Feeling confined by your spouse? Kids? Job? Feeling trapped? Wish you didn't have to answer to anyone?
Welcome. I'm glad you're here.
I'm all about this new show called "Beyond Scared Straight." It chronicles a handful of teens who are raging against the various authorities in their lives, getting into trouble, and therefore spending a day behind bars to see where their current path will eventually lead them. And, without fail, their pre-interviews contain some variation of this sentence:
"Nobody's gonna tell me what to do."
And then they sit in a prison for a whole day listening to inmates tell them how it REALLY is.
"I don't get to sleep in anymore. Now I am told at 5:30 that I WILL get up. I am then told to take a 2-minute cold shower, put on an uncomfortable jumpsuit, told when to go the bathroom. I'm then told to sit in a cell for hours until the next thing they tell me to do. I don't get to go to my refrigerator when I'm hungry to get something that sounds good. I'm told I have 8 minutes to eat the disgusting crap they put on my plate, and if I'm not done in 8 minutes, too bad--nobody cares--I go hungry. The lights go out at 8pm, even though I'm not tired. I am told what to do literally all day long."
Kind of a far cry from "Nobody's going to tell me what to do."
And yet I doubt we're much different than these. Because I think there's something in me and in you that bristles at being told what to do. Accountability kind of bites sometimes, to be honest. And we begin to perceive freedom as being out from underneath the things and the people to whom we're accountable.
But the unexpected happens when we wriggle out from underneath accountable relationships: That's precisely when the fetters tighten around our wrists and the prison door slams shut on us. Because pursuing "freedom" outside of God's design always brings bondage of some sort.
The mom who resents her family for whom she's sacrificed may find herself wanting out. But the "freedom" she envisions for herself will actually include working incessantly to afford an additional mortgage or rent payment, the lack of freedom to tuck her kids in at night, and the bondage of a possibly irretrievably broken relationship with her children.
The man who wishes he could tell off his boss and be rid of him once and for all? The "freedom" he envisions includes phone calls from the mortgage company saying, "I don't care how much you hated your boss--You owe us money."
Wow. "Freedom" sounds fabulous.
If you're finding yourself hungry to be free right now, and if your desire for what you perceive to be freedom is having you considering abruptly quitting a job, breaking vows, or slipping out from underneath authority that God has established...would you take a moment to just pause before you pursue? Will you please, please, on-your-face PRAY for wisdom to understand how God defines freedom?
He says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. We don't have to try and escape out from under what we consider to be our burdens when He has already asked to trade yokes with us.
His path is not one of confinement--and if we're thinking that something God has made or joined together is confining, then we are thinking wrongly about it. Period. "I RUN in the paths of Your commands, for You have set my heart free" (Psalm 119:32).
Freedom never comes out from underneath what God has given or established.
And when we try to find freedom outside of His ways, that's when freedom evaporates. Prison doors slam. Chains tighten around us.
JESUS, do not allow us to be deceived by the lie that freedom is found apart from You. Please, give us strength to STOP before trying to wriggle out from under what You have established!