First comes Freedom, then Surrender, then Joy.

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

I am a warrior. Somehow, I overcame the odds that might have kept me from doing what I do every day. I am a writer. More than a dream I once had, it is now my profession, the way I contribute to caring for my family and living my purpose. It all began with being brave enough to answer two questions, Who are you to write? Who are you to dream? 

Answering those questions required three things: Freedom, Surrender, and Joy.


I write because the words come out. Writing is the thing I can’t not do. The words? When I free myself from the fear that might constrain me, I acknowledge that God Herself put those words within me, and they must make their way into the world. To feel this call to create and not take advantage of it would be selfish and sinful. I must do as I am led; I must write. If I have opportunities to put my words out there, I must take them.


I have been granted the freedom to seek out new paths. I will not listen to the ugly whispering voice in all our heads that lies to our dreams. Bravely, I declare that voice has no power over me. I am called, not by nasty whispers, but by God to be free. And those called to be free are called to serve. And here is what I’ve learned in faith…He does not call the equipped, He equips the called. So, if the Voice in my ear is Divine, I need to surrender to it, trusting that it’s going to be alright. And I must remember that the whisperer, the trickster, is lying again. It is what the enemy does, but I’m not listening. I listen only to the words in my head, planted in my heart, the ones that need to make their way out. 

I had to learn to surrender. There is a freedom in surrender, although the connection is counterintuitive.  

While you might believe that surrender is a form of resignation, it really just means letting go. Surrender means free, and when I appreciated this, I felt lighter. Free. Released. No longer bound by holding on to the unnecessary, holding onto things bigger than me, things I know I should release, wasting time fiddling with knots I cannot untie. I let it all go; stripped it away, let it fall…and then the words flowed.


Upon completing that transformation, I started finding joy in mournful music; hope in complicated melodies and rhythms I previously could not hear-they required too much of me. Now, it is easy. A switched flipped. When people admire my ability to write, I simply explain, for me, it’s easy. It is the thing I can’t not do.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 New International Version (NIV)

According to Matt Skinner, Associate Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, the message of John 8 is simple–if you walk in faith, you can expect three things:

  •         you are truly His disciples
  •         you will know the truth
  •         the truth will make you free.

The combining of freedom,  surrender, and joy made the difference between knowing the truth and stepping out on it. Now I’m resting there.

Freedom and surrender meant leaving my baggage behind, instead of dragging it along, or hiding among it.

Surrender meant admitting that every day isn’t fabulous; that it’s not all okay; that you don’t (at the moment) have it all together and it’s never been as easy as you try to make it look, but never that you’re giving up. Surrender means runs in your stockings (if you’re even wearing any) and loose strands of hair.

Surrender might mean raggedy, but Joy meant celebrating the journey along with all the anticipated destinations. Faith means it’s all good, or at least it’s going to be. 

Now I get it. I am my own reinvention. Becoming who I am in faith and in life was about getting out of my own way, to make room for God, and all the words. 

To God be the Glory.

photo by Christina Morillo for

Chelle Wilson
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