Okay, first off… you’ve got to love a band who calls themselves Big Daddy Weave. You just have to.
Second off… it’s about to get real up in here. If you’re not ready for that, then come back later. I understand.
If you’ve read the blog before, you know that overcoming fear is huge in my life. That Jesus is my deliverer. From Sin. From the past. From fear. If you’ve ready the blog before, you know I used to suffer from something called “agoraphobia.” What a nasty word and one that, thank my God, no longer applies to me. When I was 18, I started having panic attacks, so I avoided anywhere that might cause me to have one. That was pretty much everywhere outside of my front door. He allowed me to walk down a long road, a decade’s worth of begging him to be “normal,” of trying to keep my life controlled. Then he took me down a side road of dealing with stuff I’d been cramming inside my whole life. And then… freedom. On my 28th birthday.
One of my biggest fears, that thing I could literally never imagine myself doing, was flying. You want to talk the ultimate lack of control for someone who needed to control every single aspect of life? That was it. The thought that I would ever have to climb on an airplane totally paralyzed me and I figured I could go my whole life without ever having to. That’s what cars are for, right?
I’ve always said God has a sense of humor, and here it is. I’d always toyed with writing a story where a character has panic attacks and, last year, I did. Smokescreen released this month.
Why’s that important? Because last weekend, I voluntarily got on an airplane. I made the decision to fly somewhere I didn’t have to go and that I easily could have driven. I flew. No fear. Total deliverance. It was time. Did I enjoy it? Nope. But only because it was completely B-O-R-I-N-G. (Although I have to say a thunderstorm on the horizon at night from an airplane window? Man, God, You really do like showing off.) I was downright, God-given fearless. Not that I thought I wouldn’t be, it was simply the final step in a very long journey. We are all fortunate I did not fall to my knees in tears in Terminal B at the Atlanta airport because my God is awesome. We planted a flag. We declared final victory.
And I came back home knowing the devil was going to be M-A-D. And was he ever. He has literally ridden my case every waking minute of this week. You have no idea how many lies he has shouted at me this week. He’s even gone so far as to try to tell me God’s not real and this is all my imagination. I. Think. Not.
And God’s been hammering back with a song I have never really paid attention to. Big Daddy Weave’s “I Am Redeemed.” The chorus went round and round in my head. I finally youtubed it and sang it to God. I cried and laughed to God with it because I am free. And He is awesome.
I was supposed to fly to ACFW in three weeks and boy, the devil has been on that too. You. Have. No. Idea. Lately, some things have come up that made that trip more and more remote until it became clear I wouldn’t be able to go. And all I heard in my head was that it was about that flight. That, somehow, if I cancelled, it would be fear and not because of circumstances out of my control. Even though I’ve known for a while I couldn’t go, I fought the not going. It got to be so that I was afraid NOT to go. Afraid I’d fail the God who delivered me. Afraid I’d somehow, single-handedly, negate Jesus’ deliverance for me on the cross. (That’s a little arrogant, huh?) Yesterday, I finally acknowledged that this trip was not to be and made the necessary emails and phone calls.
And the devil jumped on me again. Failure. The great big F. Self-doubt. Even though I knew I was doing the right thing, somehow it got drowned out in the noise.
And still, God kept hammering right back. “I am redeemed… You set me free.” (Man, if you had any idea how big the word “freedom” is in my life…)
We go to church this morning and I’m a big ol’ bundle of self-doubt. Was that really God, or was it me speaking for God? And then the drummer stopped the music and prayed, which he never does. He said, “You know what? This week has just been full of stuff. Just… stuff. Heavy stuff. Let that all go and just praise him.” And then the leader stepped up and said, “Ever had God speak to you? Like a friend says something and then someone else says something and it all lines up and you just know God’s speaking to you? That’s why we’re singing this song today.”
And guess what it was.
I was–and still am–a mess of tears. My Jesus… He sent me a love letter. And I know everybody within ten feet of me was wondering what in the world was wrong but it wasn’t what was wrong… it was what was right.
I am redeemed.