“I feel like I’m in hell.” During times of intense suffering, it is not uncommon…
The quote on the image above is from Henri Nouwen. Nouwen’s full quote is:
When you are interiorly free you call others to freedom, whether you know it or not. Freedom attracts wherever it appears. A free man or a free woman creates a space where others feel safe and want to dwell. Our world is so full of conditions, demands, requirements, and obligations that we often wonder what is expected of us. But when we meet a truly free person, there are no expectations, only an invitation to reach into ourselves and discover there our own freedom. – Henri Nouwen
I love the picture of possibility that this quote paints. Safety. Acceptance. Relief. And of course, freedom.
I so desire to be such a space for others. To be invitingly free! Interior freedom is not a place to arrive at or a status to achieve. It is a moment-to-moment choice to make. At every moment, I have the choice to accept the Truth that Christ offers me or to believe some lie that the enemy is handing me. And therein lies the choice to be free or bound.
One of the most beautiful Truths offered us is that we have been made in the likeness and image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). We could unpack these verses for days (at least!). For starters:
God is love – and I am made in the image and likeness of Love.
God is Good – and I am made in the image and likeness of Good.
God is Mercy – and I am made in the image and likeness of Mercy.
Contrast the Truth with these thoughts (aka, lies) which seem to show up all-to-frequently in my inner dialogue (and maybe in yours?):
You aren’t lovable.
You aren’t good enough for that; you’re not as good as they think you are.
How could you possibly forgive him/her? What they did is unforgivable.
More often than not, I’ll find myself feeling down, or frustrated, or perhaps even hopeless, before I’ve even become aware of thinking such thoughts as above. The moment of choice – that moment when I can actively reject the enemy’s lies that I am unlovable or unworthy or unforgiving – slipped on by, imperceptibly.
My purpose in writing this post is to remind us (read: myself) that these moments of choice exist and occur regularly, so we can be on the lookout for them, listening more closely within, attuning our ears to any thoughts that are not aligned with the Truth. Because this really is a crucial step in becoming more and more interiorly free. When we recognize the enemy’s chatter within us – again, any thought that is NOT aligned with the Truth – we choose freedom as we clearly say, “No! I reject this thought, in the name of Jesus.” Or how about “Get behind me Satan!”
The good news is that the enemy is not that creative with the lies he speaks to us and the tactics he employs to pull us off our path. His ways have been described and recorded over the centuries so we can become aware of them and recognize them happening within ourselves. A ministry called Heart of the Father has created a list of the enemy’s common lies, which can be a helpful starting point. You can find that list by clicking here.
As we near the end of the Easter season, let’s say the words we spoke at the start by renewing our baptismal promises once again (seriously, we can do this everyday as needed):
Do you reject Satan? R. I do.
And all his works? R. I do.
And all his empty promises? R. I do.
Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? R. I do.
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? R. I do.
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? R. I do.
God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever. R. Amen.
Jesus, I claim Your Truth over my mind and over my life.
Copyright 2018 De Yarrison