One of the hardest things for me to do these past four years was to speak and confront a few people who were very close to me- people that I respected and looked up to immensely. I won’t go into the details as I don’t want to dishonour the situations, however I just want to share what true freedom and true relationship for me looks like.
These confrontations caused me tears like you wouldn’t believe- tears for months on end. And let me give preface and clarify that when I did stand up for myself and ‘back’ my situation and my reality, I did it heaving, sobbing and snot bubbling the whole time!!!! But… I did it. And for me that was a MASSIVE accomplishment. It taught me how to stand up for myself and to value and ‘back’ what I think and believe. It also taught me to be okay with thinking differently.
In fact a few weeks after one of these conversations took place, I had a flat tire and had to go get it sorted- Sorry, Dad, I know you taught me how to do it but I was lazy!!!! :0
After my tire was changed, the guy tells me that my back two tires were extremely worn down and I should have them change them as well. I just looked at him blankly and with every ounce of equality and fierce determination I calmly said, “Actually one month ago I just paid for four brand new tires at my last car service. So no. My tires do not need replacing. Thanks tho.”
And ya know what!?!?! I got into my car and drove away and I felt GOOD. REAL GOOD. And I then proceeded to call 10 friends and family members in earnest desire for their ‘well done’!!!!! Hahahahahahahahahaha
But for me this was a big deal. Standing up for myself. Not getting manipulated or charmed. Speaking up for my reality and my truth. As painful as the aforementioned relational confrontations had been for me, they were the catalyst into discovering what true freedom is and was always meant to be for me.
I grew up the good lil church girl. Would never kiss a boy, wouldn’t even hold a boys hand. (I’m rolling my eyes and shaking my head right now haha!! Oh the dates I could have gone on!!!!!) 😉 I always wanted to please everyone, especially those in leadership positions. I just wanted to do the right thing. Walk in purity. Follow in His heartbeat. And honestly, I truly am SO grateful for so many of these decisions. For choosing to walk a certain way.
I do remember thinking though, I don’t have any crazy wild stories that I will be able to tell my kids oneday!? Not like the crazy wild stories my mom had told me of her younger days!! 😉 Which honestly I am jealous of!! Girl had FUN hahahah;) (Love ya mom!!!!) Sometimes now I think, man if only I could have grown up doing whatever the heck I wanted to do- no rules no boundaries just do what felt good and right at the time and THEN I could have met Jesus AFTER all that!!! Hahahahahaha how bad is that!?!?!?!?!
I remember one time I actually (brace yourselves, this is TERRIBLE) opened up a box of safety pins from Fred Meyer and stole one solitary safety pin so that I had something rebellious to tell my children!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (I did go back years later and pay for an entire box cause the guilt of that haunted me for years to come!!! Aaahahahahah SO BAD, ReRe, so bad!!!!)
*Asterisks/Footnote- I do not condone theft of any kind. Those who steal safety pins should be punishable by crime and serve upto 48 hours in maximum security prison. With Netflix available of course 😉 😉 :0 🙂
I am SOOOO grateful for growing up in a very safe and very loving home where instilled in me was the belief in an intimate Creator and a faith in His word. I’m SO grateful for the principles and morales that my parents taught me. In fact one of my favourite things about my dad is his mercy heart. My dad is the kind of man who will get stuck talking to people anywhere and EVERYWHERE we go. Seriously even driving me to youth group and we stop to get gas/petrol he would take like 15 minutes to pay and I’m like sitting there going CMON, Dad, I gotta get to youth group!! Seriously!???!!! But he would have struck up a conversation with the guy working behind the till then proceed to come back to a very impatient, annoyed daughter in the car and laugh and relay to me a puzzle piece size story that he had acquired through chatting with yet another random guy. My dad will go visit family members hours away every week just to spend time with them and bring them treats because he has a revelation and understanding of responsibility and family and what is really important in life. Ohhhhh Dad, I just love you SOOOO MUCH!! Tears are streaming right now!!
I remember waking up and my dad would be sitting in the chair in the living room, up since the crack of dawn reading the Word. Honour, discipline, trust, integrity, respect, commitment, dedication, hunger for Him, hunger for Truth. These things were taught me from a little girl. And to say I am grateful would be a massive understatement. And actually at the end of the day, I’m grateful for the boundaries and guidelines I lived by growing up, as I was kept safe and secure in a knowledge and intimacy with my Creator that would prepare me and keep me in good stead as I grew and matured and spread my wings into the great, big, wide, scary, complex, mysterious, frustrating, glorious, broken, stunning place that we call Humanity and our World.
At the same time however, I am aware of the suffocation that wanting to please people all the time can bring. It is such a subtle seduction though. The root of the desire is pure, in that you want to do what it right, you want to please and honour those who you respect, those who walk in a particular authority, and these things in themselves are honourable desires. However, when they take over and replace the desire to please Him and walk in His truths and freedom, suffocation takes over and firmly places it’s grip on you with debilitating control. You start to hear others as the ONLY voice of God in your life, even contrary to how you know the voice of your Creator your Father; even contrary to the wisdom and protection and guidance of your family and loved ones closest to you.
