"Does it have to end? Can't we stay a little longer?" He squeezes my hand in reply. It's the most we've spoken in the past hour. Nestled contentedly in our chairs on the weathered deck, we sit immersed in the symphony of nature, no city noise to distract us. A week away at our favorite Central Coast hideaway, we are completely removed from the hustle and bustle. It's been a glorious week to slow down, unwind, breathe deeply, and reflect on what's most important to us. Right now, in this season of life, with all of the changes looming on the horizon, it's time to pause and re-evaluate.
It's our last full day here in our private paradise tucked away in "the middle of nowhere". At least, that's how this place feels to us. The endless green hillsides blanketed by the blue skies have provided the perfect retreat.
Our epiphany is simultaneous as we soak in the last of the healing sunshine. Both of us ache for more freedom, a slower pace, and less of the "stuff" of this world.
This morning, as we drank our coffee and watched the day begin to unfold, two birds flew through the open door and into the house. Frantic to escape their unexpected confinement, they fluttered about, pressing anxiously against the windowpanes. Grabbing a broom, my husband gently nudged them, trying to steer them back toward their only true path to freedom. Though they could see where they were supposed to be, they couldn't navigate themselves successfully.
As I sit here in the stillness, I realize we are just like those birds. We see the freedom we're being called to, but don't know what path to take. Just like the little birds, we move about busily, trying to find our own way. An open door looks appealing, and we take it, only to find it's leading in the wrong direction. And we hit a glass wall of confinement.
The stuff, the pace, the over-obligations we'll be returning to tomorrow, they don't fit us anymore. All week long, we've been inundated with messages about giving ourselves away. And I see now, the freedom we're longing for, is really a path to do just that. It's not a "pass" to indulge ourselves or pursue our own concept of personal happiness. That mindset won't satisfy what we are longing for. I know from experience.
What once held such importance to us doesn't have the same meaning in this new phase of life. To empty ourselves of the old, so He can fill us with new meaning and purpose, this is the essence of the freedom we crave.
We don't have to scurry frantically, trying to find our own way. The One who calls us is Faithful, and He will guide our steps.
"In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off]."
~Galatians 5:1, Amplified Bible
"It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom."
~From Galatians 5, The Message
"The freedom after sanctification is the freedom of a child; the things that used to keep the life pinned down are gone."