Freedom is a word that gets tossed around a lot, and loses some of it’s meaning in the process I think. It’s defined as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” I am grateful to live in a country that allows me to write about my faith without consequence. I’m grateful that I have the right to believe in my God, to make my own choices, to care for my family the way that I feel is best. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that people fought hard for those freedoms we enjoy daily.
But freedom doesn’t just mean the power or right to live the way we choose. It also means “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.” And this is the definition that I’ve been wrestling with in my life as the idea of #thefreesummer landed in my heart.
Keep reading below to learn more about #thefreesummer!
Just click on any of the resource images below or the resource library link at the bottom of the post to download the free workbook. This post may contain affiliate links, which just means that if you purchase through my link our family gets a small percentage.
When I started the Graceful Summer series, I was really excited to share how I was doing summer and see what you guys were up to as well. Then, the Lord started pressing #thefreesummer on my heart.
I’m expectant and excited for a summer full of grace and freedom! I’m so thankful for a God who pursues my heart and just asks me to be still long enough to hear His direction.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)
The more I ponder what a “freedom summer” looks like, the more excited I get. I grew up in the country, and many of my best memories are of summer days and summer nights spent with family and friends that might as well be family. We would spend as much time as possible outside, and I just remember all the fun we had!
Sometimes I wish life could be as simple as it was back then. It’s so easy to get bogged down with all of life’s responsibilities. The enemy sets up his traps of perfection, striving, achieving – and we tend to step right into them.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
But God. Our flesh will always pull us toward getting more and being more and doing more – but God. He sent His Son to set us free. He sent the Spirit to live within us when we become followers of Christ. And He will always be everything we need.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)
So what does it look like to be set free? What does it look like to live free?
Galatians 5 in the Message version is such a powerful picture of what living a life of freedom in Christ looks like.
Freedom doesn’t mean doing whatever I want.
It’s really all about doing whatever HE wants – getting in tune with God’s plan and saying “yes” when He leads. This seems so backwards to our world’s way of defining freedom. We tend to think of being under some one else’s control or plan as lack of freedom, but when we submit our own plans and projects to Jesus we get to be part of something better than we could even imagine!
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.…When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. (vs 1, 4)
Freedom is really about others.
The more mainstream definition of freedom usually involves doing whatever YOU want, whenever YOU want. Doing what’s best for YOU, with very little concern for how it effects others – because the most important person is YOU.
As Christians, we are called to be set apart – different. Jesus’ definition of freedom is all about other people – serving, loving, forgiving. When we put our focus on God’s plan, we start to see ways that we can truly love those around us. By placing our eyes and our expectations on God’s plan rather than our own plan, the Spirit can move in our hearts and free us up to love others well – no matter what circumstances come our way.
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. (vs. 13-16)
Freedom results in a full life.
When we submit to God’s plan, we step into true freedom. Freedom to live the life we were created for. Freedom to love unconditionally. Freedom to live this life to the fullest.
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. (vs. 22-23)
Freedom is a choice.
When my husband and I got married, we were told that love is a choice – not a feeling. And that’s so true. I choose to love my husband every day, regardless of if he took out the trash when I asked or if we are in the midst of an argument. Freedom is the same way. We have to choose to live the life of the Spirit, rather than the life the world lays out for us. We have to choose to say yes to new life in Christ and no to our old ways of thinking every single day. Choosing the freedom way is played out in so many ways, but I think that the verses below really hit the nail on the head by narrowing much of our struggle for freedom down to comparison. The comparison trap finds it’s way into our hearts in so many ways. That person at the gym, that mom who looks so put together, that blogger who magically grew their following, that couple with the gorgeous home … and on and on! When we give in to that, we find ourselves vulnerable to a whole slew of dangerous thought patterns that take us in the opposite direction of freedom. I love the way verses 25 and 26 put it – choose freedom, work it out daily, focus on our unique purpose.
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original. (vs. 25-26)
The Freedom Summer
The more I dig into this idea of living in freedom, the more excited I get. There are several great books on the topic (including Wild and Free and The Wellness Revelation), and I am excited to keep learning.
I really wanted to share this idea of “the freedom summer” so I made a workbook for you to use as you flesh out what areas you are being called to freedom. There is a place to journal, doodle, and brainstorm, as well as a more guided page if you’re a wife and mama in ministry. If you and God have work to do in other areas, there is a page with blank headings so that you can write in your own. Just click on any of the images below or the resource library link at the bottom of the post to download the free workbook.
When I was journaling about my own freedom summer, the three areas that I am asking God to teach me how to live in freedom are marriage, motherhood and ministry. These are pretty broad – yours can be more specific! Whatever works for you and where you’re at. I decided to break it up into what I am free FROM and what I am free TO do. My action steps will come out of the “free to” column. I’m going to spend some time praying specifically over the “freedom from” column – I know that I am set free from those things, and I want to live it out!
- Pray that God would teach you to live out your freedom from the things you listed.
- Look up scripture to back up each thing you are claiming Christ’s freedom from.
- Make action steps for the items you listed in the “free to” column.
- For example, under motherhood I wrote “free to be present.” Something I am doing to live this out is putting my phone away as soon as I get home from work so that I can be 100% present with Logan.
- Think simple and practical for your action steps! They aren’t a massive to-do list, but a prayerful step to take in your journey to living in freedom.
Here are some additional questions to journal through as you work through this idea of freedom this summer.
- Jesus, who do you say I am?
- Who was I created to be?
- What in my past and present resonates with who Jesus says I am?
- What in my past and present needs go because it does not line up with who Jesus says I am?
- What changes need to happen through the power of the Holy Spirit?
If you want to download the freedom workbook, head on over to the resource library. If you’re not an official part of the community yet, you’ll have a chance to do that and then you’ll be sent a password for the library! Can’t wait to connect with you.
I am so excited to see what God shows you on your journey to freedom this summer. Please tag @thegracefuljourney on Instagram and use #gracefulsummer and #thefreesummer so that I can cheer you on and pray for you!
In grace & freedom,