Religion is safe. It’s easy. Because you know exactly what you are supposed to do and exactly what you are not supposed to do. Religion is very black and white.
Freedom is flippin S.C.A.R.Y.- working out your salvation with fear and trembling… Faaaaaar out, it’s scary!!!!
Suddenly I found myself thinking through and mulling over and questioning things that I have been trained to believe as black and white/ right and wrong/ good and evil. And let me tell you some around me were freaking out hahahaha. I could just hear them thinking… “Ohhhhhhhh just watch!! She is going to dive off the deep end, the pendulum will now swing completely to the other side and she is gonna abandon all her morals and values and go CRAY CRAY!!!”
And you see the thing is, this is exactly what can happen when we live in legalism. It causes us to be so bound up in rules, regulation and FEAR that often people eventually become so suffocated that they either make life altering, pain inflicting decisions in an attempt to break free from the bubble wrap or they are the victims of those that have made those decisions. And then the journey of frantically searching for life and oxygen ensues often resulting in a head first, whole body dive into anything and everything as an expression of their rebellion against legalism. As a taunt and declaration of freedom, if you will, to the fear and legalism that once held them captive. Often this looks like the abandoning of even healthy and necessary values and principles.
This is why its so much safer to stay in the safety of the insular bubble wrap.
I think that it is a balance of foundation and freedom. Yes of course values and morals and a deep seeded faith and belief but also freedom to choose. Freedom to make mistakes. Freedom to think for ourselves. To be challenged and sharpened by others but to search His word for ourselves and find Him for ourselves.
I have been learning that it’s not always so much about right and wrong. It’s about choices and consequences.
Life isn’t black and white. I mean let’s be honest, Life is extremely MESSY and COMPLICATED. “We aint in Kansas anymore, ToTo”!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 😉
Side note- Some days I just wanna go back to being 6!!! Ya know!?!?! Life was AMAZE at 6. I had my five thousand stuffed animals, I had my purple My Little Pony Wallet all cashed up with my life’s savings of $14.85!! I had my best friend Kaleena just down the road from me. I had my imaginary friends who begged me relentlessly to perform my hit songs and theatrical plays for them!! 😉 If I fell asleep in the car ride home, my dad would carry me in and tuck me into my bed and I didn’t have to bother with getting the blasted (but oh so necessary) mascara off my eyes!! And if I’m perfectly honest here…why did I love 6 so much!? Weeeeelllllllll, it’s because my baby brother wasn’t born yet!!!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaahha… In other words, I had AAALLLLLLLL the attention of my parents
JUST. TO. MYSELF.
Hahahahahahahaha Sorry Jacob!!! Reality Bites!!!!!! 😉
With every choice we make there will be a reaction to follow wether positive or negative. It’s not really about right/wrong. It’s about “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” 1 Corinthians 10.23
So for me I look at the options I have before me and I make a decision and weigh up what the impact will be on the following:
~myself (mind body soul and spirit)
I don’t ask myself anymore if something is right or wrong. I make decisions based on the kind of character I want to nurture and develop within. I talk to those that I respect. Those whose lives and character I value and honour.
And I honestly do believe that even if not in this lifetime, in the one to follow there is a principle of Reaping and Sowing… So I make decisions based on how I wanna reap. I don’t always get it right- I make plenty of mistakes, but I learn and grow…hopefully from strength to strength.
I want to surround myself with different cultures and people who believe differently than I do.
Seeing how people think and believe differently and even- Heaven Forbid- learning from them!!!!!;) I went on a date with this guy once and I was telling him about my children and I asked him if he had any and he said- “Yes. 6 from all different women around the world.” Oh if you could have seen the look of shock and horror on my face hahahaha!!!! He smiled and looked and me and said- “Why that face?” I said very confidently and in my best goody-two-shoes Christian authoritative voice- “Well because I don’t respect those choices and that lifestyle!!”
“There, take that you heathen,” I thought!!!!!! ;0 😉 😉
He looked at me with kindness in his ohhhhhhh so handsome face 😉 and said, “I’m only joking. But how do you think people could possibly think when they look at you? They see a very young looking woman (who let’s be honest doesn’t act like a mature mom half the time haha) with three children who all look differently than each other. Could they not look at you and have predisposed judgments such as to why there is no ring on her finger, why she isn’t married? They could think that ‘she’ must have slept around with three different guys and is just a loose promiscuous woman.”
Ohhhhhhhh it hit me right where it counts!!!!! I felt the loving, yet very firm voice of God whisper to me, “Listen up Babygirl. Listen up. I’m teaching you something here.”
