paradox of liberty.
The sun falls beyond the farms in the west: dipping to the ground, light breaks around the clouds. God is good, but still I doubt. I wonder why I wonder why. This isn’t coming out of a season of answers. The winds of prosperity are not filling the sails of my vessel, but the storms pushing the waves in the distance feel less intimidating even in the face of the absence of answers. Perhaps in this moment I am at rest, yet only to find the seed of faith planted long ago begin to take root, and root to hope.
We go to great lengths to isolate our lives from the effects of relationships; either in responsibility or accountability, as though falling beneath a yoke bondage we cry to be free only too, in the same way, transform our solace into mourning in the absence of companionship. Freedom is seen as the absence of responsibility – in the greater sense that we should be able to live how ever we please, but I think it’s often overlooked that the only allusion to freedom and control in this life is the illusion that we have it at all. If I am free, I am unaccountable – I should not feel shame when I don’t measure up, nor should I feel insufficient that I am not who I should be.True freedom should be unfettered personal ambition, but browse through your social media and follow trends in your own life, or the lives of others, and we find ourselves dominated by physical fitness and appearance, the food we eat. and our possessions.
Our greatness is not in our greatness, but in our weakness. We celebrate big moments in our lives. Many Instagram photos are taken when the person feels best, or when their meal is on point. If I eat one really good meal to ten bowls of mac and cheese, am I as cool as my food? C.S. Lewis sums up a similar idea in Mere Christianity: “For you notice that it is only for our bad behavior that we find all these explanations. It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.” If I am an impatient person with my family, but just a delight with my friends, to whom am I most accountable – those who see me often, or those who see me very little?
This is love; not that we love God, but that He loves us (1 John 4:10). If a man would pursue a woman, he must delight himself in her -her beauty, her talent, her presence. This comes easily in the opening of romance when thoughts are consumed in passion, but nothing in our life is ever intended to work in cruise control because it is always work to ascend. He must begin to actively choose her, to look away from others, and embrace what he has been given as the gift to his heart. This is what is meant that husbands should love as Jesus loves the church: it’s death, it’s life, it’s perfection.
There is a constant desire to moderate relationships, and especially so with God. If I call a niece or nephew to come with me, and they do without question, I can assume that the child trusts me. If I am called, but my reaction is “first do this and then I will come with you” I do not trust the calling – even still, if my demands are met, I still will not trust the calling, but only myself. This is especially true between us and God. He calls us to trust Him and we demand results – yet, in getting results we will never trust Him at all. We demand of God and wonder why our relationship with Him never deepens and never grows, but seems to shallow and hallow out.
Our greatness is not in our strength, but in our weakness. If we crazy beauty, we should be lost when beauty is lost. If we crave wealth, we will be hard out when funds dry up. if we crave attention, then who are we when the crowds leave. At the end of the song and the close of the dance we are only as strong as we are without those things that prop us up. Yet when I find those who have lost everything, they seem to have a quiet and very humble chorus; to understand that God is heaven and we are on Earth, therefore let our words be few. We are not free when we are at liberty; we are only free when our identity is in something that cannot change, cannot be taken away, that does not need us, but seeks us anyway. This is the liberty in Christ and sets us free to love others.
When called, I should move. When I pray, I should move. When my heart hurts, I should move. When I rise, I should give thanks. When I fall, I should give thanks.
Do you see the paradox?