Claustrophobia: an abnormal fear of being enclosed in narrow spaces.
Freedom: liberation or deliverance, as from confinement or bondage.
In my mind these two words have always sat beside each other. Anytime I felt confined, I was claustrophobic because I had lost my freedom. I was enclosed, locked-in; whether I had wanted this or not, it didn’t actually matter. The idea of a lack of options was suffocating. Security? Try incarceration. Safe? Try dull. Stability? I’d rather die. I once slept on the floor for 3 months because a bed felt too homely for a vagrant. I was so nomadic and homeless in my mind that I couldn’t allow myself to physically accept anything resembling a home. It was too constraining, I couldn’t comprehend the safety of belonging to anywhere, anything, any people. I found myself in a place of vagabondage; lonely, wandering, never still, never peaceful.
Most people go through transit to a destination, I destine to continue in transit, only pausing, never stopping; because when I stop, what if I stop forever? What if I get complacent, and lose my motivation? What if I learn to appreciate security and forget to become uncomfortable?
The thing is, for me it’s not even that one place is better or worse than another, or that I would be happy here or unsatisfied there. It’s the fact that there’s a whole world out there, full of things I’ve never done, people I’ve never met, experience I’ve never had, perspective I’ve never seen or heard, lives I’ve never touched. There’s so much out there to learn, to see, to hear, to conquer, to explore, to overcome. There’s so much in myself that comes out as my surroundings change, so much that I might never know if I never sought difference, if I never searched for more. God has blessed me abundantly with so much already, He has shown me that here is a fragment, a scrap, a piece, a crumb of the glory that awaits you when you follow Me. Seek the rest.
I’ve been seeking, I’ve been searching, praying, crying out LORD, WHAT’S MORE? WHAT IS IT CALLED, GOD, WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR? He called me to search for more, before I even knew what more was named. I sought, and He answered. My Lord God, Redeemer answered, just as promised. He has shown me more, so, so much more! There is no denying that my God is great, mighty and powerful! He has blessed us with power, strength and life abundant; why have I been afraid for so long that stopping to bask in my God, His power, might and glory would rob me of that abundance? Oh, so contrary to that is the truth! The more that I stay and seek the rest the more I will find His rest, His peace. God created each of us to be loved, cherished and free from bondage in Him. He is not a solitary God up in Heaven shushing us because He’s busy. He is a God of compassion on the multitudes, of ministering to the lost, and loving the hopeless into the light of His glory! Why would I think that this God of love, mercy and justice that I serve would want anything less for me than the desires of my heart and the best of His kingdom? His desire is that I imitate Him, and live my life in the strength of His power. My Jesus had compassion on the multitudes, He is near to the broken-hearted and He lived a life of ministry. How will I minister in His name, to His people if I won’t give up my selfish claim on self-preservation and isolation?
It’s my turn now to give up my rights for the privilege of living, growing and building in community, in family, in the people of God. God has called me to sit still and pour into people, allowing them also to pour into me, to get to know me for the first time ever as I fully, incredibly and more thoroughly embrace my identity, and worth in Christ. He has spoken and I know that He has called me out of loneliness and separation into community, accountability, and fellowship. I’ve only been here for two weeks, and it’s not always easy, nor is it going to be, but I have complete peace that God has me here, because He is about to unfurl great and awesome works and wonders in and through me. I have learned so much in two weeks but I can’t imagine that I’ve even begun to scratch the surface of what’s to come. God is here, He is real, and He is moving!
AMEN! & HALLELUJAH!
In all of this, I have learned that I can be free, that I am free, even if I’m not constantly moving. In this revelation of sitting still, of opening my eyes and accepting the challenge of facing my biggest fears of commitment, being known and loving hard. I am free to give up, I am free to leave, to choose a lesser experience, to find my own way; but so much more than that I am free to stay! I am free to face my fears, free to commit, free to allow people to know me, free to laugh, to cry, free to dance, to sing, free to desire spiritual gifts, to desire to know the unknown. I AM FREE, PEOPLE! I am free to stay precisely, geographically, physically where I am and learn how to overcome. What a concept, eh? I am free to be obedient, to get up and follow God.
Faith can no longer mean sitting still and waiting— they must rise and follow Him. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer