Declaring independence...


”I’m free!!! I’m free!!!!”  Growing up, that’s what my oldest sister would say when we would pull away from her house, with her kids in tow—taking them for a week of vacation at grandma and grandpa’s.  With her arms flailing and a smile bigger than the clown on the 18th hole of a putt-putt course, she would skip and jump all the way down the driveway screaming, until we were no longer in sight.  This expression of excitement caught on in our family, and with each child born, the parents would run and jump and yell about the freedom they were about to experience. Because I was only 6 when I became an aunt, I didn’t really understand what they were so excited about.  Is parenthood like being a prisoner? Incarcerated in your own home, taken captive to bottles and diapers and bedtimes?

Becoming a parent, I began to understand.  We no longer went anywhere with less than 9 pieces of kid equipment.  We didn’t do things on our time anymore—our schedule was defined by sleep. eat. play.  Going to the bathroom alone was no longer an option, and actually eating a meal that didn’t consist of scraps from a high chair was a rarity.  So when we left our firstborn overnight for the first time, and I experienced that “freedom,” I have to say… was exhilarating.  No baby schedules to dictate my day.  No diaper bag to carry around with 243 things that I’ve since discovered aren’t really necessary.  Wearing a nice shirt without fear of spit up or food shrapnel. Holding my husband’s hand instead of carrying a baby seat.  Having an adult conversation without being interrupted by “Mom.  Mama. Mom.”   Ahhh…..freedom felt good.

Today we celebrate freedom as a country.  July 4th. Independence Day.  I actually slept through most of my history classes, but I’ve learned from my historical-junkie husband that today marked a new beginning.  A day of autonomy.  A day of renewed hope.  No longer would the people be under the authority of England, but they would be under a new government.  No longer would they experience the oppression of people that were self-seeking, but they would be able to live freely on their own land.  No longer made to abide by harsh ruling, but now free to discover life without restraint.

Freedom:  absence of restraint, release from something unpleasant,
         ability to move or act as desired.

For me, I can’t think of a day celebrating freedom without being overwhelmed by the freedom I have in Christ.  I’m not comparing myself to the founders of our great country, but I, too, have lived under a harsh ruler...Satan.  I was made to believe, because he was self-seeking, that he knew what was best for me if I would just listen to him.  I lived in unpleasant circumstances because I was afraid what would happen if I bucked the system.  Unable to move and act as I desired.  Unable to live without restraint.  2 Peter 2:19 tells us that “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”

If you feel the weight of life heavy on your soul….if you feel like you just can’t get out from under the authority of a cruel ruler and his promises that continue to come up empty….if you feel like you are enslaved to sin that you’d be ashamed if anyone knew about…..there is a way out.  2 Corinthians 3:17 encourages us that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Let today mark freedom for you.  Let today be the day you declare independence from the “father of lies.”  Sign your John Hancock on the line, claiming Jesus as Lord, and discover the life that awaits. May it be a day of renewed hope, where you, too, can jump around yelling about your freedom.

And for the record….the tradition still continues in our family to run down the driveway, flailing your arms and yelling “I’m free!! I’m free!!”  However, it’s now our parents that are doing the yelling.

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