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Navigating Freedom

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

I am a busy person. My calendar reads like textbook on project management. I take great pride in being productive, so empty time slots are shrewdly filled with necessary tasks like laundry and grocery shopping. Downtime? That’s when I sleep. There is no doubt about it, I am truly a child of this world—a human “doing”, not a human “being”.

But lately, God has been calling me to let go of the things of this world and sit with Him. This is no easy task for me, but His insistence to obey has been relentless. He began by totally stripping me of weekly obligations: my job contract ended, my small group students have graduated and are headed to college, my Bible study is on summer hiatus, and the baton I’ve carried for my worship band has been passed on. Facing a practically “empty” schedule, I panicked and quickly filled the time slots with mini-vacations, cleaning closets, coffee dates, pulling weeds, and shopping just for the heck of it. In fact, I received a text while writing this paragraph asking if I was free for lunch on Wednesday. Surely this is not what God intended for me to do with my free time!

Several people have commented on my newfound freedom. “I am super-busy!” I tell them. Of course I am! Busy-ness is a choice I’ve made. Despite my efforts, God has continued to show me that he is not really interested in my productivity. He wants my attention.

How has he shown me this? For three weeks in a row, we sang several different songs at church that had the word “free” in them. Next came July 4th, the holiday that not only commemorates our country’s freedom, it reminds us of the cost. Coincidence? I think not. Then when I woke up this morning and read my Jesus Calling devotional, I encountered this: “You tend to feel guilty about pushing back the boundaries of your life to make space for time alone with Me. The world is waiting to squeeze you into its mold and to crowd out time devoted to Me. The ways of the world have also warped your conscience, which punishes you for doing the very thing that pleases Me most: seeking My Face.” Yikes!

Psalm 105:3–4 states: Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

The Bible also tells us that those who fail to seek His face, or those who seek another god, will perish. (To cite a few readings, check out Leviticus 19:31, 2 Chronicles 7:14 and 15:13, Psalm 119:155, Romans 2:8.) Since I did not wish to perish, I finally conceded to the call and sat with Jesus for a block of time—and I truly mean I just sat. There was no Bible reading or praying going on. I just sat in my prayer chair and sought His face.

I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy, but afterwards I felt more peaceful. Philippians 4:7 popped into my head. (And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.) Hmmm. I found myself walking back to my office more slowly than usual, and I spoke to my husband with a gentler tone of voice. Upon reflection, I do believe that sitting with God was actually good for me! And perhaps more importantly, the desire to sit with Him was rekindled. Funny how that works!

I do not wish to be yoked to the things of this world, nor do I want to be a slave to busy-ness. There are so many people who are truly enslaved against their will, but I have a choice. Sadly, I sometimes overlook the fact that God paid for my freedom with His blood. That's how much i am loved. Whereas a slave has no permanent place in a family, a child belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:35–36) This should never be taken lightly.

Thank you God for the gentle reminder that I am your child and that freedom is priceless.

THE SONG THAT COMES TO MIND IS Who You Say I Am by Hillsong Worship.

Lyrics: “Who the Son sets free is free indeed. I’m a child of God; yes I am.”

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