One Step To Greater Freedom This Year


Y’all SIX! That’s right, six HUGE garbage bags stuffed plum FULL of clothes from my closet. Clothes I never wear.

And before I continue, I think it is important to make clear, I am far from a hoarder, someone who keeps things for their emotional value.

STUFF really doesn’t matter to me. PEOPLE do.

But, God has been speaking to me lately about excess…you know, the things we keep hung up in the closet of our hearts, not sharing with anyone, for fear of being left, barren, naked.

Stuff…just for the sake of stuff….

Not intrinsically bad to keep it…but still, it takes space unnecessarily and uses room that might be better suited for something else, something useful.

Last month? The thing I swore I’d never do without? COFFEE!  Oh, ya. First, let’s get it straight….I was born, raised, and still live in Seattle. The capital of Starbucks. The founding center for every drive-through, finely ground, well-flavored drink, you might see accompanying a grocery store, or indepently taking up space on the corner of your every day city street.

Us from Seattle? We adore our coffee…it’s what helps keeps us moving.

So, to think God nudged and nudged….not for hours or days, but months and YEARS….

And that it literally took a few decades for me to be willing to surrender this drink, is absolutely, nothing short or a sea partin’ miracle!

But, I did it. And God was faithful. In fact, at the end of my month-long fast, we were suprised how God gifted us with something perfect and beautiful.  Something greater than what we could ever ask, think or imagine.

And I have written about fasting before. In examples here and here.

But, this year, I think it’s important to know, fasting doesn’t just have to do with food or coffee, but the act of surrender of something we hold onto, something taking up space, unnecessarily in our hearts.

Still let’s also make it clear….fasting isn’t a way we “earn more of God”. Grace is free, His miracle-working power can be displayed and is offered freely…without us doing anything!

But, what I have found in the decades I have started fasting, is that God blesses the sacrifice, He always, every single time, honors our willingness to give up the unnecessary, so we can access more of the floodgates of heaven.

  • Fasting draws us closer to Him.
  • Fasting breaks chains in a way nothing else ever could.
  • Fasting recognizes we have and can do nothing apart from His grace and mercy…..

It’s an outw20171231_193426ard expression of our deepest need, the desperate need for Him solely to come through and do the miraculous.

And sometimes we can struggle for years or even a life-time. We can beg and beseach God to intervene or free us…or a loved one…from some strong-hold or addiction.

In our darkest hours, we can plead with God to bring hope, direction, or healing…all the while, still holding onto what’s dear, us refusing to let go of what we covet most.

Fasting has the power to break every chain. In fact, some strongholds can ONLY be broke through fasting, Mark 9:29 tells us.

As a parent, I think we can get this concept. Our toddlers often find and are good at gripping useless treasures in their hands, refusing to part with i fuzz, or lint, or some random little thing they find hidden in the carpet.

Yet, when we ask for it, we take it….for their benefit primarily, so they won’t choke or harm themselves, holding something better for them as a resplacement.

In the same way, every good parent, just like our Good Father, longs to take what we are gripping and exchange it with heavenly treasures.

What are you holding onto? What more can I let go of? What am I gripping tight, unnecessarily?

Do we clench food? Materialism? Clothes? Power? Our own success? Desires? Or purposes?

This year, I trust and know, God has something bigger and better than what your holding. However, He often exchanges spiritual gifts for material possessions, visual achievements, for more of His grace and His spirit.

What is God nudging you to hand over to Him today?

For me this year, I sensed Him convicting me about my clothes. Let’s just say, I have a small obsession, shopping. Now, I don’t have a thousand hats and shoes or anything, but I definitely have enough….more than enough of what is needed.

And I have been thinking lately about the verse that says, “Do not worry about what you will wear,” and how God clothed Solomon more beautifully than lilies.

And I remembered the dress. The dress I loved and took to Dominican Republic. That time I lived without heat or electricity, power, water, or any of my basic resources….

Yet, how I clung tight to that dress.

How the group we were with suggested we leave some clothes we don’t use, for those in the small village we stayed in.

And yet, most gave. I even gavee…

But, God drew me to that dress. He bumped and nudged, and hinted that I needed to give it away.

Most might think it was easy. It’s a dress, so what!?  But, I have never had a piece of clothing that fit so nicely, flowed so effortlessly, I loved so perfectly….like I did that specific dress…

Still, begrundingly, I gave it.

And so, when I looked at my closet on New Years Eve….most were out partying….but I was ravaging my closet, because I had just seen the miracle with the coffee….

And I was determined to not go one more day, coveting clothes or shopping.

What about you?

Maybe you aren’t addicted to a walk-in closet perfectly lined with brand new clothes. Maybe your vice is something else? Your looks? Your bank account?

The need for control or power20171231_193403, social media, anger, or even alcohol?

What do you know you need to give up this year, confessing its grip, while not letting it have dominion over you?

And please, as you consider this….don’t decide because someone made you. Guilt and condemnation are never from our Father.

Maybe you have lost sleep wondering why you keep doing something? Plagued with the notion that whatever happens you simply can’t give over _____ and you just know it consumes you…

But God, my God, He is a God of healing and deliverance.

I read in Ezra 8:12-23, Ezra calls for a fast for a nation. The intent of the fast is three things.

  1. They fasted to petition God to lead them in the right way. (Fasting for guidance)
  2. They fasted to petitoin God for protection for their little ones. (Fasting for assistance)
  3. They fasted to petition God to guard their possessions. (Fasting for substance)

How is God leading you to fast?

The thing about fasting is that you always come out stronger, more free from whatever you are denying yourself, loosing God to move in powerful ways, submitting to the truth…

His ways are above our ways. And whatever we stuff in our closets of our hearts is often excess and unnecessary.

Him….His provision, protection, healing, freedom, hope, deliverance, direction, and assistance is solely, the cornerstone of every need.

Now, let’s go into the year, freer. Cleaning out the closets of our lives from clutter and unnecessary STUFF.

Let’s walk in greater courage…

Knowing, tasting and seeing, His freedom like never before.

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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. She speaks, writes, & passionately advocates for the orphan domestically & internationally with her husband of twenty-five years.
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  1. I have one half full bag I just gathered from my closet. I too have an excess of stuff. And it doesn’t matter to me. I just need to feel the freedom of getting rid of it!! Time to head back into my closet!

  2. Jen, you surely offered us some challenges in this post!
    I will search my heart for what God is saying to me about too many clothes, what will only change if I fast, and whether I depend too much upon coffee!

    Thank you for stimulating my thinking.
    I need a good prod from time to time.

    May many long awaited answers come to us all this year, as we pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

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