How I Found Freedom
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How I Found Freedom

I have been lost my entire life, drowning in anxiety and depression but I have found freedom in an unconditional love that is unlike anything I've ever known.

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How I Found Freedom
Emily Charton

Most of you will scroll past this article due to that one simple but extraordinary name in the title. Jesus. Unfortunately, Jesus isn't a name that most of us want to proclaim, but let me tell you something, you would find so much freedom if you did. Most of us correlate the name Jesus straight to religion, I am guilty of this. Hopefully, you will stick with me throughout this article so I can explain to you just how Jesus destroyed my religion and introduced me to true freedom.

I am not your typical Christian, I wasn't raised in a Christian home, I have tattoos, and I wear ripped jeans. It's funny how I used to think that these simple things disqualified me from knowing God's love. These tiny things that my religion deemed unholy, but the thing so many of us mess up is that we don't answer to religion or the church, we answer to Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. It doesn't matter what is on your body, what matters is what is in your heart. When Jesus looks at you, He does not look at the clothing you wear or the writing on your body, He sees straight through to your beautiful beating heart. If only more individuals understood this, the world would be a place of love and acceptance. Let me tell you how Jesus saved me, and hopefully, you will understand Him a little better.

I am no expert on Jesus, I don't think anyone is but what I am trying to say is you don't need to be an expert on Christianity or the Bible to know His love. I am just barely dipping my toes into the vast ocean of Jesus' love, and I am already overwhelmed.

My whole life I've been looking for something, something to belong to, something to love, and something or someone that would love me unconditionally. I tried to find this in people, I tried to find it in sports, in writing, in music, but the majority of the time I found myself extremely disappointed in the lack of results. I struggled with feeling disconnected from the world around me and the people in it and nothing I tried could quite fill this hole that I've been carrying in my heart for all these years.

I began to lose hope and I tried so hard to accept that life just wasn't what I thought it was going to be, but no matter how many times I told myself that, I knew in every fiber of my being that there was something more. I just couldn't seem to find it, until June of 2016 when I found myself pulling into the tiny parking lot of Life Church on Sand Creek Road.

I was aimlessly driving around my town and happen to see an energetic woman waving me into the parking lot like she was waiting for me like she was expecting me. I walked in and took a seat in the very back, my anxiety was through the roof at this point, I am not what you call a spontaneous person and I just pulled into a church I know nothing about with people flooding through the double doors like ants. I did my best to remain calm and breathe. As the lights dimmed and the band leads us into the first song of worship I found myself astounded by the people around me. The way they flung their hands up in the air like they were reaching for stars I couldn't see, the way the danced as if they were the only ones in the room, the way freedom hug in the air like an early morning fog.

I remember thinking to myself how it must feel to be that comfortable, to let myself be undone, to give myself away like that. After worship was over the pastor walked on stage and began to speak and every word that came from her mouth was like a bullet aimed directly at my heart. Every word aimed precisely at the thick shell that has formed around it over the years. She said that there was someone in the room today that has been carrying this emptiness in them and they've been searching their whole lives to find something to fill it and in that moment a fresh stream of tears leaked down my cheeks because I knew, I just knew she was talking to me, that God chose this exact moment to come to me, to show me he has been chasing me my entire life while all I've done was run away.

In that moment I stopped running and I let God catch me and there are no words to ever describe the feeling I felt walking out of Life Church that day. I was free, I was free of fear, I was free of regret, I was free of shame and I was free of the never-ending feeling of never being enough.

I had found the unconditional love of Jesus Christ and it was so much more than I could have ever imagined. In God, I have found the purpose of my life and it is, always has been and always will be to lead others into freedom, into love, and into acceptance. I hope some of you read this and decide to take a spontaneous trip to a church they've never been because I promise you, God has been waiting for you.

Freedom has been waiting for you. Anyways for those of you who have stuck with me throughout this article, I hope you got something out of reading this, I hope you give Jesus a chance to change your life.

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