We can all get on board with enjoying more freedom in our lives, in our bank accounts, in our emotions and in our health! Does this sound too good to be true? Not really, but you need to take the plunge and be willing to work for it. We know, we want a magic wand to go "poof" and we will have instantaneous liberation. Yes, we create our own prison, but now is the time to stop living a hindered life and move forward in your God-given purpose. Here five tips towards freedom.
Stop restricting yourself.
"When we are young, we are optimistic and then we start getting disappointed. Maybe our home life is disrupted and we start to believe that we have to settle our expectations to meet our reality," author of Don't Settle for Safe and pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts said. "The problem with this is that we live our lives restricted." No matter what the disappointment was or is today, being stuck in the past will only hinder you. When we are so heavily focused on our loss, we settle into mediocrity and allow ourselves to become restricted and we can't find freedom living that way.
Remove the fear.
When we are going through things, a sure way to know where you are with God is the trust factor. We only want to trust when we are assured that things will work out the way that we planned. We need to move the boundaries that we give ourselves from the enemy of fear. What happens is that the hope that once existed within us becomes drowned out. Fear comes in all forms and can strike at any time. We are told by Jesus in John 14:27 that He will give us peace. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Jakes Roberts revealed that not sharing your fears with God is like driving without a road map or driving without a navigation system.
Accept that there is not a quick fix.
We don't relish going through the method of healing because who wants to deal with discomfort? When we have emotional wounds, we go on pretending that it didn't happen. "In order for us to get over our past, we have to examine it. We have to learn who we were in that process and recognize that we are someone different and that we've already grown as the result of those experiences," she added. We don't have to be afraid of repeating our mistakes in our lives. But you need to face the pain now, or you will find yourself in an endless cycle of bad habits. "What you don't address, you will repeat. Take a minute and dissect your heart and dissect your patterns," she said.
Avoid the trap of perfection.
Perfectionism can become dangerous to not only living a freedom-filled life, but it can damage your overall well-being. Review of General Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association explained that people suffer greatly under perfectionism and it could lead to depression. “Other than those people who have suffered greatly because of their perfectionism or the perfectionism of a loved one, the average person has very little understanding or awareness of how destructive perfectionism can be,” lead author Gordon Flett shared with New York Magazine. Avoid the pressure of being perfect and trust what God has for you. Proverbs 3:5 encourages us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Accept that you will fail in life, brush it off and move forward. "Our environment either inspires us on who we want to become or challenge us on what we must avoid," Jakes Roberts said. You can allow your environment to dictate this perfectionist persona, or you can abandon this lie for good. Studying the Word of God will help empower you in this area.
Start to forgive.
When we don’t ask for forgiveness or let people go, we are actually doing more damage to ourselves. Forgiving also means letting go of anger and bitterness, something that can really erode your sense of freedom and could impact your health. Some researchers believe there is power in forgiveness. Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health. "It may lower the risk of heart attack, improving cholesterol levels and reducing pain and blood pressure," Johns Hopkins expert Karen Swartz, M.D said. Write a list of all the people who hurt you and forgive them. You won't feel like it, but override the wave of emotions. Once you are done, trash the list and be done with the misery. You can grow from the liberation of God’s mercy and grace, but we need to extend this to others as well. Get rid of the baggage that unforgiveness bears, it is for your own good and this will help you remain sound.
Go ahead and ask the Lord for direction to show you how you can attain the freedom that He has for you. However, know that you have to do your part. If this means finding healing, taking more risks, cultivating more confidence or anything else, do it. There is no shortcut towards this, but it is worth your efforts.