we talk about freedom in America a lot. we are proud of it. we fight for it. we die for it. we long for it. we put hope in it. we want to share it with the rest of the world. at the risk of sounding conroversial, i am not convinced that we have really thought through what freedom is.
people say, “i can’t wait to get out from under my parents’ control so i can have freedom.” what does that mean? what they’re really saying is, “i can’t wait to get out from under my parents’ control so i can do whatever the heck i want.” i am not sure that’s freedom.
when i read the Bible, it seems to suggest something else. it seems to link freedom to being released to live like we were originally made to live. released from the consequences that we bring upon ourselves. the cross broke the “reap what you sow” cycle. you see, doing whatever the heck i want brough shackles into my life. the cross set me free to live again connected to the life source, to live abundantly in a love relationship with Jesus Christ, as i was intended to live. Jesus taught that we are free indeed in Him, and only in Him. Paul said there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but there is freedom in His love and grace.
maybe freedom is discovered, restored, learned all over again for the duration of our lives while we discover this generous and gracious God who restored our freedom and patiently allows us to learn the depth of what freedom is as we live this life out with abundance. maybe freedom isn’t doing whatever the heck we want, but rather learning that we are given the chance to live in the fullness of how we were made in spite of the trouble we get ourselves in while doing whatever the heck we want.
i saw an example of this tonight.
Caleb officially learned to ride his bike without trianing wheels. it was awesome!!!
his mommy and i watched him discover a gift. an ability to take a two wheel mechanism and ride like the wind. this is especially important to a kid who absolutely loves racing and pretends he is racing everytime we go for walks and rides around the lake. his speed potential just went up drastically. his crash potential did, too. that joy and risk are both elements of freedom. and he may not have said, “i am free!!!” but, he expressed it in this way when i was putting him to bed:
“i want to go around the whole block now!!! can i?”
newfound freedom. race in it to the fullest, Caleb.
may we all be ever grateful for the costly privilege, not see it as a taken-for-granted right, and live in fear and trembling and joy and hope and excitement in this spacious openness called freedom.