I have meant to write of freedom, but I feel completely unqualified. If I am falling into comparison-thoughts, I could imagine multiple people that live more freely than I do…but that’s why I am writing- in a desperate attempt to practice what I preach and live in a way that I believe I am called to.
Thoughts started churning a few nights ago while watching Titanic with my boyfriend and his roommates. We forgot how long that film was when we started it, but I insisted on staying up until the end. The ending is my favorite (spoiler, sorry). Not the part where Rose screams ‘Jack’ and then whistles to the boat to be saved, or the part before that when Jack sacrifices his life for Rose’s. I love the part where Rose is shown to ride horseback in Santa Monica, act in film, become a pilot, and have a family. The camera pans over her life in a few seconds using photographs. A lot of people miss the beauty of this scene, but what it means is priceless: She lived freely and wildly! She escaped the life of sitting-pretty and became romanced by life’s possibilities. She did all of the things that Jack dreamed for her. That's why she said, "He saved me in every way that a person can be saved."
When I think of my life, I identify with both sides of her character. There is a part of me that is free and wild and living without regret. Then there is another part of me constrained by appropriateness and limits.
I see ‘freedom’ as living without these constraints. As a follower of Jesus, freedom cannot be underrated. It is not ‘fluffy and frilly,’ its Biblical.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom
John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
1 Corinthians 6:12 "Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything
Galatians 3:22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Ephesians 3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Psalm 119:45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
1 Peter 2:16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
Looking at Galatians 5:1… ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.’
The second “free” means free from sin, but the first “freedom” translates to liberty in Greek. ἐλευθερία and is defined by Blue Letter Bible as ‘liberty to do or to omit things having no relationship to salvation,’ but also notes that true liberty will come with what we “should” do, after all- God knows what traps us most- sin.
The same Greek word for freedom is used in 2 Corinthians 3:17. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
So, this definition (of things that do not relate to salvation) would include decisions like dating, traveling, schooling, careers, etc. It includes decisions that God obviously DOES care about...since he apparently freed us so that we could act in this liberty. But these are things that will not save us or damn us....but they can give God glory!
I think God gives liberty to free us from fear and doubt... He wants us to to spread our wings just like a mother bird wants her baby to fly. I do not mean to make liberty sound like carelessness. Sometimes we know that God is *not* in favor of something. True liberty and freedom follows God because He knows what will make us most free.
In making choices, I have not been living in liberty lately. I usually have the most difficult time and i pray until it hurts, asking God over and over what I should do- should i travel here or there? date him or not? take the job or wait? I think I have taken leaps from where I was with this years ago, but the more leaps I take, the more potential for freedom I see.
By following Jesus, I already have freedom from condemnation. I am free to speak to Jesus as a clean being (crazy thought huh)…but I want LIBERTY from a few things, so that I can live in a radical way that is bravely glorifying him. And I think Jesus would want these liberties for me too. Maybe you can relate.
I want liberty from:
-fear…of not being enough or of not being perfect. I used to be so afraid of doing something wrong that I would cause myself anxiety. Though many think I’m better now, I still struggle. I fear that I CAN mess up God’s plan. I fear that if I don’t hear Him perfectly, I disappoint him and I cannot be trusted.
-pressure…of feeling like I need to be perfectly relateable and yet also spiritually alive. That I should probably put some Eminem on in my car before Christian music, to not ‘freak people out’. I feel pressure also to be the women of God that everyone expects. AND I feel the pressure that all should understand my intentions and heart.
-compulsion…I want freedom from asking for forgiveness 7 times before finally accepting it. I can compulsively do something to make myself feel ‘more worthy’ but God does not see it that way. Once is enough. He hears. (I still have doubts in this and my doubt makes no sense).
-doubt…liberty from believing that God wants nothing that I want, that every mission trip I try to go on will be taken from me (so I just shouldn’t try at all). That God doesn’t actually want me to have a job where I thrive, that God doesn’t want me to get married, that His desires for me and my desires for myself are completely misaligned.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
(When, in actuality, when we want Jesus, we don’t have to worry about misalignment. Everything that happens will please your heart because your heart longs for God. And He gives you the passions that He wants you to use for His glory. )
-obligation…from all the worldly “shoulds”. Constantly I think that I ‘should’ get an internship, that I ‘should’ pay my loans back as soon as I can instead of giving 10% to church, and that I should be available for everyone that I have ever met. This goes with my next point—
- the need for affection from others- I think that everyone should love me…that I should be invited to every birthday party, every wedding …actually that I should be the maid of honor for every girl on her big day. I feel an unhealthy need to please people…to make sure that I fit in the comfort of all instead of being the person that pleases God.
Last year, I felt better about this…if God put it on my heart to dance, I would dance…not caring who may think its weird. Now I look around first and tell God that it is simply not appropriate.
-fear of failure- that when I try something, I will fall. 'I will never succeed in what I aim to do.'
There are so many things that I desire to have liberty from. I desire the worry-free life, where I can ride horses in Santa Monica, get my pilots license, and become an actress (in Rose’s case).
For me, I desire to travel far and wide and see beautiful things. I desire to write and share beauty and use my (sometimes misplaced) righteous anger to bring others to more freedom. I desire to make people healthy smoothies, decorate my home until the day I die, go boating as much as possible, and learn Greek. I want to go to seminary without knowing exactly what I’ll use it for and I want to boldly talk to others when I feel God pushing me to do so. I want to go on roadtrips to no-where and stop often, whether to pray for people or to dance around in a field.
Mostly, I want to live freely…and I know that listening to God always brings me to more freedom. He wants to rid me of obligation, and people-pleasing, and compulsion and doubt. I want so badly to try to listen to him without having fear that I am hearing it wrong. I hear God say “Go for it”-for life and freedom…and I want to. I want to have faith that He will correct me if I hear Him wrong. I want to follow my God-given desires and stop being afraid.
I have freedom from sin…now I want to live in the liberty He has blessed me with. I am tired of having doubt and fear hold me back. He wants us to be beautiful, free creatures…not creatures that are so scared to fail Him that we stay still.
He has so much life for you. He has given you passions and He has given you the liberty to go after them. Be bold! I want to do all of the things that God dreamt up for me. He PURPOSED them for me.
And oh, how God loves us!