Freedom

Fall Jumping  “I’m going to take some pictures of the kids. They’re being such free spirits!”

My friend Stacie grabbed her camera and ran out the door into the front yard, where our kids, hers and mine, were tearing around in wild circles, yelling loud, and throwing leaves into the wind. It was a chilly day, but only one of the kids had a jacket. Two of them were barefoot and blue-toed.

Stacie didn’t take the time to send her boys inside for shoes. She was more intent on capturing the beautiful freedom.

There she stood, jacketless herself, hair whipping crazy in the cold wind, soaking in the joy of moments that will be outgrown too soon.

It made me smile. And it made me think.

   How often do I stop freedom in its tracks because it isn’t what is expected?

The kids did come in for hot chocolate eventually, shivering and giggling and smelling like fresh air and youth.

I was thankful that Stacie remembered something I often forget. That spontaneity is the stuff of lasting memories. You can’t script moments like that – cold toes, warm drinks, and experiencing the world with all five senses.

I wonder how many of my reactions are genuinely based on what’s best for my family, and how much of what I do is motivated by my desire to keep up appearances? To look like I have it all together?

Perfectionism…

This is an old dragon that raises its head more than I would like. There are times I feel like I’m starting to get a handle on this, the understanding that grace means just being, resting, leaning into the Spirit of God and letting him change me. But there are other times… Well, those times get ugly fast.

Because I push and pull and try to make things look the way I think they should. Sometimes I am a Pharisee, whitewashing the tomb and ignoring my heart, my kids’ hearts. As long as no one can tell from the outside, we’re ok, right?

But things that decay on the inside eventually collapse under their own weight.  Perfectionism kills. Pride and fear gloss over layers of disease, sealing in the things that destroy us little-by-little, keeping healing firmly on the outside.

And we cower, bound tight to ourselves, hoping that no one sees the cracks.

Those gaping, growing cracks.

    The ones that will be our undoing and our salvation.

Because only when we are tender and soul-exposed can we take in beauty with all our senses. Only when we are broken does real freedom come, blowing in like a fresh autumn wind. And, like children, we can dance barefoot and laugh too loud, let our hair blow wild and find Truth that heals.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” ~Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

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