Those of you who know me know I LOVE God and His Word. While the world thinks being a Christian and living according to the truths of the Bible means living a life of bondage, hemmed in with rules and regulations at every turn, the truth is exactly the opposite. Living God's way brings freedom, not bondage!
Perhaps you already know that, but the question is, do you live it? We can believe all the right things and still get entangled in the lies of the enemy. So how do we get free from these entanglements and live the abundant life God has for us?
I'm excited to share with you a brand new study from my friend Cindy Bultema that will help us to answer this question! Cindy's study "Live Full, Walk Free" uses the apostle Paul's letter to the church he planted in the sinful city of Corinth to help us navigate our way through the sinful culture we live in today.
Here’s Cindy with a sneak peek at Chapter 5 of Live Full Walk Free:
You Are Not the Only One
I was talking with my friend Jamie recently after she’d had a long, disappointing Monday.
Everywhere she turned she was pelted with lies, frustration, and discouragement.
Jamie was lamenting that at the end of her long day, in the midst of trying to bake cookies for a sick friend—and burning half of them—she caved in and inhaled a huge handful of half-burned cookies.
Easy comfort, right? Except every woman knows what happened next: After eating those cookies, Jamie carried guilt and shame on top of everything else that had gone wrong in her life on that horrible, rotten, no good day.
I have so been there. My guess is: you have too.
One more cookie story, because in this life we will have cookie temptations.
Once, when my kids were ages one, two, three and ten, I came up with the brilliant idea to invite all the 4th grade moms from my son’s school over for coffee, conversation, and homemade chocolate chip cookies.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, but my plan to win friends and influence people through chocolate quickly went bust. In the midst of trying to keep my kiddos busy, roll store-bought dough onto cookie sheets, and frantically hide all our clutter – I gave in and ate (more like “sucked down”) four ooey, gooey warm and chewy cookies.
Later that week, when I sunk down into my therapist’s couch, I cried and told her that I was disgusted with myself. I was filled with self-loathing, and shame. Why? Because of the cookies. I told her that I had been striving to pretend I had it all together – when the reality was I was hanging on by a thread (a thin thread, at that).
And then, longing for connection and acceptance from these other moms, I had tried to numb my feelings with homemade cookies. And afterward, what did I do? I let the enemy flood me with lies and guilt and shame.
My therapist listened and nodded. “Cindy, do you think you are the only woman who has eaten some of her homemade cookies?”
“But I ate four cookies. Not one, not two, but four.” I said loudly, as if she spoke a foreign language and couldn’t understand the meaning of the number four.
“Cindy, do you think you are the only woman who has eaten FOUR of her homemade cookies?” my therapist replied.
“Um, yeah, probably not”.
So recently, when I listened to my friend Jamie describe her discouragement and self-loathing over eating her chocolate chip cookies, I recycled my therapist’s question.
“Jamie, do you think you are the only woman who has eaten some of her homemade cookies? Because, friend, you are not the only one.”
The words I gave Jamie are the words I want to give to you: You are not the only one.
· You are not the only one who deviated from your healthy eating plan.
· You are not the only one who feels disappointed, discouraged, or overwhelmed.
· You are not the only one who wonders if you’re “not enough” compared to air brushed perfection.
And, sweet friend, you are not meant to live under harsh judgment, condemnation, and self-loathing.
Thankfully God’s Word speaks realistically to you, to me, and to cookie lovers everywhere about how to live full, free lives—even in the midst of our most disappointing and discouraging of days.
We can start by choosing to extend the same grace we would share with a girlfriend to ourselves.
We would never say to a friend who indulged on fresh-baked cookies, “You stink. You have no self-control, everyone thinks you are fat, and no one likes you anyway.”
You would never say that, right?
So why do we let the enemy put such horrible, garbage thoughts in our head?!
Let’s choose grace over guilt.
Let’s choose freedom over frustration.
Let’s choose kindness over constant criticism and comparisons.
Let’s choose life…life to the full, more than enough, super abundance, full, free life! (John 10:10)
May the God who made you, knows you, loves you, and desires to fill your days with satisfying, life-giving moments remind you afresh that you are accepted, loved and enough—cookie crumbs and all!
Cindy’s latest Bible study, Live Full Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World was released in December 2016. Visit her blog to watch the study trailer, and download a FREE sample chapter and set of A-Z scripture cards: http://www.cindybultema.com/live-full-walk-free/
With nearly 20 years of ministry experience, Cindy is a popular women’s speaker, author, and Bible teacher. But don’t let her cheerful smile fool you—Cindy has endured single parenting, overcome bondage to addiction, and survived tragic loss. Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and their four kids. Most days you can find Cindy walking her beagle Rocky, attending one of her boys’ hockey games, or serving hot lunch at her kids’ school. Connect with Cindy at www.cindybultema.com.