the obstacle in the way of our freedom

We lean in closer. We need to hear it again. “You are loved. I will love you outrageously all the days of your life.”

Graham Cooke declares it. He declares it with the Voice of truth singing loud and strong: “You can only love Me as much as you love yourself. So my love comes to set you free from yourself, to set you free from how you see yourself, to set you free from the smallness of your own thinking about yourself.”

Our Father comes and frees us from the smallness of our own thinking because of the abuse, the self-contempt, the despair, the shame, the pride, the fear.

Obstacle to freedom

The six of us sit in a circle around the small portable speaker placed on the ottoman in the center of the room. We are hungry, searching. We are missing God. We are tired and want to lay ourselves down.

We gather, the six of us, because the lies have come again. Silently. Stealthily. They have crept in, and we didn’t even see them. But they are tangible. They are dark. We can feel them on our skin, our minds, our hearts.

I am too much. I am not enough. I live with guilt that I am not a good mom, a good wife, a good friend. I look back and regret, wishing I could do things differently. I am afraid I will fail.

So we remind each other of Truth. We ask Holy Spirit to reveal to us the obstacle stealing our joy. We give God the obstacle and ask Him to replace it with his kindness, his love. We ask Him to increase our capacity for receiving his love.

I know what my obstacle is. It is ugly. An awful word.


I listen again: We can only love God from the love He gives. Being open to more of God’s love for us is an act of loving ourselves. And loving ourselves, through the love God gives us, helps us to love God.

But this doesn’t feel easy to do.

It can be difficult to be kind to ourselves. We resist receiving the love that God wants to give us. We resist living in the freedom of His love and truth and light.

For each of us, there is usually an obstacle to receiving God’s love. There is something in our way.

In the circle, my sisters and I speak the truth of Scripture to each other. We soak up encouragement and truth. We listen for the heart of God. We go to battle for our own hearts–and for the hearts of each other. We ask God to destroy the lies. We ask Him to take away the messages we believe that steal our joy and press heavily on our hearts.

I tell my friends that I feel the spirit of diminishment upon me, or the spirit of chaos, or the spirit of distraction and comparison and envy and self-contempt. Which one? Each an obstacle to receiving the love of God.

Again, self-contempt.

Self-contempt prompts me toward further self-diminishment. I scroll Facebook when the lights are turned off at night, torturing myself with comparison, envy, fear. Everything in the Facebook feed looks so beautiful, so perfect. I focus on what I am not, not on whom God says I am.

Self-contempt makes me feel isolated, alone. I feel removed, far away from God. Relationships suffer. I push people away–all because my heart is suffering too.

Breathing Eden - Freedom

Father, take this away from me. I give you my self-contempt. Set me free from myself. Set me free. I repent of my attitude of ingratitude, looking at what I don’t have rather than at what I have been given. 

The words playing over the speaker soften my hardened heart. These words bring me Home:  “He loves you 100% right now. He loves you 100%. Because that’s His nature. He loves all the way, all the time. His love is unchanging. What will change is your ability to receive my love.”

Yes, God, I open my heart to You. I want more of your love. I give You this obstacle. I see You moving it completely out of the way.

Sister, let us fight for our own heart. Let us join together, picking up our swords of truth, laying down the lies that steal our joy. Will you name your obstacle that is stealing your joy? We can pray for one another here.

The clock is ticking on receiving the pre-order bonuses for Breathing Eden. The watercolor print pdfs are ready to email out, and I have finished up the Breathing Eden Girlfriends’ Guide. You don’t want to miss these. Yeah, I am a little biased, but I think you’re going to love this stuff. Here’s an image showing all the other resources you might get if you pre-order and send me your receipt ( by this Monday, October 3! Get the details here.

Breathing Eden pre order gifts

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  • This is exactly where I am at! i am so thankful that you put it into words… i have let so many of the lies creep in to my life,that I believe them daily… Self contempt, regret, image issues… It is hard to believe that he LOVES me 100%….. The worst part is, I did believe it for a few seasons…. But then the lies crept back….thank you for being transparent, I see I am not alone and that the enemy of our souls is after so many of our brothers and sisters…. Women, mothers, sisters…thank you, I have felt more encouraged this morning then I have in quite a while…I am laying in down before him, once again.. God bless you..
    in His Love…

  • I lay down the lie that I am not enough…I pick up the Truth that I am loved and I am enough in Him, cherished and protected and covered by His unending amazing love…

  • I lay down the lie that I failed my daughter by not teaching her money matters because of depression, I lay down the lie that I’m not smart enough, good enough, I lay down the lie that My ex told me that I’d never find another man to love me or another husband, I lay down the lie that I’m not smart enough to understand all that I have to learn in my Keyholder position at work.

