I had no control over the last year of my life.
Yep, no control.
Sounds weird, doesn’t it? That’s how it seemed to all those around me.
Wrong. A bad decision. But to me it made perfect sense, and it has led me into the work-in-progress freedom I walk in today.
Eighteen months ago, I received a strong vision from the Lord (yes, we can still receive visions! Joel 2:28) that I was to complete two years of Bible college instead of immediately pursuing my Master’s degree and following my career plan.
He showed me my future family and said it would come by sewing myself into the fabric of His Kingdom over the next two years and completely trusting Him with my path. An incredible proposition some would balk at; yet, surprising even myself, I said “yes” without a moment’s thought.
I began Bible college in September 2018 and, a year on the other side of that “yes”, I am a completely different person. And a whole lot freer.
Over the past year, God has challenged, grown and shaped me in ways I could never have fathomed.
Character flaws have been brought to the surface; in public, even, and I’ve had to learn to become emotionally mature while in a position of leadership.
Having eyes on you while you’re growing, painfully, and then trying to lead others out of your brokenness isn’t the easiest experience. But we thank God for grace!
I’ve had such fun and have had some amazing experiences, and with another year to go, I am so looking forward to what more God has in store.
But my biggest takeaway from the past year is that through different people and situations, God carefully exposed cracks and wounds in my heart that needed healing. And what has amazed me is He has done it so, so kindly.
There were many areas of my heart that were so broken that they were affecting my relationships and interactions with others. The fractures were caused by past traumas including, but not limited to, relationship troubles and heartbreak, crossing boundaries, narcissistic parenting, fatherlessness, domestic abuse and even sexual abuse. I seem to have drawn somewhat of a short straw at birth.
But God wanted to show me that this was not the end of my story, but only the beginning!
He came to me carrying a torch in one hand and a scalpel in the other: carefully illuminating areas that needed repairing and then slowly scraping away at the roots of rejection and abandonment that had made a home in my heart and were manifesting into unfavourable, debilitating behaviours in my daily life.
As this began, and wound after wound was healed, I started to wake each day into a newfound freedom I never thought possible.
How did I do this? How did I let God take control of my life and fix me when I realised I could no longer do this life by myself?
I prayerfully allowed Him in.
You may be reading this thinking there are issues in your life you want freedom from, and that it’s as easy as saying a quick prayer to get God to heal you. But it isn’t. It takes daily – sometimes even minute by minute – purposeful, conscious decisions to take this path; constant forgiveness of yourself and others; discipline; friends, pastors and counsellors; and that mustard seed of faith.
In John 8:31-32, Jesus says that if we follow His word, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. You may feel like getting about this healing business is tough work – that there are too many areas to patch up – but God has already done most of it.
All you need to do is look to His word and replace the lies you have believed over the course of your life about yourself and your situation with the truth of what He says about your life and who you are.
This is the crux of healing, and it is on this principle that you are made free. And if Jesus sets you free, you are free indeed (John 8:36)!
It’s too easy for us as Christians to think that once we are saved and born again, nothing else needs to change. We have already been made into a new creation, where the old us has faded away and a new life has begun (2 Corinthians 5:17). While this is true, it isn’t the end of the road: we are called to be continually transformed by the renewing of our minds with His word (Romans 12:2).
Freedom isn’t a one-time event, it’s a consistent choice! And we get there by the renewal of ourselves; the healing of our hearts. That is painstaking work – an arduous, slow walk – but we must do it to experience true freedom. And we can’t do it alone. The Lord is kind: He willingly walks alongside us and catches us when we stumble. All we have to do is ask Him, for the one who asks receives (Matthew 7:8).
Healing doesn’t pertain just to the physical, although I am so grateful, having been physically healed too. It pertains to every aspect of ourselves: spirit, soul, body, mind. We just have to let Him in.
I am by no means finished – there is definitely more freedom for me, and I’m sure in the future there will be things that will hurt and wound me that I’ll need to work through.
But I am so glad that by saying a faith-filled “yes” to God taking control, I have been transformed and I’m in good stead for the rest of my life.
I am so eager to continue this conversation, and I have some superb resources to recommend that have been a huge help to me! You don’t need to do this alone. If you want to get in touch, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a cheeky DM on Instagram: @kimberleyjohn_