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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Free: but would I rather be bound?

Recently a major responsibility has been taken off my shoulders – the kind of responsibility that has me waking up in the morning feeling twenty pounds lighter and wondering since I can do whatever I want with my life, what exactly is it that I would like to do?

It has me thinking a lot about freedom, and I have noticed some things about how I interact with my freedom. First I was a whole lot more aware of it the first few days, a few weeks in and I have begun to once again feel the weight of responsibility in my life. Sure, I don’t have as much to do as before, but what about this, that and the other? And if you are anything like me, you could quickly guess I have already filled the “gap” in my life with a few other projects! Time, rest, sanity, who needs it? :)

As time has worn on I have found myself needing to remind myself I am free. I enjoyed waking up in the morning with a sense of relief and well-rested. I wish I could say the same thing for my sleep last night, but honestly I woke up before three o’clock having dreamed about getting married and I was entirely selfish in the dream and it was all about me. I never slept a lick the rest of the night. I guess I can thank the message on love at church yesterday for having me wondering this morning if now is the time to incorporate some form of caffeine beyond chocolate into my life.

My newfound freedom, has me thinking about my freedom in Christ to do whatever I want. I have thought about how Paul says the Spirit doesn’t make believers in Jesus slaves, so that they live in fear again. Rather they are children of God. Then I think of how he says they are slaves of righteousness.

Having the added breathing room in my life has made me aware that I am free to begin walking away from Christ if I so choose. Now would be a time when I could throw in any number of towels in my life. Did I want to do it?

I felt like an animal in a cage with the door wide open but not like an animal who is unaware of what is outside of the cage or one who has been trapped so long they don’t remember the open door means they can leave. Did I want to stay in the cage? Was I even in a cage? Was the “cage” created by other people or myself?

I wondered what benefits there were to leaving the cage. I wondered why I would stay. I wondered why I thought of it as a cage. I wondered why and how I am a slave to righteousness. I wondered what the two had to do with one another.

I have a friend who hypothesizes the longer she follows Christ, the fewer choices she feels like she has. It really just comes down to two: Follow or unfollow. I agree with her. I had the “cage” of following, or I could walk outside the cage. When I got outside the cage, there would be a million choices I could make; but the real choice was to leave the cage.

Why would I ever choose to be bound? Do I have a choice to be bound? Is it too late to un-choose my status as a slave to righteousness?

I find being a slave to righteousness really comforting. His Spirit and that new heart He gave me are always going to keep calling me back to follow – no matter how far I run away.

I am in the cage, looking out the open door, wondering why I don’t leave, wondering why it feels like I can’t. Wondering what happened to the girl who always ran? What happened to the girl who took comfort in the car keys in her pocket because it meant she could drive away from everything in her life tomorrow if she so desired? When did she give up her keys? And when did “keys” of commitment become more comforting?

At this point I would say I have concluded I don’t want to leave the cage. I like the boundaries He has for me. As David says, “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.”

I was tempted. Such a great big world, so much opportunity to make my own name great, so much opportunity to see if I can live outside the cage without His love constantly calling me back to His arms.

So much opportunity to choose Him. When I started to turn my entire will over to Christ four and a half years ago, I made a lot of those choices out of fear. Living outside of the cage had hurt me really, really badly. I knew that. I didn’t want any more of it. Yes, His Spirit must have drawn me in love and not fear; but I ran from my stupid choices in fear.

Today it doesn’t feel like I am choosing the cage because I am afraid God will squash me if I don’t. I think I believe God’s love would reach me and follow me and call me to return to Him wherever I went. Nothing can separate me from it. When my choices hurt so bad I couldn’t bare it any longer, He would wrap me in His arms when I turned back to Him. There would be healing and unconditional love available for me.

I don’t want to do that though. I don’t desire the pain, but I also enjoy my connection with Him. I want to stay. I want to follow – even if it means carrying a cross and weeping as I do so. I have counted the cost, and I want to choose love.

Do you feel free to follow wherever God is calling you? Does the call of the world and all its pleasures seem louder to you? What can you do to turn up the volume of God’s voice and lower the volume of the world’s tempting promises?

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