The other day, I took an afternoon run along the bay. It was a special little run in a special little spot. While on the run, I was led to a small peninsula, where water surrounded me on three sides.
As I headed towards the mini-peninsula, I crossed a little bridge. I stopped on the bridge to admire the vastness of the ocean around me—the calmness, the peacefulness. As I looked out, having my typical “moment”, a photo was snapped of me. I turned around to check out the picture, and couldn’t help but notice two giant words that were written on the floor.
“BE FREE” had been spray painted on the ground below me. I was excited to read this, being that the word “free” is my absolute favorite word in the English dictionary (I’m not familiar with every word ever invented, so this might one day be subject to change).
I wonder if the person who wrote this message has any idea how powerful these two words truly are? I wonder if this person has ever really experienced this “freedom” he/she was so eager to mark permanently at a public park?
Maybe. Maybe not.
I know I have.
It was a little more than three years ago that I experienced freedom in its truest form. You see, for 22 years I had thought I was free (I mean, we live in America, don’t we?) I had the “freedom” to choose what career I wanted, where I would live, who I would befriend, and ultimately what choices I wanted to make, right?
Boy, was I wrong.
You see, I was free to make decisions, but little did I know that I was enslaved to myself—my selfish desires, my messed-up agenda, my own gain, my bitterness, my bad decisions, my trying so hard to “better” myself—like clawing my way up a slippery slope, to end up at the bottom, frustrated at my failed attempts. I was enslaved by my judgment of others, my warped feelings of entitlement. I was enslaved to my past—the people who had wronged me, and even those that I had hurt. I was enslaved to the idea that success in the world’s eyes equates to joy. I was enslaved to what others thought of me.
The worst part about all of this? I had no idea. Like a little girl who refuses to give up her old, raggedy doll, while her daddy is holding a brand new, and way more beautiful one behind his back.
I recently wrote a post about true freedom and where it has found me. This freedom is none other than Jesus. The freedom that is available from Him is deep, transcending, so much more profound that merely making choices.
In Jesus, I have experienced freedom from the very thing that had once enslaved me—myself. Freedom from my selfishness. Freedom from doing things just to get something out of it. Freedom from using people for my benefit. Freedom from trying unbelievably hard to better myself. Freedom from my bitterness towards those who have hurt me, and freedom from thinking I “deserve” anything.
I am now free to enjoy life deeply and abundantly. I am free to love. I am free to show kindness and have patience…without seeking my own agenda. I am free from worrying about how much money I make or how high up the ladder-leading-to-nowhere I can climb.
I am learning that true freedom is giving yourself sacrificially without expecting anything in return—loving for the mere purpose of, well, loving.
Dear friend, be free today. Not because it’s your “right” as a citizen, but because Jesus gave His life for it—for you—to be truly free.