I speak and write a lot about freedom. I named our blog site after an aspect of freedom – we were created to be free. Dictionary.com has seventeen definitions for the word freedom and they’re all accurate from where I sit, although maybe a bit short-sighted. There was no mention of truth and its setting us free or sin and its ability to rob us of freedom.
The Bible tells us we have freedom from death (1 Cor. 15:53), all wickedness (Titus 2:14) and guilt (Heb. 1:3). We have freedom in Christ (Gal. 5:8). Freedom from bondage (1 Cor. 3:17). We’ve been freed from decay (Rom. 8:21). Christ purchased our freedom and redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Gal. 3:13). It promises us the truth will set us free (John 8:32). We are set free from sin (Rom. 6:18 & 22). Is freedom a strong theme of God’s Word? Yes. Yes it is, praise God. Thank you, thank you!!
I wholeheartedly embrace all those “spiritual” freedoms. My heart has been transformed by them. I am grateful to tears nearly every single day for the grace that has been given me by my Heavenly Father, Jesus and Lynn; by the truth in my life that has certainly set me free from my past, but also allows me to live in that freedom every moment of every day. And, to the point of this post, continually surprise me with freedoms I wasn’t aware were freedoms let alone know I was missing them.
Last Saturday, I discovered a freedom that I didn’t know I had been missing. It will sound odd to anyone who hasn’t lived with, or in, an addiction because you won’t feel the significance – it’s a freedom you’ve never been robbed of.
A little background to start. Wednesday the 1st was the 6 month “anniversary” of the death of our Granddaughter Coraline. Obviously, her mother (our daughter) and her father were sorely affected by this remembrance, as was our entire family. Saturday was our Granddaughter Penelope’s birthday party. It started at 11am because they had another family event at 2pm. At 1pm we were “kicked out” (kindly, of course). Friday evening I had a wild idea that since Lynn was working Saturday and the party was over early and I couldn’t stay and hang with the grandkids for the afternoon, I’d take Murphy (our dog) with me to the party and we’d meander up the Oregon Coast from Newport to Pacific City and visit Jeffrey (Coraline’s daddy) at work.
Then came the doubts. It’s Saturday, it’s my day off, but it’s Spring and that means about a million things to do around the yard and I was considering blowing off most (turned out to be the entire) day. It’s a silly idea. Lynn won’t go for it. There’s too much to do at home. It’ll cost gas. It’ll cost some food along the way. But when I told Lynn I was thinking about it she said, “That’s a great idea.” And Saturday morning, before heading out, she put her hands on my shoulders, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “I give you permission … NO … you don’t need my permission … I absolve you of all guilt about doing something fun, that you want to do on your day off.” Yes, her words were teasing me but she was also serious as a heart attack. I needed to be told to let myself off that hook.
For all the years of our marriage, I held false beliefs about what a marriage entailed, about being together 24-7-365 and not doing things on our own. I realized as I took that day, and stopped when I wanted and where I wanted for as long as I wanted, that it wasn’t only a false understanding of what being married meant but it was an addictive control issue. I couldn’t be by myself and do anything by myself because it meant I couldn’t control Lynn. I couldn’t be in control of everything in our lives; an illusion to be sure. I am not ashamed to admit that twice on that drive, once when I stopped and walked along a nature trail and once when I walked along the beach, and thought of the trust Lynn was giving me, the journey we were on, the mess (to put it mildy) I had created in our lives, I cried at the freedom I was experiencing.
Lynn was at work. I was off. For the next couple of months we don’t have the same weekends. Not even one day overlapping. We don’t tend to spend time nor money frivolously so YES, it was okay for me to do something fun, by myself. I kept my eyes pure and my thoughts pure and I visited a dear member of our family who was grieving. When I got home, Lynn and I were back together again where we belong under the same roof in the same bed just as it should be. No panic. No illusions of control. No guilt. Only a freedom I didn’t know I had lost, afforded me by being set free from my addiction.
Our God is good. ALL the time.
Freedom is a gift from God. It is also His Promise; and He ALWAYS keeps His Promises.