I never realised how much judgment I walked around with. Judgement that was somehow ingrained in me. I’ve said it before, but even how I used to think about divorced people. I would quietly judge them in my heart and puff myself up with the fact that, that will NEVER be me!! Famous last words…sigh.
I was in such a bubble wrapped world I could only relate to people who thought and believed EXACTLY the same way I did. Meanwhile there is a great big wide world out there with billions of people who are different and beautiful and broken and creative. People all on a pilgrimage. People with stories of their own. People who have made soooo many mistakes and choices that have left them in situations they would never choose again and people who didn’t choose the life or situations they are in. People who weren’t raised in a pentecostal right winged way of looking at life, people who understand and see an aspect of the Creator that I have been too narrow-minded to even consider.
And does God love and value me more just because I have diligently lived by and can quote verbatim the top 10 Fundamental-Pentecostal-Right-Wing-Do or Die-Only Way To Heaven-Values!!???!!? Ummmmmm I think NOT.
Gods not so narrow minded and conventional as we make Him out to be. He don’t fit in our nice, neat, tidy cookie cutter boxes. I mean, just look around you…the person on your left, your right… Crazy town different and unique right!? 😉
People are weird and strange and different and inspiring!! And I see aspects of the Creator in them that I just never saw when I only surrounded myself with people that thought the exact same as I once did.
And I’m not saying to live a life of licentious rebellion and just do whatever the hell you want and feel like!! For me, It’s these two scriptures in tandem:
“It’s for freedom that Christ has set us free…Stand firm and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5.1
“For you have been called to live in freedom…but don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature…Instead use your freedom to serve one another in love…” Galatians 5.13
Ahhhhhhh YES!! LOVE IT!!!!! Freedom!!!! Life!!! Selfless ambition and pursuit!!! Mistakes!! Huge Mistakes!!! Redemption!! Restoration!!! Freedom again!!!!
I’m saying I think He wants me to open up my eyes to the people around me who yes, think and believe differently than I do, but who even if they aren’t aware of it themselves, are also all stamped with the image of the same Creator I know!!
And let me be the first one to say I DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT even have it remotely figured out!!!!!! I love what Tori Kelly says in her song City Dove, “Don’t ask me what’s right or wrong, I don’t even know the time” !!!! Haha this is so me!!
But the thing that I love about being where I am at in life right now is that I am okay with not having it all figured out. I don’t need to know all the answers to all of my questions. I’m cool with stumbling through this journey and what’s even more, I know He is cool with it too.
I realised the other day that just down the road from where I live is a Jewish synagogue. I was thinking how cool it would be to go oneday and sit during one of their services and listen. Cause they understand and uphold the values and knowledge of the same Old Testament I read that quite frankly, I don’t understand a whole heck of a lot about!! Yes I believe in Jesus, but I could learn so much from their study and knowledge of the Old testament.
Thinkin’ they quite possibly might not let me in though…Hmmmm maybe the fact that I starred as Chava in Fiddler on the Roof and can still sing every note from the entire play will count for something!?!?!?!
Fine okay, probably not. Worth a try though;)
Even going to sit in a traditional Catholic Church and finding the beauty and sacredness in the sacrament of some stunning rituals and beliefs that are found in the same New Testament that I read!!!
Ohhh I’m rocking the boat!!! 😉 😉
We are trained to critique and judge and cast the devil outta every single idea or person who dares to think differently than us or who dares to interpret scripture differently. We are too fearful and insular to think or search for anything other than the ten P’s and T’s that we hear within the safe four walls.
I drank “milk” for too long… I want meat and potatoes- and while we are at it, the biggest piece of apple pie a’ la mode I can find!!! Hahahahaha.
I KNOW Him. Deeply and intimately. He and I have been through the flipping wars together and my portion with Him is secure and unshaken. And you know what!? I think He is secure enough for me to question and challenge what I believe. To converse with Him. In Jeremiah it says, ” Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you and even show you great and unsearchable things…things which have been confined and hidden…which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish…”
Ohhhhh trust me when I say I am CALLING on Him regarding ALOT of things!!!!!!! He gets an earful bout a whole lotta stuff from this feisty, determined girl!!! hahahaha!!!
I believe our Creator WANTS it to be relationally based not legalistically. He wants authentic and real.
I WANT authentic and real. I’ve discovered that I am quite severely anaphylactic prone, allergic to BS !!!!!!! 🙂 😉 😉
I want the purity of the gospel. I want real. I want relational. I want to love humanity and brokenness and spirituality and physicality all at the same time.
Okay I will ever so quietly and ever so delicately step off of my lil soapbox now… eeeeeek 😉
Great. Now “Sunrise, Sunset” is stuck in me head and currently being sung throughout my house full decibel volume much to my neighbours chagrin.
I don’t think they have quite recovered from the shock and upheaval caused from a crazy Creative and her three lil monkeys moving into the neighbourhood!!!! 😉 😉
Over and out.