“Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.“
— Bob Marley
I have to admit, I’ve never been in prison. I’ve never been locked up or incarcerated. I’ve never “done time” or been “in the slammer.” That’s a good thing though. I wouldn’t do well in prison. I’ve seen TV shows.
But if there is one thing I can tell you for sure is that most of us live in a prison all the time.
The only difference between this prison and a real one is that this is a prison of our own creation. There is no key to lock us in. There’s nothing really keeping us there. The only thing holding us back from fresh air, blue skies, and sunshine is us.
Every day that we wake up and go through the motions, ignoring what our heart is telling us, is another day that we choose to slide back the cold steel bars of our cell, walk in on purpose, and shut the door behind us.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Lots of reasons, really. For starters, we know our cell. It’s comfortable. We’ve kind of made it home. Maybe added a plant and a bookshelf with some knick knacks we love. No matter how small the place may be or how bad the meals we get are, we still know what’s coming. Our comfort is probably the #1 reason we stay.
Right on the heels of comfort would be fear. We’re scared of what it would mean for us or what we’d do if we were to leave. We’re so easily spooked and we start projecting worst case scenarios for every little thing that could possibly go wrong. So we talk ourselves into staying. Which makes sense because when we’re comfortable we don’t have to fear anything. There is no fear in comfort. But in a real, no-holds-barred life, you get to feel all the feels. That means you will feel fear and all the other emotions at a level you’ve never experienced them before.
Whatever the reasons for staying, the call of freedom still haunts you. As you lie there in your cell, feeling the coldness of the damp cinder block walls, you can hear it calling to you. It whispers to you in the quiet.
I want you to know that it is possible to walk out of your prison cell. To breathe in the fresh air of freedom. You only have to choose.
I want this so badly for you. I want you to go after exactly what it is that you’re supposed to do with all the vigor and gusto you can muster. I want you to experience what it’s like to live a full, passionate, and purposeful life. I want you to live with no regrets, having gone after life with everything you’ve got.
It kind of hurts inside a little is how much I want this for you.
To that end, there are a few things I think you should know about this freedom that’s available to you.
Freedom Isn’t Free
This freedom will cost you something. Freedom isn’t really free after all. You will pay for it by giving up your comfort zones. It will cost you being brave in the face of fear and having the courage to follow after your passion regardless of what others might say or do. It will cost you just about everything. But I believe that when you follow the Lord into what He has for you that He will honor that commitment and bless you along the way.
Many times in the Bible the Israelites had to first step out in faith that the Lord would show up. Then and only then did He actually show up and often fought their battles for them. I’m not saying that you won’t have a fight. Your purpose is opposed, remember? But you will have someone fighting alongside you on your journey. Knowing that makes the jump less scary and the battles for your freedom worth every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears it ends up costing you.
Completely and utterly worth it.
Constraints Breed Creativity
It would be really easy to take a look at all we’ve talked about over the past few weeks and think that instead of finding freedom you’d just be pigeon-holing yourself into a corner.
You had a smorgasbord of choices before you and now that you have some direction for your life you could feel like all you have is this one plate in front of you. “Wait,” you might say. “I only get to eat what I put on this plate?”
You might feel jilted. You might complain. Here’s the thing: you were never going to be able to partake in that entire feast anyway. Your eyes are too big for your stomach. You’ve only got room in your stomach (or life) for what’s in front of you, what you should be eating.
By having a smaller set of choices you might feel like you are going to miss out, or not experience the full joy of what is offered to you, but you’d be wrong.
Instead, by only taking what you can fit on this one plate, you get to enjoy the best that there is to experience, and leave the rest for others. You get to eat your full, but not so much that you’re miserable. You get to enjoy the whole party and not spend all of your time trying to shove everything on the table in your mouth.
By living a life like we’ve described in these posts, you’re taking exactly the portion that you should be taking. You’ll be able to enjoy the whole experience of life so much more.
It’s incredibly freeing.
When you’ve taken away all the fluff, all the things that are actually just distractions, you’re left with a whole world of possibilities still in front of you. There are so many ways for your purpose and passion to play out. So many choices of what to put on your plate. You only need the vision and creativity to see them. Just open your eyes and heart and be creative. You might even invent something new, who knows?
Caution and Warning
I want to be very clear about something.
I want you to know that I am NOT saying that you should drop every responsibility that you have and chase after the winds of your heart.
If you have a family, they are your responsibility to steward. They have a purpose and are meant to be a part of your purpose. One of your missions should be to lead them well.
Maybe right now you’re not happy in your marriage and you think you’d be better off if you could just drop that responsibility off on someone else’s doorstep while you go pursue your dream of becoming the royal cupcake baker to the king and queen of Denmark. That’s not how this works. Your marriage is of the utmost importance and it should be one of your missions as well.
*Side note: Does Denmark even have a king and queen? I don’t know. Moving on.
I want you to understand this as of utmost importance: choosing to move your life in a new direction based on the things that make you come alive does not negate the promises you’ve made or your responsibilities in the slightest. If anything, it should solidify them all the more.
I’m pretty sure that I can’t find the words to explain to you how much I want you to find freedom in your life. The freedom to do the things you were meant to do and to follow the journey that the Lord would have you go on. Living a life of obligation and ought is a prison that only a life built on passions, missions, and purpose can free you from.
Next week I’ll be back with one final post to wrap all of this up into a neat little package … well, as neat as it can be anyway. See you then!