I've never been a free spirit. I've never been able to "dance like no one is watching", and I've never been able to stop worrying about something on command. Even on my best days, I still struggle to live completely, 100% free.
And this is especially true of my relationship with God. I know he is good. I know he loves me. But I rarely feel that way or live that way, because I am living a shackled life.
I live shackled by fear. Shackled by anxiety. Shackled by OCD and paranoia.
I fear I am doing something wrong. I fear I am annoying people, frustrating people, or somehow making a mistake. I fear that people will hurt me in irreparable ways. I fear many, many things.
Oftentimes though, how I feel and what I see in scripture are two very different things.
God is all about freedom. Yes, there are rules that we would do well to follow- that God commands of us- but even those are for our ultimate freedom. But more than rules, God is about us being free from sin, guilt, shame, and the hurt we've felt in this life. He wants us to live lives that are free from feeling chained to our pasts, free from guilt that shouldn't exist, and free from condemnation.
When we come to Christ, he sets us free and makes us new.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1).
But we frequently live like we've forgotten that truth. We live like we are still prisoners to our past, when we've already been let out of prison.
If a prisoner who was in a physical jail came back to his cell once he had been set free, we'd say he was stupid or crazy. So why would we, people who have been set free, ever live like we are back in our spiritual jail cell?
As Hayley Morgan (co-author of Wild and Free) puts it,
"Anything kept in captivity will only grow as much as its cage will allow.”
to fight against the evil that comes at me and locks me up.
So that's why my word of the year is "Free". I want to be free far beyond what I've ever experienced. I want the freedom that Christ has granted me.
I actually have two words of the year! And honestly, when I tell you what the second word is, it may seem like it's in contrast to my goal of being free. Curious? Be sure to check out Friday's post to read about my second word.