How do I describe playful, God-centered freedom? I can’t. I only know I stumbled into it. And it the reason I am going to make it through storms.
For awhile, I was the most sold-out, diligent religious guy you’ve ever met. And I was miserable. Few are more miserable than a religiously miserable person.
I can be sad, confused and bewildered. But I’ve never been that miserable guy again. There is something about knowing for certain deep down, that God is absolutely delighted with your very being that changes everything.
You can’t speed up believing complete acceptance. You can’t speed up believing you’re adored. You can’t speed up believing you are righteous, that he lives in you, that you don’t need to become someone you think you’re supposed to be. You can’t speed up believing you’re not behind. You can’t speed up believing you’re enough and right on time. You can’t speed up believing you don’t have to add a thing. You can’t speed up letting go of trying to maintain your good Christian testimony. You can’t speed up not listening to shame voices prodding you into something short of obedience. You can’t speed up believing you can just relax and enjoy and love whatever God puts into front of you.
But as you begin…an entire way of seeing God’s very nature is uniquely time-released throughout your entire being. Everything is seen differently. Pain is still pain, glare is still glare. Loss is still gut-wrenching. But you are free. So you play differently. You dream differently. You love differently. You relax differently. You affirm. You bless. You receive. You love unbelievers instead of pitying them...or envying them. You begin to believe that the world will change not by desperately trying to fix it; but by loving it, enjoying it and being exactly who he made you to be in it.
This means my free association is sacred to God. My laughter and unhurried enjoyment is sacred. Giving dignity to my past is sacred. This means a horribly devastated world need not always devastate me. This means I need not always feel like I have to do more.
It means drawing closer to those who fail. It means allowing others to draw close to you when you fail. It is finding others and entering in with no fear of the consequences if the relationship doesn’t last. It means appealing to Christ in us to grow healthier instead of vigilantly prodding ourselves is a risk worth taking. It means risking love and willing to be naively fooled. It means giving up an agenda for other’s lives. It means convincing those you influence that there is no other shoe about to drop. It means believing we have new hearts and giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt for our motives. It means living as one needs to impress no one, and yet finds great joy in pleasing everyone. It means allowing Jesus to correct me, direct me, without hearing a voice of displeasure. It means daring something risky enough for God to come through. It means dreaming big and knowing he won’t try to teach you a lesson if you fall short.