The word freedom, the idea of living free, brings a lot of things to mind. I think of freedom of speech, freedom of choice, and that I live in a free society. Those are important aspects of freedom, but they do not leave me feeling free.
I don’t feel free when my heart is tangled in knots with worry about my kids, carrying the burden of finances and job, and anxiety from past wounds. Freedom to love, care for others, and live in the moment seem impossibly far away. I can imagine what that freedom might feel like. My heart longs for it. My head does not know how to get there. I pray and nothing changes. It takes more. It takes an awakening, an awakening of my heart.
I have learned to listen for the warning signs that my heart needs this awakening. Am I becoming bitter? Am I short tempered with those I love? Have I stopped caring about things that are important to me? Am I using work and busyness to cover my lack of emotion? Individual warning sign can be different. We need to know our own. This scripture reminds me where I am supposed to be. If I’m not living free, it’s time for a change.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).
So what is living free? What is freedom? It is living with a heart secure in knowing God is control. It’s believing God cares deeply about my circumstances and goes to battle for my wellbeing. Living free means peace in my heart even in difficult times. I can bring calm into uncomfortable situations. I can focus on God in the midst of painful circumstances.
How do I get there? The scripture guides us. For me, it means intentional, extended alone time with God. It means getting out in nature where I hear Him more clearly. It means putting space in my calendar for rest, along with time for friends. It means doing something for someone else to lighten their load. Sometimes, it means working with a professional counselor. It’s not a magic formula, but it is the freedom I long for and work toward. When I am living free, I’m living my best life.
Are you living free? How do you know when you are living free? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.