My friend has this cool tradition. Most years, towards the end of the year, he asks God for a word that will define the following year and then uses that word as a reference point as he heads into a new year. Late December 2015 into early January 2016, as new winds blew into a new year, I decided to give it a go, too. I prayed and asked God to give me a sense of what this year could hold.
As I prayed, I felt like I received a word that God was going to fulfil. That word is freedom.
A few months back, I attended a course that has changed me. It has allowed me to reign in and redirect the emotional and physical direction my life was heading. The course focused on neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to get stuck in patterns of response (‘good’ or ‘bad’), and how we can train ourselves to recognise and re-direct these patterns.
Amazing stuff. So simple, but quite complex. I went along as I had been suffering from anxiety for a few years and it had reached the point for me where it was a subtle outward response; nobody else might have realised that I was experiencing it, but nonetheless, it had me in its grip. Or so I thought. Thanks to the training on this course, I no longer experience heart palpitations, tummy upsets, shallow breathing or a constricted oesophagus. Now I choose to know joy, calm, peace and grace. And should any of these symptoms attempt to raise themselves, I know now how to turn them off. Powerful stuff and incredibly liberating for me. I also was able to address a food intolerance that I have experienced for nearly 20 years – thanks to the understanding and tools that I gained from the course, the food intolerance is gone now.
I was one of only a few Jesus-followers on the course and my concern before attending was that it might clash with my beliefs. I didn’t want to be opening myself to teaching that would be counter to my identity in Jesus. Thankfully, I did my research, and I went to it, armed with Scripture, discernment and the prayers of many close friends.
I’m so, so glad that I went. That I took a risk and tried something new. I was able to see that I can have a life of abundance. A life that gives credence, voice and understanding to so many verses as I understand them:
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
You will be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
You are a new creation in Christ.
I have given you a sound mind.
I learnt so much about how amazing our God is, how he created our bodies in such crazy complex, yet patterned ways. I learned to see this body, brain, and soul with new eyes and I feel like the scales have fallen from my eyes so I can understand more about the life of freedom to which he has called me. It is this same freedom to which he has called each one of us – He promises to draw near to ALL who draw near to Him.
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
I’d love to encourage you today. If you’re in a spot that is sub-optimal, if you feel like you’re operating with blinkers on, or that you just can’t see your way around, please keep praying. God is faithful to lead you to the solution He has in mind, and He is the one who will be glorified at your freedom.