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When an old year slides out like a sigh and another one begins, there’s a natural pause at the cusp of all the newness. A lot of us stop and do some thinking.
What do I want from this new year?
How do I kick off the things that have been tying me down in my health, my finances, my career, my relationships?
How do I find freedom?
Freedom can be a slippery thing. We take hold and think we have it in our grasp just to find our hands empty, and there we are again, disappointed and resigned to nothing ever changing.
We live stretching to hold things that are out of reach. We lunge hard for what we think we need and find our hearts coming out of place like a loose joint, until we are frozen stiff, captive to the very things we hoped would make us feel free. And somehow over the years we become comfortable with the soul ache, the anxiety and limited range of motion that come with living out-of-joint.
Because here’s the thing: there’s some pain involved in finding real freedom.
We have to admit that freedom doesn’t mean living with no restraints, running wildly after whatever we crave. It means living the way we were designed to live. We have to learn what our Maker wants for us and who He says we are, and we have to let Him guide our hearts back into place.
Freedom is costly, it’s true. But, oh friends, what an expansive place God’s freedom is…
King David understood this. In Psalm 16:6, he said, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (NIV) Notice he didn’t mention the boundary lines he wanted or expected, simply the ones that had fallen for him. He called what God had given him pleasant and delightful.
God knows us, and He, more than anybody, wants our freedom.
Because He knows the beauty of who we really are.
People made to resemble Him, loved desperately by Him, forgiven, washed clean, healed, and restored.
He waits for us, leans forward eagerly, beckons us to come and have all our out-of-joint pieces pressed into their rightful shape. And there, in that place where all our reaching and stretching and chasing the wind is over, He sets us loose beyond the suffocating limits of what we thought we wanted into the wide horizons of what He has for us.
We unfurl. We blossom into breathtaking glory. We fill our lungs completely and laugh loud. We worship with uniqueness and unselfconscious passion. We run and dance and sing and paint and organize and analyze and cook and write and inspire and listen and forgive and love fearlessly. And we open the door for the people around us to also find their way into this wild joy.
And together, we glitter like diamond facets just because we ARE, not because of who we think we need to be. We are loved by a Maker we can trust.
The pressure’s off, friends.
The pressure’s off.
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This world can be a heavy place.
The kind of heavy that presses down and makes it hard to breathe.
We rush to outrun pain and busy ourselves to forget the crushing weight of days and months and years that don’t turn out the way we thought they would. All of us who have lived a little while know it, that pounding of a frenzied heart racing to keep a desperate body moving. And we push on like we’re been chased by time, carrying that airless ache in our chests.
“And what do you do?”
It’s a normal question, a defining question. Tell me what you do with your time, so I can understand who you are.
For a lot of us, if we’re honest, the answer would be, “I wait.”
We wait for the next thing, wait for the kids to be grown, wait for our ship to come in, wait for the right relationships, wait for our dreams to come true and our questions to be answered. And sometimes the waiting drives us a little out of our minds.
We fidget and spin circles, and our impatience drives us so hard against tomorrow that we forget to see today.
We forget to see the truth.
Waiting is close to God’s heart.
We’re born with an instinct to be curled inward, legs pulled up and fists closed tight. It’s what feels natural and comfortable. As we grow, our bodies adapt and learn to function stretched tall and open, but a lot of us keep living in an emotional fetal position. We’re afraid to be seen and known. We’re afraid of pain and loss and not having enough.