“You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -Jesus
While Jesus has never let me down on this “journey to freedom,” He has led me down some unplanned paths over mountains, through valleys and across rivers that I thought were absolutely impassable. And so, I have discovered this elusive thing called “freedom” to a greater extent -in the most unexpected places. I am often pleasantly surprised when I catch a glimpse of what lies on the other side of the hill I have been climbing. You think you are “free,” and then He takes you to that new place that He has never shown you because you were not ready to see it yet. -Before “that moment,” you could not yet handle the experience and you did not have the capacity to truly appreciate it. Just a few years before you would have sped over the crest of that hilltop -not fully appreciating the view and perspective He wanted you to see at that beautiful summit.
But now, you stop at the top of the hill and you inhale a deep breath. You take in God’s wonderful scenery and you appreciate the majesty of it all. You savor all of the new insights that you gain from that view. -And then, from this view you are reminded that there are countless others who are struggling down their own paths to freedom and you feel a great sense of responsibility to help them. So it is with the Kingdom of God.
So what does true freedom look like? Freedom from child abuse, alcohol & drug abuse, spousal abuse, divorce, obesity, a traumatic health event, a soured romantic relationship, sexual abuse, dysfunctional family relationships, spiritual abuse, abandonment… and I know I have to be leaving dozens of others off this list. Freedom has many perspectives; it all depends on the chains that are binding us…
All of these wounding agents have at least two commonalities that link every single one of us together. -Regardless of where our place is in society, we all get wounded and we all need healing. The “sickness of sin” has infected us all. We all need freedom.
So what does freedom look like??? Well, I can tell you this: it is NOT a magic pill, a magic prayer to Jesus or a single session with a counselor, therapist or even your pastor. IT’S JUST NOT THAT! And if someone tells you that, even with a well-meaning heart, they are simply wrong. Freedom is not found in those places. -At least not in those places alone.
To my wife and I, freedom has been a process. Though at times I desperately searched for the fast forward button to speed up that process, it simply was not there. Real freedom is a godly phenomenon that takes place over time. Freedom has been a process of time and relationships for us. And when I say relationships, I mean with common everyday people that God put in our lives. Some relationships are very short lived, -and some are long. But regardless, as we follow Jesus on this search for freedom, He will lead us down paths that intersect with just the right people. And sometimes we have no clue what is actually happening. -While we are busy focusing on the ordinary, the Spirit of God is working on the extraordinary the entire time. You see, God knows that we need each other.
Then… that moment comes when we realize that we are indeed becoming more -and more free… We find ourselves experiencing a level of freedom that we never even knew existed. We smile, a few tears roll down our checks and we think to ourselves, “This must be what ‘Real Freedom’ looks like.”
3 responses to “What does “Real Freedom” look like?”
I think the struggle for me is..when it gets tough and ugly..its hard to not give up and throw in the towel …thinking Ill never get there, Im to messed up, I hopeless. Is how do you know your just in this place…and not that this isnt working have to find something else that will work?
What has helped me the most is realizing that I am on a journey and NOT searching for an end-all final destination (in regards to freedom.)
I stopped seeking that “destination” and started focusing on “doing the journey well.” The two main things I can think of to share would be #1 intentionally being mindful of what God was trying to teach me/show me and #2 intentionally making connections and building meaningful relationships with those who are on the journey with me.
In addition, as you are doing the two things I mentioned above, you must trust that God is leading you on the journey. And if you are trusting Him, your only job is to follow the path He takes you on. Everybody is “messed up,” some of us just do a better job than others of hiding it : ) No matter how messed up you think you are, follow Jesus and build authentic relationships with others who are doing the same -and he will lead you to a better place. *I think that healthy relationships are a huge part of it. We were not designed to do life alone.
Thank you for a thoughtful, encouraging piece that reminds us we all need freedom. I was going to ask for more specific action steps or attitudes taken, but I just read your reply and totally agree that mindset (for me turning from what’s missing or wrong to gratitude for what God is doing all around) and connections are two vital ingredients to a healthy life! Wish it were easier to find folks in our local church that were pursuing these values.