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Pathways to Freedom

“To serve God, to love God, to enjoy God, is the sweetest freedom in the world.”

Thomas Watson

I’ve experienced a roller coaster of emotions during the pandemic and our time of quarantine. There are days as if nothing has changed and others where I’m fighting against fear, confusion, and sluggishness. First Samuel chapter one describes three ways toward emotional health and well-being.

The story line involves a barren woman named Hannah who yearned to give birth to a child. Hannah wept bitterly, wouldn’t eat, and she was deeply distressed. She told the priest Eli that she had great anxiety and vexation. After her brief encounter with Eli, verse eighteen says, “Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” Hannah’s countenance changed. She experienced emotional freedom as she took three steps.

We see Hannah’s first step toward an emotional transformation in verse eleven. Hannah made a vow to God. If He remembered and answered the cry of her heart, she would dedicate her child back to the Lord. Before Hannah became pregnant, she surrendered and released to God what would be her most treasured possession – her son. Letting go is one of the pathways to emotional wholeness.

Secondly, Hannah prayed and poured out her soul before the Lord (I Samuel 1:15b). When you’re anxious and troubled, be vulnerable with your feelings to God. Even though He already knows how you’re doing, you become aware of your emotional pulse when you articulate it. Putting a name to how we’re feeling frees us from the swirl within us. Sharing the deepest parts of our heart causes us to being known by God, which deepens our intimacy. 

Lastly, Hannah found hope and encouragement in Eli’s blessing over her in I Samuel 1:17. “Then Eli answered, ‘Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to Him.’” Scripture verses and prophetic words spoken to us through the Holy Spirit and others, are promises we can hold on to, which help us anchor into the Lord.

The next time you lose your inner peace, try one of Hannah’s pathways to freedom. Release and surrender it to God. Name how you’re feeling and pour out your heart to the Lord. Place your hope in the promises of God’s Word and prophetic encouragement.

“Sin creates the illusion of freedom. In the end it fools us into seeking freedom from God rather than finding freedom in God.”

Erwin McManus

Relevant Reflection:

Which of these pathways to emotional freedom is the Lord leading you to embrace today?

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