“The Christian Soul: The Problem of Freedom” Is the title of a post by dpatrickcollins that offers some interesting food for thought. Click to read the whole thing, but he speaks of obedience and freedom and some of the confusion around it that we seem to have in the modern age.
These are issues I too have wrestled with. Believe it or not, in spite of all my defiance and rebellion, I am quite obedient, the issue always being, obedient to Whom and to what? I’ve had a bazillion people trying to tell me what to do and life circumstances trying to tell me what to do, so the struggle has actually been about trying to silence all those voices and figure out what God wants me to do. Often what God wants me to do have been the precise opposite of what other people have wanted from me.
One problem being, God wants me to do surprisingly little. Seriously! It’s a bit funny because God wants me to receive His love, walk in His grace, and give Him honor and glory in all things. That may sound like a big task, but for someone who is more of a Martha who wants wants to “do,” scramble about, fix, achieve, accomplish “things,” that is more like a time out. Like being sent to your room. Sit at His feet?! Rest in the Lord?? I’m telling you, it’s enough to make me rethink this whole obedience thing.
Freedom is another interesting concept. While I am totally all about freedom, one of those defiant Americans who is darned if anyone is ever going to infringe on my rights, when I have unwrapped the notion of “freedom,” in a personal sense, freedom is the last thing I want. Freedom actually means to be unattached, to answer to no one. Freedom is kind of a sad thing in the context of orphans left to fend for themselves. Homeless people for example are free of housing costs, people who haven’t got children are free of parenting, get fired and you are free of your job, and if your spouse leaves you, you’re free of marriage.
It dawned on me at some point in this journey, that I have actually spent a life time trying to relieve myself of all this freedom. I was not seeking a life of freedom but rather of roots and ties and connection. Even obedience. To not have those things is a bit like free falling through the universe, with no walls, no boundaries, no limitations, and no love.
It’s a bit interesting, there was once this massive storm in my life, none of it my fault at all, nothing I could control or prevent, and when I asked the Lord what to do, how to respond, I got hit with pure, sheer, unconditional grace, grace so huge every sin, past, present and future was already forgiven. I could not make a wrong decision. The world was my oyster, I had total freedom. All that love actually scared the heck out of me, it triggered a good existential crisis, it washed away everything I thought I knew and understood about the Lord in an instant. It changed everything.
Obedience and freedom, rather than being all about choices and being able to do as you please, suddenly became all about, what can I do to be pleasing? My will and God’s will merged, if only for a fraction of a moment, and the whole concept of being pleasing to Him wasn’t about earning anything or avoiding punishment, it was more like falling in love, like the sheer delight you get from just staring into someone’s eyes and watching them smile. I want to please you, it is what I live for, it is why I am here.
Needless to say, I do not levitate 3 feet off the ground everyday, nor am I a saintly thing always walking in perfect obedience, but the memory of those moments is now sealed on my heart, that one drop of heaven is written all over my soul.
I really am curious about what others think and know about obedience and freedom and what their experiences have been, so fire away.