Being honest I had to look the word ‘freedom’ up in the dictionary 🙂 I thought I knew, but there’s no point in going on if I have an unclear idea of what I’m really meant to be talking about!
So here is what the dictionary says:
- ‘the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action’,
- ‘the liberation from slavery or restraint, or from power of another’,
- ‘the quality or state of being exempt or released, usually from something onerous’,
- ‘the quality of being frank, open or outspoken.’
Well …, that’s not ideal then! It’s looking like I am certainly not living in complete freedom yet and that’s for sure! … and I’m guessing, even if you claim to be a follower of Christ (despite everything you may know, in theory, from the Bible) if you’re really honest, neither are you.
But thanks be to God I am slowly getting there!
I am trying to remember times in my life when I have really felt free. They are mainly in my childhood, and I think that is pretty telling. There was little fear in life or reasons for worry. Back when I was really, really small I didn’t over-think things or concern myself with trying to survive or attain a certain standard to be accepted. I just got on with playing and eating and jumping on frozen puddles and climbing trees and laughing and running down the fields in the fresh air. It was brilliant.
But I am convinced that none of this child-like freedom could have happened if certain crucial things were not in place. There are certain stabilisers in our earthly lives that make space for freedom to happen and for fear to lessen – they provide a solid foundation within us that gives us stability so that we are not concerned with fending for ourselves, physically, emotionally or spiritually. I can even see it in my adult life – when I have had the greatest sense of freedom it when I feel provided for, safe and unconditionally loved and accepted..
And as I write this it is being confirmed to me that if I truly become more ‘stabilised’ in my inner being by all that Jesus has on offer to me then I will be well on my journey to ultimate freedom in adult life. If I can grasp, by his Spirit, just one little bit more every day of how much I am accepted, and loved without condition and will be looked after by my Father in heaven, then all the insecurities or fears that hold me back or press me down will decrease in direct proportion.
Here are a few things I have learned so far:
- There is no need any more to try to live up to what others expect of me or what I think God expects of me. I know now what God thinks about me. He loves me. He knows my heart and he loves my heart. Freedom! 🙂
- His spirit whispers peace into mine when I come and say sorry … again and again, often for the same thing. He knows I am not perfect and I am starting to accept that I don’t have to try to be. And this stability, this never-failing love and acceptance frees me just to be me. Freedom!
- And it allows me to fail :). And very importantly it allows me to let others fail. And it picks me up and dusts me off when I nose-dive into the depths of sin. Because he knew all along I was going to fail. And it’s all ok – thank you Jesus! Freedom! 🙂
- Jesus said ‘Whoever has been forgiven little, loves little.’ Please understand me when I say I am not promoting sinfulness, but it is a delight to know how much you have been forgiven … and that has come to me when I have played it less ‘safe’, didn’t live to please others (be it Christian or otherwise), and lived less like a robot programmed by rules and more like a child of God. Running the risks of navigating the full spectrum of life with God’s Spirit there to help, rather than staying in a safe risk-free bubble where the air is stifled and everything slowly becomes restricted and lifeless, including me. Freedom! 🙂
- You won’t please all of the people all of the time – the fear of man is a snare … I need more work here I think!
So all thanks to the Lord for teaching me and nudging me and not leaving me the way I was. Not the prettiest journey to freedom or the shortest route but I’m getting there! My freedom wings have just unfurled and are making little flaps off the ground … I can’t wait to fly higher … and become like a trusting little child again!
‘…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’ 2 Cor 3:17