the laws He has set for me. He does not love me any less when I fail to obey His laws, He knows I will fail in some way or another, but I want to see Him. The laws are for my good, so that I can experience His love more, not for His good; God does not use the law as a report card, my salvation is not tied to the law. There is freedom in Christ, there is no condemnation for those who mess up, the law is simply in place so I can experience God more fully.

My prayer is that by exploring God’s laws, you may be able to experience God more personally. I pray for my own heart, that I do not use the law as a measure of my own goodness, but that I remember that I am a broken little sinner who needs the law so that she can follow God better.

Freedom

I’m passionate about freedom, largely because I’ve really started to walk in freedom this year. I became a Christian a year and a half ago, but it took a whole year to realize that because I am in Christ, I am free. It was a painful process. As is any liberation. I first had to realize that I was not free and deal with some major sin that had me in bondage. This is a continual process, one that is in no way, shape or form complete in my life, but this year has been one of significant bondage breaking and some freedom walking.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

Christ has set me free so that I can walk with Him, focus my eyes on Him and find my hope in Him. He has not set me free so that I can continue sinning, although my flesh will sin. When I allow other people’s negative comments to affect me, I begin to walk my way back into slavery – slavery to negativity. When I allow my schoolwork and grades to stress me out, I begin to walk my way back into slavery – slavery to accomplishments. When I begin to worry about my summer job and how much money I can make, I begin to walk my way back into slavery – slavery to money. All of these actions, while done on a daily basis in my life, break God’s heart. He wants me to experience the fullness of His love and through that love walk in freedom to love and forgive unconditionally. When I am bogged down about people’s expectations, my accomplishments or money, I’m failing to live acknowledging God’s provision and unconditional love.

Freedom means that I am not a slave to this world; I can lift my eyes to Jesus and remember that my current circumstances are not eternity. Pain and hurt will not exist in heaven. I can hold my chin up high and walk confidently because nothing on earth is big enough to shake my God. God can handle it all, I need not worry, I can walk towards Jesus and not worry about anything by serving Him with my whole heart. Freedom means that I get to place my identity in Christ. As long as I’m fully surrendered to Him, I am free from other’s expectations (don’t confuse this with healthy Christ-centered community that has accountability). Freedom means that I can mess up, that I’m not tied to legalism, that I can throw off anything that prevents me from fully serving Jesus. I cannot experience 100% freedom on this side of heaven, but until then, I will stand firm in Jesus Christ and the freedom He died for me to have. I will rely on God to give the strength to walk alongside Him, even when it’s hard. I’m free to mess up and to listen to Jesus’ voice when everyone else is saying something different louder. Christ set me free so I can experience Him and that’s exactly what I intend to do.