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Living Life to the Fullest

Living Life to the Fullest

Right now in the Northeast, the weather is cold. My little ones and I bundle up in puffy coats, hats, scarves, and gloves to go outside. All this clothing keeps us warm in the frosty air however it becomes a burden when we’re at the mall.

Shopping can quickly become nearly unbearable when my little ones whine, “Mommy, carry my coat PLEASE.” I totally get it. I don’t like walking around and getting overheated either, but I hate carrying coats even more. So, I usually say “No, sweetie, carry your own coat. We won’t be here long.”

My husband is much more gracious than I am. He is more than happy to mind our belongings as we run around the store getting what we need.

When that happens I can’t help but feel light and unencumbered. I am in a better mood, I can think clearly, and I get things done faster. If only for a little while, I am not weighed down with all that stuff.

In Hebrews 12:1 it says

So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up.

God does not want us running our race, living our lives, weighed down.

According to the Bible, repenting of sin lifts a heavy burden that prevents us from thriving. Letting go of grudges and releasing bitterness frees us up to love others well. Also, revealing a secret we’ve kept can be cathartic and reduce stress and anxiety.

In my prayer time I often ask, “Lord, search my heart. Show me what’s holding me back, slowing down my race? What specifically keeps me from being closer to You?”

Gradually God shows me areas of my heart He wants to heal.

In the young adult book, For Love & Honor, Lady Sabine is a wealthy noblewoman who is carrying a dangerous secret. Not only could it cause physical harm both to herself and her grandmother, but keeps her from experiencing life to the fullest. Sir Bennet, a potential suitor, carries around baggage of his own while desperately trying to make up for the mistakes of his brother. When the two begin to have feelings for each other, their relationship is strained by lack of trust, insecurity, and comparison. It all comes to a head when they are attacked by a neighboring lord.

As the reader, you can’t help but get engrossed with this tale because the story is told through the alternating perspectives of both Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet. Not only does it keep the story interesting but also provides insight into the characters’ motivation.

I won’t give too much of the story away but I will tell you that shedding secrets, leaving the past behind, and letting go of false expectations brings freedom for Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet.

I have experienced this freedom in my personal life as well. Have you?

I’d prefer to hide what I think others won’t accept and push myself to meet expectations I was never meant to meet. But that just weighs me down and prevents me from encountering the depths of God’s love.

Asking God to come into the hurt places of my heart isn’t easy but it’s worth it.

The freedom I experienced walking around while shopping with my husband pales in comparison to the freedom God wants us to walk around with in this life. Jesus came to bring us life and life to the fullest!

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Your Turn

What are some of the “extra baggage” items in your life that keep your from running your race & experiencing the freedom Christ has for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!