This morning in my quiet time (glorious quiet at 6am, when I can actually hear myself think and then, maybe even put a few coherent thoughts together!) I knew that I just needed to listen.
To quiet my heart and listen to God. There is so much that goes on in my mind at all times. Even while I sleep actually. Which is weird. I keep having these dreams that I, a) have lost the lens cap on my camera and look everywhere for it, to no avail, b) am editing pictures and making them look worse and worse and worse, or c) my friends are telling me they hate me. :) Subconscious insecurities anyone? Geesh...
I totally digress.
On to what... Where was I?
Yes, quiet time. Listening to God. Sin.
So, after some prayer, I felt in my spirit that instead of starting with my daily Bible reading, I should sit down with pen and notebook and begin to list the things in my life that are "pet sins". Things that are comfortable to me, and that I try to pretend are not sin. You know the whole denial routine. Right? You know it right? Because if I'm the only one, I'm going to
It was brutal. And good.
I've been thinking alot about freedom lately. What it means to truly live a life free from any kind of bondage. And I have come to the conclusion that in my life freedom looks very similar to what my picture of being constrained, limited, and confined used to look like.
I would venture to say that some of the memories I have of my childhood have legalism branded on them. Whether that brand has been placed there from truth or from years, bias, and subjective influence I do not know. What I know is that I went through a period of time where I was frustrated with rules.
With "have to's"
With "because I said so"
"That's just how we do it."
My mind was processing and saying, "I want to know why. I want a pure heart, but not on account of tradition, or to look good, or because of any scare tactics"
So for awhile, I was quite ready to throw off routines of discipline and any kind of rules that were "just because that's what we do."
So ready to be so done. These routines and traditions didn't have meaning to me.
I was NOT ready to throw off my relationship with Jesus. Quite the contrary. I wanted to explore that deeper. I wanted to know Him, really know Him.
Not by trying to please him with bold check marks on a checklist.
Not by living a life constrained by things that felt unnatural and forced.
I knew that the Christian life was supposed to be a life of freedom. I kept hearing about it. About deep rooted joy, and doing things motivated by love, not duty.
So that left me with the tight rope balance of trying to live this abundant and free life, while balking rules, disciplines, and perhaps even some of my heritage. And for awhile that spelled freedom to me.
I am so thankful for God's indulgent grace. Wow. Where would I be if He left me where I thought I wanted to go? As I explored who He was, I came to this point of beginning to embrace disciplines motivated by love. He led me down a path where my past and present collided into a beautiful way of life that is full of meaning for me.
So, you are saying, what is all this about justifying sin and pretending sin isn't sin, if you are living this great victorious life now?
Ha! I said beginning to...
It is such a process.
I am so in the midst of change. Always evolving, always striving, always transcending.
So, this morning I got out my notebook and I wrote "bondage".
Under that word, which whispers of all things that hold me back, I wrote:
Approval - get it from God
Compulsive time wasting (excessive computer time, any kind of literature that does not spur me on to love Jesus more) - stop!
Avoiding house work and the organization needed to run this household smoothly - Discipline to do the work God has given me with joy
...And there was more.
It really was quite a chiseling.
See, during my phase of trying to find freedom my own way, I would have balked at this process and said, "but I am free!! I can not be held to specific regulations and constraints. This will harm me."
But as I have stepped up and walked in obedience to some very specific things that God has asked me to pursue, or to stop, I have experienced the truest form of freedom ever to be lived.
It's a day in and day out thing. I have to be honest and say that yesterday I lived in some pretty blatant disobedience. I regressed to that whole faux freedom thing. The lie that if I remove discipline, I am removing enslavement. What a contradiction of truth!
And then I wondered why I was grumpy, why my house was a humongous mess, and why my kids didn't seem to like me very much.
Really Wendi? Really???
Ahh, if only I could remember that it is only in that deep abiding love, resulting in discipline, that true freedom is found.
It is love and duty.
Duty just happens when love is authentic and abundant.