I will never forget the day I learned the answer to the question, What does it look like to live truly free?
I was a staff member at a high-ropes course and adventure center. This meant that part of my daily routine was strapping on a harness and safety line strong enough to hold a semi-truck, and hanging out for multiple hours 40 feet (12 meters) up in the air. I was also a high-ropes course facilitator with a fear of heights. Which meant that every time I showed up for work, I took a deep breath to calm the butterflies, reminded myself that I definitely weighed less than a semi-truck, and stepped out with faith into thin air.
Every so often we would get someone up in the course whose fear of heights absolutely paralyzed them. They would cling to trees or curl up in a fetal position. They had believed in their mind that they would be safe, but the 45 feet between them and the ground had completely dissolved that belief. Fear became the master.
And then there was Eddy (not his real name). Eddy came through the ropes course like a house on fire. He leapt and ran, lengthened out his safety lines to their max capacity, and walked the tight-rope sideways, almost upside down.
As I watched his acrobatics and antics, I felt like I’d never seen a human being have so much fun. For Eddy, there was no fear, no risk too great. There was complete confidence in the safety lines holding him to the course. And with no fear, Eddy was completely free.
How would you live if you were truly free? What would you try if you knew you wouldn’t fall?
As followers of Jesus, we have been wrapped up in a love that leaves no room for fear. We have fail-proof safety lines holding us to the heart of God. With God, we don’t need to approach life cautiously for fear of making mistakes or failing. We can live in absolute freedom, knowing God’s grace catches us whenever we fall.
This kind of freedom and independence are actually opposing ideas. It’s a freedom that comes specifically through dependence. The more you can lean in and trust (depend) on God, the more freedom you can live into. We are never free from God. We are free through him.
As each of us live, we face certain risks. We move forward in the face of uncertainty. We make decisions without knowing the outcomes. We say yes to callings, visions and possibilities that compel us to dare greatly, and fall mightily if we fail. We live our lives 45 feet up off the ground.
In the face of these realities, we have a choice. We can move cautiously, clinging to things around us for a sense of security, afraid of making mistakes. Or we can choose to accept the gift God is offering us to live fully free. Free from guilt, free from fear, free from condemnation, and free from dependence on ourselves.
As I watched Eddy display his freedom that day, I longed to have what he had. And suddenly I realized that I did. I do. We both have the same safety lines. There is nothing keeping me from playful abandon. The freedom I saw in Eddy is available to me every day. I just have to choose to live that way.
Walking in Freedom
Do you sense that God is holding out more freedom to you than you are currently experiencing? Here are some ways to prayerfully explore what walking in freedom might mean for you:
- Imagine yourself leaning back into those safety ropes, 45 feet in the air. Can you sense God holding you secure? From that secure, held place, ask him where he’s inviting you to experience greater freedom. Listen for the answer.
- Imagine yourself taking the first step away from a secure tree or platform and into thin air. What does that tree represent in your life? What are the things you are holding onto for security? What will you need to let go of to truly walk in freedom with God? Release those things to him. Ask him to give you vision for your first step.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Megan Beehler lives and serves with CRM in Long Beach, California.