Monday, February 7, 2011

Be Free

Be free to or free not to

{I don't typically open up about personal things on this blog, but I'm struggling a lot and feel as if I need to get this out somewhere}

I'm kind of in a slump. But the phrase above? This is where I want to be. Free. I feel as if I am always in bondage to myself. In bondage for pleasing others. In bondage to fear. It's a problem I seem to deal with on a regular basis.

I recently began a study called Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the fruit of the Spirit because let's be honest...I can certainly use a lot more of the spirit and a lot less of myself. When I rely too much on myself I find I get myself in trouble.

In one of the very first lessons, the key verse was this: "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." ~Galations 1:10

This verse hit me hard. Most of the time I try do things to please God, but my intentions always change throughout the process. I may start out with good intentions, but it always ends in serving myself which leads to disappointment. I don't know how to get out of this cycle. I follow a prompting from the Lord to reach out to someone...a phone call, a text, a message...and at first I don't expect anything back. But then I get no response, or one that I wasn't hoping for and then I'm hurt and angry. I know the best way to get disappointed is to set expectations for other people. And 99% of the time people don't respond the way I think they should or wish they would. There is a particular relationship in my life that keeps me in this battle. It's a broken relationship. One that I try very regularly to repair. I reach out in obedience without expectations, but then somehow find myself disappointed and angry again. I give up, then the Lord tells me to do it again. There are days that I wonder why I subject myself to the pain repeatedly when the other person clearly doesn't care. My sister says that it's better to reach out and get hurt because at least I'm still trying and I'm keeping my heart open. But I don't feel like my heart is staying open. I feel like it's causing my heart to harden more. I stumbled across this quote from C.S. Lewis that said exactly what my sister said.

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
— C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

In this relationship is where I want to be free. Free to love, free to be rejected, free from expectations, free to obey, free to be myself in Christ. Only then do I feel like I can apply that to the rest of my life. I don't know how to "not care." How to find joy in obeying the Lord regardless of the other person's response. I just know I don't want to live the rest of my life like this. My hope is that one day my focus will only be on serving and pleasing Christ. I know that's the only way of releasing me from this bondage of pleasing others and myself. If I serve Him, then I can't possibly be disappointed.