by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV
Life may seem a little off right now. In Fix Her Upper language, it’s been a bit of a demo time.
But that’s the good news. There will be a day we can look back and marvel at all God’s done. Today even. We can pray together, because we know prayer changes everything.
Jesus knew this. In Scripture we see Him step away from the crowds. Walk off quietly to pray. He takes walks with His Father and declares, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11 ESV). No matter what happened to him on this earth, He remained in perfect peace. It’s prayer and the presence of God that fixes this anxious life.
Now that I’ve had 8000 moments to catch my breath, I can see how frequently I forget to pray when life is moving quickly and noisily.
The enemy would love us to stay overwhelmed with crisis and underwhelmed with Jesus. But while the world tells us one thing—God tells us something different: “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness” (Galatians 5:16 The MSG). I love this verse and the future it holds for us. God encourages us to live our best life freely, dynamically, and sensitive to the nudging of the helpful hand of the Spirit.
Apparently, I wasn’t living my freest life, though. Not at all. Because when the pandemic arrived, I was reassigned to work in our hospital Emergency Room with many of my coworkers. My dynamic was gone. My fear? The same as everyone else’s with the forecast of what the virus might do to our world, my family, and…me. I started to self-preserve and hold back; I noticed my preoccupation with the ability of my N95 to save me from all things germy.
But I’ve realized there’s no freedom in fear. None. Fear is selfish. It causes our spirits to retreat in an effort to ensure our own survival, protect ourselves. All this time, I’ve tried to play it safe.
A safe life is not our best life—because faith makes us live for something more.
This assurance came as I sat with a patient who was dying—my N95 pooling with snot and tears—my heart so full of prayer for the other person that I couldn’t safeguard my soul. Suddenly, I felt fierce and full of hope. Apparently, we don’t feed the compulsions of self-preservation or worry when we’re in all-out prayer for someone else. Galatians 5:16 reminds us “the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.” Prayer is the freedom that overrides fear, selfishness, and self-preservation. Prayer is the dynamic that protects the ones we love, and those we don’t know but love anyway. Prayer places the future in the best hands.
Seriously, we don’t have to be consumed with the thought of staying safe in order for God’s loving intent to protect us. He just does. In fact, the very definition of Sovereignty means to be free from external control—God’s perfect purpose protects even when we can’t shield ourselves. You deserve the freedom in this thought. I do too.
We can live free.
It’s okay to be afraid. It really is. It’s smart to be cautious. It really is. But Romans 15:13 (above) tells us that it’s by the Holy Spirit we have power and hope. It’s my guess that this power makes us more alive today than ever before.
Remember: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1 ESV).
In Christ, our flesh is released from sin. In prayer we’re energized with LIFE. Friends, this is good news! Because in the beginning the world was great, and then it wasn’t. And maybe today is good, and then it’s not. There is freedom when we live in the Spirit and have conversations with the Father. In this new day we can pray.
Lord, we want to live our best life with You. Stripped down, sanded of all the things we once felt important, we can feel full and undeserving of Your joy. We can only look back and marvel at what You’ve done and praise You for what You are about to do. May we settle into Your hope and stay totally dissatisfied with self or fear. For freedom You have set us free. Amen.
About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their new book, Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.
Join the conversation: What have you found to help manage your fear in these uncertain times?