Where I am whole and free…

My journey has been a story of searching. Searching for identity, searching for belonging. Trying to figure where I fit. As my previous post explains, my “frochronicles” have been about more than hair; they have been about owning who I am, as I am, how God designed me. From head to toe. No apologies.

When I first began this blog, I toiled over a name. I have tried blogging for years, and have always hit a wall, not quite sure where the process was leading. Was there a purpose to my writing? What is my primary message? What is the mission or vision behind the words? The title I settled on was “Encourage to Wholeness”. But what does that even mean?

In my pursuit to figure this out, I’ve made fruitless attempts to emulate different styles of bloggers. The social justice blogger; the political commentator blogger; the how-to-be-a-godly-woman blogger; the theology professional blogger; the God’s-got-a-plan-for-your-life blogger. Each attempt ends in failure. Because I am none of these. And trying to fit into these molds has left me feeling awkward, frustrated. Because I was not meant to be any of those bloggers. I’m saying nothing against them in affirming that; we need all these various voices and more. But that is not the voice I’ve been given. That is not the fire that burns in my belly. Strands of all the above mentioned styles run through my writing; but none are my true heartbeat.

Back to my title…

Encourage to Wholeness. What does that mean? It means to encourage a move toward an identity that is fully rooted in Christ, not in the various identities of this world. It means living into the freedom we have in Christ.

That is my true heartbeat.

There is nothing new about this message. It is the Gospel message. We are new creations in Christ; we are one in Him; we are children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ. If you name the name of Jesus, your primary identity is child of God. By ourselves, we are broken and fragmented by all the identities and categories put upon us by our culture. It is the result of being broken by sin, and living in a world broken by sin. My personal struggle with identity originates here. But in Christ I find peace. In Christ, I find joy. In Christ, I find refuge, a place where I am whole and free.

That is the vision of this blog. That is the mission of my writing.

A few weeks ago, one of the elders of my church preached a message about identity. His primary text was Galatians 3:26-29:

“..for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (ESV)

He used the imagery of buckets to describe the different identities we carry with us. We have a gender bucket, a racial/ethnic bucket, a familial bucket, a friend bucket, a work bucket, and so forth. The point of this passage is not that we lose these identities when we come to Christ, or that they somehow disappear. The message is that all these other “buckets” are now placed inside the larger “bucket” of being “in Christ”. How I choose to live out my other identities must be shaped by and subordinated to this primary identity of being in Christ, so that, no matter what “bucket” I am drawing from, people see Christ’s character in me. My life should be hidden in His; my life should be all about Him.

Again, there is nothing new about this message. But it requires repetition and reminder. We so easily forget. We get consumed by what is right here before us and lose perspective on what is true. We forget what makes us whole and free. That is why we need encouragement. We need to encourage one another to wholeness.

So as I take my steps along this journey, I want to encourage you, my fellow sojourners, to continue on toward freedom and wholeness in Him.

Until next time, grace and peace…

 

Righting the ship…

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I think it’s time for me to reestablish why I blog in the first place.

I first started blogging when I was in seminary. Blogging was new and exciting and I loved it! I never really blogged for anyone in particular; I was really just trying to flesh out the things I was learning in my classes, and blogging seemed the perfect outlet for that. At the time, the blogosphere was not as congested as it is today; there wasn’t this competition of sorts for clicks and followers. It was just a simple way to connect my thoughts with my words, and have a record of it for all later times.

Blogging is now an industry in and of itself. Competition is fierce, even in the Christian sphere, and it’s so frustrating to me. I’m not expecting to offer anything new and amazing; I just seek to witness to the things the Lord has taught me, to help myself remember His goodness, and hopefully, help you remember as well.

But why do I write? Much of what I’ve written lately has been about what’s going on with American politics and culture. I am a new junkie; I’m also highly opinionated. Those two things are not always a good combination. Social media has trained us that we have the right to voice our opinion on anything at anytime to anyone in any way we see fit. What you say in public is fair game, right? I suppose. But we seem to have lost our ability to be civil in the process.

Which brings me to the point of this post. It’s time to right the ship here. When I reworked my blog, my original intent was not to become a political commentary page. As much as I love a good debate, that is not my desire. My desire is to uplift and encourage.

And, to state the obvious (I hope), I am a Christian. I happen to believe Christianity is true and that there are good reasons to believe. Unfortunately, we Christians have not been living that out well lately, and history is littered with examples of ways in which we’ve slapped a Christian sticker on things that aren’t even remotely so. But that doesn’t make it any less true. I don’t wish to add to the pile of grievances that could be used to obscure that truth. I want to be a witness to it, not the focus of attention.

So this post is a manifesto of sorts, a recallibration, and a reminder of why I started to write in the first place.

I am a woman who loves Jesus, loves to sing about Him, and tell others about His Word. I have opinions. Lots of them. Ask anyone who knows me well. But my task is not to share them with everyone. There are other more qualified people whose opinions and recommendations are far superior and more valuable than mine. So I wish to defer to that gifting in them and get out of the way.

But my gifting is much simpler. Love, pray, sing, teach.

Love Jesus – Because He loves me first and best. The desire is to shift my heart and focus on His love for me and making that the fuel the drives my passion and work. Prayer and Bible study; solitude and silence; praise and worship. And this love is not complete until it works its way through me to others in my life. It cannot end with me. It’s not about just more information per se, but more connection. Connecting what I know to what I do.

Pray – This is the backbone of relationship with God. It is not talking to the air; it is a living, breathing relationship with a real God and the true God. That He has so condescended to give us such privilege is amazing. How often we take it for granted and don’t talk to Him regularly. How can we expect that relationship to grow? It can’t, simply put. We cut ourselves off from the supply of love, comfort, support, and strength that He wants to provide for us when we neglect to pray.

Sing – This is my heart. There is no other way to explain it or define it. Singing is my heart language with Jesus. I speak to Him most intimately there – He speaks to me most tenderly in those moments. Healing happens. Peace is restored. It is when I feel the most alive.

Teach – For me, the learning circle is not complete until I share what I’ve learned. That’s how God wired me. This is not exclusive to spiritual things. But teaching about spiritual things is my favorite subject. I seemed to have forgotten that along the way…It’s time to return.

More later…grace and peace…