When I was eight years old, my definition of freedom was getting to stay up later than 8 PM.
When I was twelve, freedom was occasionally staying home from school.
At sixteen it was meeting my friends downtown and spending the whole day just hanging out.
At twenty-two: deciding for myself where I would go next after graduation from college.
Before I started following Jesus, I always saw freedom in terms of autonomy, self-determination, freedom from responsibility.
I thought: the Christian life, especially for women, looks bland, boring, almost oppressive. I thought, if I followed Jesus, He would keep me from fulfilling all the exciting goals I’d dreamed about since childhood.
I thought: “Why would God give me a brain and talents and then expect me to do nothing more than hide inside the house, bake cookies, and scrub toilets?”
That doesn’t look like freedom.
But since then, I have come to follow Jesus with my whole heart and here’s what I learned about true freedom:
- God wants to make me free. Really? Yes!
- I do not have freedom if anything or anyone (including me) impels me to do harm to myself or another.
- I am never freer than when I walk according to God’s plan.
- Truth teaches me freedom’s definition. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32)
- Freedom is way more fun than slavery.
- Freedom is a gift from God. I didn’t fight for it; it was granted to me.
- Apart from God, my maker, there is no true freedom.
- Freedom carries responsibility.
(Colorado high country)
True freedom means I am no longer held captive by the tyranny of my self-centered soul. I can choose to be selfish. Or not. I have a choice. Christ works in me both to want to do good things, and to actually do them. (Phil 2:13)
God didn’t prevent me from achieving all my cherished childhood goals:
being a wife and mother, grandmother, performing as a singer and pianist, teaching music in college and K-12 schools, directing theater, traveling, building relationships, writing, attending writer’s conferences, serving in a variety of ways at church and in the community.
On top of that, he gave me quite a few more goals, some of which I’m still working toward.
God is not an oppressor. The freedom He bestows gives us power to be all we were meant to be. Far from living a bland, colorless life, I have been given a rich, full, exciting, adventurous life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Anything.
(Me, my mom, my daughter, my granddaughter)
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV Bible)