My husband and I recently returned from a trip to California. Our trip was to commemorate our ten years of marriage. We were also able (thank you to Grandma Marcia) to relinquish parenting duty for 6 days in a row. It was a great time to slow down, reconnect and relish our time off.
However, upon our return, there were bills to pay, permission slips to sign, meals to plan and prepare, diapers to change and schedules to coordinate.
And so it goes with life. Ecclesiastes author King Solomon refers to this notion of a time for each thing in chapter three (English Standard Version):
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
My California vacation has ended and everyday life tasks need to be taken care of.
My heart and mind are having a tough time transitioning. I want to stay on vacation. I want to be free from responsibility. Somewhere inside there is a desire to be selfish, to do what I want when I want and to be served.
Choosing that path is an option. It would mean giving up the great relationships I have with my family and friends (as I doubt they would support me running away from my children, home and life in general). It would mean no longer having the love and respect of my children. I’m sure my husband (though he might dream of fewer responsibilities) would not abandon his life, so I would lose him. It would probably mean getting a job wherever I could in order to start again and make ends meet. Most likely there would be legal ramifications I would face from deserting bills, family, children, jobs, etc. Therefore I would likely face time in court or time in jail. I know God would never abandon me; but if I continually turn away from him, he will let me live with the painful consequences of my decision (hoping that I will come to my senses someday and turn back to him).
Ok, after thinking this through, I have decided to remain faithful and ignore the lure of “freedom”. That kind of freedom is the kind I only want on vacation. I would not want to give up my responsibilities — because these bring me great joy. True freedom is something you fight for, work hard for and enjoy the fruits over the long haul. Thank you Paul, for these insightful words from Romans chapter 6:
So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom! (Message)
Bring me to better understand freedom in you. Thanks for the awesome vacation; and the reminder that true freedom comes from conforming and accepting rather than defying and running away from you and your gifts. May I never take for granted how richly you have blessed me- possessions, friends, family – but most importantly with my life and new life in you through Jesus! Amen
Your sister in Christ,