When I see children playing without a care in the world it makes me wish that they could keep that sweet innocence forever. As they run and spin round and round in circles and throw their heads back and laugh, their carefree nature takes my breath away. They are free to just run and play, unencumbered by life’s obligations and responsibilities. They haven’t had time to pick up a lot of emotional baggage yet. Emotional baggage slows anyone down with it’s weight.
As a young girl I remember feeling weighed down by responsibility for as long as I can remember. I remember longingly watching the other kids who seemed to not have a care in the world. How I wished I could feel like that. Unfortunately, I felt responsible for so many things. I worried about how we were going to make it. I worried about my little brother. I worried about my mother. I felt responsible for myself and that felt like a lot of weight to carry for a young girl.
By the time I was in my teens I longed for the day that I would leave home, because then I would only be responsible for me. If I left home I could control what happened to me; I could be in charge of my own life. When I was 18 I did leave home and traded one set of worries for another.
Now I had bills to pay, other people around me to please.
I had a job and responsibilities.
Being in the driver’s seat of one’s own life is great, but it carries it’s own set of pressures. I still wasn’t feeling like the carefree children I saw playing with abandon on the playgrounds of my childhood.
I can recall a time of my life during the Spring of 2016 that I kept catching myself saying with a heavy sigh, “I just wish I could be free.” Forty-four at the time, I’d been living the adult life for quite some time now and couldn’t completely grasp why I didn’t feel free. With so many reasons to be grateful and happy, instead I was being crushed by the pressures of life. I was attempting a lot of external changes to make life feel more manageable yet I would find myself making the statement, “I just wish I could be free” without even realizing it was slipping out of my mouth.
As the frequency of this statement came to my attention, I realized that my soul was crying out for what it wanted and desperately needed. It was crying out for something I was powerless to give myself. My soul longed to be free.
What did I long to be free from?
I would have to find out.
Through the process of examining my heart, my life and my motives for the choices I was making, I began to see that I was in fact the opposite of free. My chains were many – I was oppressed.
I knew I couldn’t continue to live this way, so I began a journey of pursuing freedom and seeking out where I was bound.
God began to reveal that the enemy of my soul had used fear to bind me in many areas of my life and when He broke fear off of me, that fear was affecting my outlook on life.
We must ask ourselves, “What do I need to be free from in order to be free to do.” You see, God has a plan and purpose for our life, but Satan loves to keep us sidetracked by our fears. He loves to keep us bound and oppressed by our fears.
What Does It Mean To Be Free?
- Let go of trying to control your own life and surrender it to God. It sounds crazy, like giving Him control is the opposite of being free, but if you think about it children are free because they have the luxury of having parents who are doing the hard stuff for them. They are free to grow and develop without all of the responsibilities that an adult carries.
- Focus on what God desires for you to do, not man.
- Know that it’s okay to have broken places.
- Embrace the difficult things that have happened in your past. Know that God will use it for your sanctification and His glory.
- Be open with others about your brokenness. It is healing for you and gives them permission to be vulnerable.
- Let God lead you instead of carrying the stress of finding your own way. Focus on who you belong to. When we are God’s and we know He simply loves us no matter what, so many other things begin to fall away.
- Be free to be weak so you will lean on God and others when needed. We were never meant to be self-sufficient. Sometimes we need to come undone.
- Let go of perfectionism. None of us are perfect and that pressure is choking everyone. Others who witness your honesty about your imperfections will breathe a sigh of relief, giving them permission to let go as well.
- Let go of the fear of running others off. Be the real you. Again, we are all longing for caring and imperfect people in our lives, because we are all sick and tired of trying to be perfect.
- Let Jesus heal your heart and open your heart to feel pain. If we shut our hearts down, we don’t feel pain but we also don’t feel joy.
Our Prisons of Self-Sufficiency
What I know now is that my own heart choices and self-sufficiency (born out of fear of being let down) led me to my loss of freedom. How could God set me free and heal me when for so many years I was so tightly holding onto control?
I was so busy trying to hold myself together that I wouldn’t give Him permission to come in and heal me until I let go and just surrendered all of that control in so many areas of my life. I had to allow myself to fall apart so God could put me back together, bound by his grace and love.
We hold ourselves back from our total freedom. All we have to do is repent for holding onto this control and ask him to set us free.
It’s so simple. Jesus always asked permission before He healed. Give Jesus permission to heal you in each area you need healing.
Seek it out.
Be strong and courageous.
May King Jesus set you free to be all He called you to be.
Verses for Meditation (NIV)
~ John 5:6
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
~ Luke 4:18
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
~ Matthew 18:3
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
~ 1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.