    • Bless you, Rhonda. This is awesome! Even after I wrote this post last night, my heart was troubled. There was some deep-seeded stuff I needed Jesus to help me see. I type these words to you now, so encouraged–as I have just finished turning over my heart again to Him. I feel like we have shared this, battled for our hearts, together. Now, after you have asked Him to take these lies–now that you have broken them–try to find some time today to return to Him in prayer. Ask Jesus what He truth He wants you to receive from Him in replacement of these lies. Much love to you! Also, here is the link to the song I meant to share with this post. Would love to know what you think!

  • Yes, it resonates in my heart. I feel a deep sense of disappointment! I believed with all my heart that our (my husband and my-as a couple’s ) breakthrough was close. Everyrhing pointed to that ! The prophetic word on our lives, our intercessors confirming words and scripture. What we believed we heard during our quiet times with God and seperately. Only to be sweeped away. I am at that point where I believe God is a good Father, a loving Father, just not for us/me. Even As I type it I feel the condemnation coming on me. How can I even think that! However I dont know which lie to lay down. Where do I start?

    • Hi Liza, I can totally relate to what you are talking about. . . How our unmet expectations can lead to doubting of God’s provision, goodness, and love. It is a crazy downward slope, and the enemy just loves to mess with us when we are feeling this way. Just this morning, my husband and I delayed work and had to stay in the car for a while to pray. It was because my turning over of lies and breaking agreements led to the realization that I was doubting God’s goodness–doubting that He was big enough, doubting His love. So it as so good, so healing, to confess this to Jesus, and turn this all over to Him. I would start there, sister. You encourage me, with your beautiful, vulnerable heart.

      And here is the link I meant to include in the post. It is so good!

  • I lay down the lie that I am not a good enough wife, Elder, and Daughter-In-Law. I pick up the truth of God’s Love in my life. I’ve been told since I was a child that I am a disappointment and a failure; however, with the love of God, I know better. I am His and He is mine always and forever. I am His before I am anyone else’s and knowing this, I am satisfied.

  • I believed the lies all these years that I was no good, that nothing good would ever come to me, that no one could love me…then I met Jesus and His perfect love for me and everyone, changed my whole life, but from time to time those ugly lies rear up their head and I fall into a deep pit. There’s only one way out and that’s with Jesus help. I keep reading Gods Word, post from you and others daily, they help me tremendously.

  • I feel rejection ever since I was a young girl up to my adult years. Rejection of being ugly, overweight, and lies about me. Even when I haven’t done anything wrong, I’m caught in the middle and then the person who is angry at someone else gets mad at me. I’ve given these rejections over to God and He says He loves more than anything or anyone who has hurt me. Praise God! And God bless you Jennifer for your book. It has opened my eyes in so many ways.

  • Amen and amen!!! I am so all of that! All day long I’m in confession: I’m jealous, envious, angry, anxious, depressed, resentful, unholy, unworthy of His love, …and the list goes on. These thoughts and temptations of sin have been gnawing on me for quite a while now. I haven’t always been in “confession all day long,” but have recently begun confessing right when the sin of (any of those above, and more) enter my mind. It’s helping, leaving no room for festering and bitterness. I know His Word says, if we confess, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, AND cleanse us of unrighteousness. Thank you for always reminding us of His love for us – it all the more spurs me on. <3

  • Hey Jennifer! Thank you for your words. It is all too easy for us to get caught up on the lies. I will be 63 on Monday, and still fight with the lies. While there have been times that I believed I had overcome the lies, and did cling to Gods truth, what I am finding is that unless and until I become totally vulnerable with Him, and allow the Holy Spirit to dig deep into my heart, soul and mind, those lies will return. Interesting how quickly we allow Satans lies to take hold, and how much longer it takes to believe the truth of who we are in Christ. Kind of like physical fitness …so easy to get out of shape and so much harder to get back into shape!