Loving Freely is a resource developed by Dan Crain, Pastor, Consultant and Connector for REMERGE.
Loving Freely unpacks the need for us to examine ourselves in order to truly know how to love and serve others as the beloved children of God. The process is spelled out through the Loving Freely Process and able to be lived into with the Loving Freely Seven.
It is a five hour training introducing those who help others to receive help themselves.
The false self is driven by its own agenda and will do anything to control the situation or events of the day. Or, as Robert Mulholland describes in The Deeper Journey; “Our false self is a master manipulator, always seeking to leverage its world and all those in it in ways most advantageous to our own security, prestige and, especially, agenda. Having lost the true ground of our identity in loving union with God, where our real purpose in life is found, our false self must generate its own purpose.”
All of what Mulholland describes as the false self happened in a span of a few hours one day. What transpired completely knocked me off what Howard Thurman describes as an Island of Peace within one’s one soul. It left me scattered, mad, bitter and completely out of center in Christ.
Here’s what happened.
It was a Friday and I had a window of two hours to spend some quality time with our son and a couple of his buddies from the neighborhood to play basketball together. As an idealist, I played the scenario out perfectly in my mind as to what those two hours would look like. It would be a perfect combination of mentoring, youth development, and pouring into my own son.
We would make a quick run to Walmart, get a couple basketballs, go to the courts, play a little bit of 2 v 2, sit down and talk about Jesus, integrity, peer-pressure, etc. and then grab a small bit to eat. As I said, I only had a small window of time so everything had to run perfectly.
Everything was running great until we came to the check out line at Walmart. For fifteen minutes we waited as the line moved painstakingly slow. After twenty minutes, I had enough and put the basketballs down and walked out of the store in a rage.
My perfect agenda had been ruined. We ended up playing ball and having a good time, but as I sat down at the basketball court and began to reflect upon the last two hours, the Holy Sprit of God began to convict me and I invited him to guide me into the truth of scripture and see what had triggered me so badly.
I was quickly reminded of Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 14; “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” Or, as David said in Psalm 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Sometimes we as believers are terrible at processing what’s happening inside of us and we need to allow Christ’s Spirit to guide us.
As Christ’s Spirit searched my inner motives and anxious thoughts, I was operating from what Pastor Sebastian Holley states in his book, Motive Matters, from a “qualification based mindset”.
It’s the false belief that if I accomplished a certain task, I would be fulfilled. He states in his book, “Think about when there is an extra amount of frustration concerning our efforts to do a work for God. Remember, we should be working with God not just for God; otherwise we are brought back to qualification-based thinking.”
The whole time I was doing a work for God, not with God, forcing my agenda and this completely knocked me off of my Island of Peace in Christ.
What knocked me off this Island of Peace? It was my false self driven by its own agenda to have to accomplish something meaningful. The false self is “always seeking to leverage its world and all those in it in ways most advantageous to our own security, prestige and, especially, agenda.”
But why was I driven so much by my false self for its own security, prestige and agenda? What was happening internally that drove me to try and control the agenda for the day? What was divided internally that manifested itself externally?
If I’m honest, if I didn’t accomplish something meaningful for the day, then I don’t believe I’m meaningful. My false self is always driven by something trying to make up for any deficiencies in myself.
And all of this comes out of my core lie from my family of origin. My core lie from the past that is that I am failure and from this I’ve developed a deep self-hatred for myself. I then overcompensate by becoming a performer and then operate from the “qualification based mindset.”
The reality is that we’re always being triggered by something during the course of the day. It typically manifests itself in our longing for affirmation or approval, to be in control, safety or security, or the longing to be our own god. And these triggers are rooted in our family of origin, which manifests our core lie. These must be constantly confessed to Christ and our community in order for us to love freely as God’s beloved children. Or, as the writer of Hebrews commands us to in chapter 12; “let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
Christ wants us to live a life of freedom from our triggers in order to love others freely. But, we must yield our false selves to His tender work of the Spirit as he reminds us of our belovedness in Him.
Thanks be to God and his work of grace in my life, I am learning to be more sensitive to God’s Spirit when I feel as if I am wandering from by belovedness as God’s child. It’s having this awareness of what’s triggering me that allows me to love others freely.
What’s triggering you today?
What do you need to confess to Christ and others?
What’s the root issue? (core lie)
How is Christ coming to you through this experience?
Take some time today to reflect on the Loving Freely Seven.