Purposeful Faith

The Key to Freedom

Blog Post by:  Abby McDonald

“It’s not about you.”

The words hit me with a palpable force. My pride wanted to take over and convince me that the statement was a lie.

But deep down, I know it was the truth. How long had I been running from God? Months? Years? I couldn’t remember the last time I just rested in the comfort of his presence.

Like so many young adults, my feelings toward the church had become jaded after high school. Leaders who I looked up to had let me down. I’d been hurt by people I trusted, and projected their faults onto a perfect God. I turned my back on Him and the church and for many years, I ran.

Now I had a new baby and a husband, and I knew I needed to somehow get it together. I was trying so hard to behave, to be the perfect wife and mother, but I knew I was failing miserably.

We had recently moved to a new area and begun attending a church, and I attempted to play the role I thought I was supposed to play. I abandoned destructive habits. I watched my mouth. But my heart was still guarded and hurting.

A bitter root had planted itself deep within me, and I didn’t know how to displace it.

As I was sitting on the couch one chilly fall evening, I read those words in the opening chapter of a book about our life’s purpose.

“It’s not about you.”

Something inside of me unlocked. I realized that all of my focus for so many years had been inward, but freedom comes when we fix our eyes upward.

When I turned away from God my focus was on myself. When I strove to behave and be the model church attendee, my focus was on myself. Suddenly, instead of fixating on me, I centered my thoughts on the One who gave me life.

Our sacrifices will never replace what God desires from us the most: a surrendered heart.

James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

Humbling myself begins when I say, “God I may not understand everything that’s happened in my life or what you’re doing, but trust you.”

I trust that He is God and that if I love him, he will work it out for my good. (Romans 8:28) I trust that his thoughts are higher than my thoughts and his ways higher than my ways. (Isaiah 55:8)

With a surrendered heart, I see that God is sovereign even in the midst of uncertainty, turmoil and heartbreak. I see that because we live in a fallen world, suffering is inevitable but also a means of growth.

As I focus upward and outward instead of inward, that bitter root begins coming undone, and what was once resentment turns into gratitude.

Is there an area of your life where you’re holding on to bitterness toward God? Can I encourage you to take the following steps?

Pray. Ask God to give you clarity. We serve a big God and our questions do not scare him away. You may receive answers and you may not, but presenting your requests to him will bring peace.
Be honest. God already knows your heart. Don’t be afraid to tell him.
Thank. Thank God for all the blessings in your life. One of the best ways to displace bitterness is with a thankful heart.
Read. Immerse yourself in God’s word. His Spirit will speak to you and bring you understanding.

Friend, as you read this today, I am praying for you. I believe that God is going to do amazing things through you. There’s only one step left to take: Surrender.  Find the Key to Freedom.

Until we meet again,


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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Abby- your words were a timely reminder this morning. Makes me realize how prone I am…how prone we all are, to let our eyes turn back on ourselves. Without a daily, often hourly reminder that I live for his glory, not my own, I am a mess. In the blink of an eye I’ll start rehearsing my own awesomeness, and forget my purpose. I’m praying today that you’ll be mindful all day long that you were made for his name and renown…(and actually I’ll pray that for myself, too, while I’m at it!)

    • Abby, I so need this reminder: “it’s not about your, Betsy.” I so often turn life into being about my own comfort, my own convenience. (my own hurts and offenses too) I become the center of my universe! So it’s good to remember that my life is for HIS glory.

      I’ve enjoyed reading the other comments here.

      • I think it’s a trap we can all fall into, Betsy. I’m so grateful God opened my eyes and that He continues to do so. Thank you for your continual encouragement. You are a blessing to me, friend.

    • Amy I accidentally put my comment for Abby in the box under your name! But this one is to you:

      You’re a breath of fresh air, Amy. We all start rehearsing our own awesomeness, but few of us admit it! 🙂 I’m also being reminded that I live for HIS glory, not my own.

  • Amen, Amy. I have to remind myself this so often. You are awesome! But you are awesome because you are his. Thanks so much for your encouragement, friend. You bless me in more ways than you know.

  • “…but freedom comes when we fix our eyes upward.”
    Amen, Abby! Those words ring true today.
    Many thanks for the encouragement.

  • Wow did I need to hear this today, and remember that it is NOT about me. This changes my perspective, even if it is just today anyway. I think I have spiritual dementia at times. LOL! I may forget this tomorrow. But I am going to take it one day at a time and today I am focusing upward. 🙂

    • I think we all get spiritual dementia sometimes, Jodie. 😉 I still have to remind myself of this message, but I’m amazed how much more at peace I am when my focus is outward. Yes, just one day at a time. This we can do. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here.

  • Hi Abby,
    What a powerful post…your message describes my son to a t. He was raised in the church, was active in youth group, played in the worship band and then it happened – an experience that hurt him so much and made him really resentful of the church, “church people” and even God. He’s walked away and hasn’t been back for years…he is now almost 22. The bitter root has dug its roots deep and I pray continuously that God would soften his hardened heart. He so needs to look outward and upward instead of inward. I pray that God could turn that resentment into gratitude. Would you pray for him? I do believe strongly in the power of prayer warriors. I keep trying to tell him it’s not about him…hopefully one day that message will sink in?! Thanks for listening…
    Blessings and ((hugs)),

    • I will definitely pray for your son, Bev. Thanks for sharing. It is difficult to let it go but I’m living proof that God can soften a person’s heart. Much love to you.

  • Thanks for sharing such beautiful, wise words, Abby. I love what you said, “I’d been hurt by people I trusted, and projected their faults onto a perfect God.” Your love for Jesus shines! Thanks for letting your life lead others to such a loving God!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Katy! It took me a while to realize that’s what I was doing, but God finally opened my eyes through some very wise counsel. He is so good.

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