Unhindered

Unhindered

by Cathee Poulsen

That’s it! My word for 2022. I’ve been searching for two weeks, working with phrases (Make my path straight) and single words  (arrive, complete, finish), knowing that my mandate this year is to finish writing my memoir. But there just wasn’t a that’s it feeling that I had the right word yet.

This morning I decided to read Rosaria Butterfield’s book Openness Unhindered. It always seems coincidental, but I know it’s not.

Her title comes from the last two words in the book of Acts. It describes the last season of the Apostle Paul’s ministry. Even though he was on house arrest when these circumstances are described, imprisoned in Rome, had almost drowned after a shipwreck, was bitten by a vicious snake, nearly stoned, and had a continual physical aggravation, Acts says this:

Now Paul stayed two full years in his own rented lodging and welcomed all who came to him,31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching things about the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered (Acts 28:30,31 NASB).

Openness unhindered? In the middle of all that?

2022 is the year I will finish my book. In my spirit I accept that mandate, but I’ve wanted a word or phrase to lead me this coming year. Something that would encourage me when the stone wall appears out of nowhere. Or when Brunhilda, my inner critic, starts telling me I can’t do this. That I don’t have what it takes to write well.

When I read the preface of Butterfield’s book, a book I randomly chose out of the 15 books next to me, as soon as I saw the word unhindered, I knew it was the one. I love when that happens.

Who knows what 2022 holds for any of us?

After 2020 and 2021, it may feel like you’re at the mercy of your circumstances. Or there’s that fear of the unknown. But for those of us who follow Christ, we know that we’re never at the mercy of anything but God’s loving will, His pre-ordained path for us. We’re unhindered.

Last Sunday, when Cameron preached from Ephesians 1, he took some time to define that complicated, misunderstood word, “predestined.” A compound of two words: Pro – which means prior, in front of, before, and Horizo from which we get the word, horizon, and by definition means to appoint, decree, determine, limit, ordain. 

In other words when we read Ephesians 1

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved.

we learn that God ordained beforehand an appointed time we would live and set boundaries for where we would run our race and even predetermined the works He would call us to do. Many other places in God’s Word tell us these same things.

He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God…28 for in Him we live and move and exist… (Acts 17:25-28).

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Your eyes have seen my formless substance;
And in Your book were written
All the days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them (Psalm 139:16).

What does it all mean?

My brothers and sisters in Christ, you’ve been chosen and adopted into God’s own family. And not only that wonderful piece of news, but your life is secure as you listen for His voice and do what He says. There will be times you’re asked to do things that make no sense at the moment, but as you obey and walk out your path, and run your race with perseverance, you will see in time that you were being led by the One who set things up for you in advance. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life…” (2 Peter 1:2 NIV).

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ~Frederick Beuchner

Let’s face this brand spanking new year with utter trust in the God who has already given us everything we need. The God who is always beside us. The One who has cleared the path for you to journey on unhindered.

And I pray you’ll spend some time in these last few days of 2021 recounting all the ways God’s grace carried you, and finding a word or phrase He’ll give you to live by in the coming year. I’d love to have you share it with us in the comments here, or on Facebook or Instagram.

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Comments

  1. Go, Cathee!! Go, Cathee!! Go, Cathee!! Go, Cathee!!

  2. Brunhilda!
    We all have our own process, but having a resident critic wouldn’t work for me. There are already enough critics.
    Writing to one’s audience is fundamental (notice to…not for). The important thing is, ‘will they understand it’, not will they like it. Who can possibly know who will ‘like’ what? In any case, it will be a bell shaped curve. Worrying about whether people will like your writing (or even like you) is a path to mediocrity. Courageous writers (which I know you are) write what they write and let it sort out as it does.

    And isn’t the world already supplied with plenty of voices who will tell their audience what they will like. And are those audiences well served? Probably not. The fact is, when you get information that confirms your bias, your brain gives you a little shot of dopamine. It feels good. But it is short lived and often leaves you seeking more confirmation so you can get another dose of dopamine. There is no growth or virtue in this process. When we seek contrary or challenging data one of two things happen. Either we modify our view to a better one, or we are reinforced about our current view. Either way, we are better off. But there is no dopamine excreted in our amygdala. That’s why so few people do it.

    Be brave. Write what you have to say and say it as clearly as you can. Maybe someone not ‘liking it’ is just what they need.

    Maybe Brunhilda needs to be sent on a little vacation. With a one way ticket!

    • Naming and exposing her has diluted her former power. She’s firmly placed on hold.

      • Lynne Jones Lawler

        I love this, Cathee!! I too have an inner critic but have never named her. I will give this some thought though because she too needs to be sent packing! Love to you, Bob and Texas too and a very happy, healthy, BLESSED New Year! <3

  3. As always when I get to read your blog it’s perfect timing. A beautiful word and message. I can’t wait to get my word but I agree I will walk unhindered into 2022 trusting God.

  4. Great reminder! I completely forgot to seek God about my word. And it’s so empowering! You go, my dear friend. Let those words flow through you. You do it so beautifully.

  5. Great message and theme for the new year. Thank you so much for sharing. My word for 2022 is Anchored. I want to be totally anchored in God’s Word, and in my faith in Christ – unwavering and fearless. Happy New Year Father & Family.

  6. Great message and theme for the new year. Thank you so much for sharing. My word for 2022 is Anchored. I want to be totally anchored in God’s Word, and in my faith in Christ – unwavering and fearless. Happy New Year Father & Family.

  7. Your words always bring me back to reality when things get so chaotic. I loved unhindered as we plunge into the New Year. Just need to listen and stay in HIS word as I go through each day. Have a very blessed New Year and hope I can see you in May orJune. Can’t remember the exact date.

  8. Love you Cathee. Your words are so anointed. Get this memoir done. Get ‘er done!There are many needing to be blessed by your writings.

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