Follow the Cloud: Learning to Live Free

Follow the Cloud

This is a guest post from author of ‘Follow the Cloud’, John Stickl. ‘Follow the Cloud’ releases August 1 – you can pre-order your copy by clicking here.

What if I told you that God was more interested in setting you free than making you religious? That He wanted more for you than He wanted from you?

You probably wouldn’t believe me. I know I didn’t believe it. I was convinced that if I just did the right things and did them well, then I would thrive and experience the peace and significance that I longed for.

Because I was believing a lie that no one wanted me for me but that they wanted me for what I could do, I spent most of my life performing, achieving, and striving to become someone. Trying to keep up. Trying to measure up. Trying to live up to an impossible standard hoping my efforts would produce the love and acceptance that my heart craved.

But instead of living the abundant life, that line of thinking quickly led me to a place of loneliness, striving and exhaustion.  I had no idea who I was, where I was going, or what I was doing. I strived to do the right thing but was disillusioned with the end result—a frustrated and at best distant relationship with God.

And from personal experience I can tell you that is an exhausting way to live.

Maybe you can relate.

I mean do you ever find yourself busy, overwhelmed or lonely? Do you ever feel like you’re trying to perform for God or earn His love only to find yourself doing all the right things but living an unfulfilled life?

I knew something had to change. I didn’t want to just teach on the truths of God’s peace, acceptance and purpose described in the Bible, I wanted to experience them.

It was right about that time that God extended an invitation for me to follow the cloud—to follow him one next step at a time on an intimate journey toward freedom. He began to show me the difference between being set free and living free. I started to hear His voice and experience His presence in new, life-altering ways.

Follow the cloud? It was an image that represented the journey of more than a million people as they moved from slavery to freedom one next step at a time. You see when God set the Israelites free after hundreds of years of slavery he gave them a cloud to follow.  Of all the ways God could have led them from slavery to freedom he chose to do it through a personal and ever present cloud.  From within this mighty cloud he spoke with the gentleness of a whisper. Follow me one next step at a time.  When I move, you move.  When I stop, you stop.  Where I go, you go.  Keep your eyes on me and I will lead you to discover who you are, who I am and what you were created to do.

Whether it was crossing the red sea, walking through the wilderness, or fighting the giants each physical next step was designed to heal and free their hearts.  The entire journey of the Exodus wasn’t about getting to the Promised Land it was learning to live free as beloved sons and daughters by simply following the cloud.

Though I had read it many times before, the fresh truth revealed in this story captured my heart and changed the way I lived. It began to set me free from a life of performing, striving, and achieving.  It has completely changed how I live my life and how we lead our church.  It’s simply the invitation to follow the cloud one next step at a time.

No matter where you are, God wants to lead you on a journey of learning to live in the fullness of the freedom he offers.  Destiny is not about finding God tomorrow; it’s about walking with God today. With each step you take He is inviting you discover who you really are, who he really is and what you were really created to do. As you receive his grace, you will experience his presence, and start releasing his kingdom and that is a life of freedom.

We are drawn by grace not driven by expectations.  And each next step helps us see more of Jesus and become freer of the greatest bondage of all – ourselves.  Every step God invites you to take whether it’s facing an obstacle, being faithful in the little things, starring down the impossible, staying when you want to go, or going when you want to stay is designed to help you discover who you are, who he is, and what you were created to do.  In a world of exhaustion, performance, confusion and religious bondage God offers us a better way.  To simply follow the cloud.  To listen to his voice and respond with faith.

The truth is that wherever God is leading you is better than where you’ve been. You have nothing to achieve, prove, or earn. You have everything to receive, discover, and explore.  So maybe it’s time to stop performing.  Maybe it’s time to start receiving.  Maybe it’s time to follow the cloud and live free.

 Follow the Cloud by John Stickl

This is a guest post from author of ‘Follow the Cloud’, John Stickl. ‘Follow the Cloud’ releases August 1 – you can pre-order your copy by clicking here.

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