These days I am watching my baby boy trying to learn to walk. He is mostly still cruising around furniture, holding on to the edges of things, stretching to find another handhold to support him as he crosses the room. Watching him as he strains against the limits of his abilities, pushes to expand his muscle control, his balance, his confidence, reminds me that there are limits to our freedom.
He is not yet free to walk across a room, a freedom I take for granted. And even when he is bold enough to try, that freedom is risky, usually ending in a cute plop down onto his bum in two or three steps. But he will get there. He is putting in the time and the work to gain the freedom to walk.
As a young and healthy woman, I think of the freedom that living a healthy lifestyle gives me. By nourishing my body with good whole foods and strengthening it with exercise, I am free to hike up to a beautiful waterfall with my family and stand in wonder, as I did on vacation last week. This freedom wasn’t free – it required self-control and time.
Those who are recovering from injuries know that the freedom of regained mobility and strength are hard fought through sweat and pain.
Those who defend our freedoms as a country in the armed forces know that all of our freedoms in the USA require the sacrifice of time, safety, and life.
As a Christian, I think of the sacrifice of my Lord Jesus, who gave his life that I might be free from sin that enslaves in destructive habits and from death that comes for us all.
“It is for freedom that Christ set us free”, it says in Galatians 5.
We were made to be free, but we have to fight for it. I’ve got my fight over those 15 more pounds of pregnancy weight I need to lose. What is it for you? Whatever it is in our lives that is weighing us down is not meant to win. We were made to conquer it – with sweat, with pain, with self-control, with time, with patience, with trying again and again and again. We can be free, though we will need helping hands from others, just as they need our helping hands.
Our path to freedom cannot be traveled alone. We will need the strength of Christ, who can do all things and we will need the encouragement of others. Let’s do the work together, because freedom, once gained, is something to celebrate.
Becky Gilbert is Body & Soul’s Graphic Designer, Artist, and Blogger at JoyArtandDesign.com where she shares her art, writing, and thoughts on life. She co-wrote two devotionals and 40 Days of Art and Literature: A Prayer Journal and Advent: Creative Exercises for a Season of Waiting: A Prayer Journal. She also illustrated Coloring God’s Word: A Devotional Coloring Book for Adults.