Sunday, July 4, 2010

Random Thoughts on Freedom

I wish, I wish with all my heart
To fly with dragons in a land apart.

I woke up this morning with the Dragon Tales theme song running through my head. That's pretty bizarre, because the girls haven't watched that in years -- I'm not even sure it's still on. I kind of miss those days. Dragon Tales, Arthur, Blue's Clues (I'll admit I cried during the episode when Steve went to college -- so did Keith). Life was simpler then. I know the girls miss those days, too.

Leslie has her schedule for school next year. I felt excited for her when I looked at it . . and a little jealous. The teenage years were awful -- not much would make me want to experience all that again. But school, the learning part of it, I loved. I would love to be able to go to school again, to spend all of my time reading, taking notes, absorbing, synthesizing, researching, writing papers . . . and nothing else to do. No housework, no parenting, no other responsibilities. Freedom to just do what I want. But we're never really free to just do what we want -- not in the school years, not in the Blue's Clues years.

Today is Independence Day, the day we celebrate freedom. I bet I'm not that unusual in finding that I don't often feel free. I generally feel tied down to obligations. But I'm pretty sure that's not the kind of freedom the founding fathers were talking about. In fact, I'd be surprised if what we often tout as "freedom" these days would ever have crossed their minds. This idea of having the "right" to live our lives however we want. Too often, that is translated into the "right" to walk away from responsibility, even to live immorally. I'm sure they would be appalled at how we've used the gift of freedom they passed down to us.

When Christ began his earthly ministry, he quoted scripture from Isaiah about his having come "to release captives, to deliver the oppressed". He came to proclaim freedom -- but freedom from what? Apparently, from sin. Not just the eternal consequences of it . . or even the immediate consequences of it . . but the bondage to it. We are slaves to sin; in our own strength, we are truly incapable of living sinlessly, even for an hour. I don't often feel enslaved to my sin, though -- probably because too often, sin is equal to what I want.

A great parenting book I read once said that one of the primary responsibilities we have toward our children is to teach them how to say "no" to themselves, to their own desires. That is the definition of self-control, and no other virtue is possible without it. The problems in our lives come not because we are not free to do what we want, but because we are not free to say "no" to want we want.

True freedom is the freedom to do what should be done, regardless of our desires.

If the Son has set you free, then you are free indeed! (John 8:36)

Happy Independence Day, friends!

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