Oh, hello there friends! I know I have been absent on here for the past month, and I’ve missed you. It’s been a crazy few weeks in our family, how about yours?
Now that I’m at the end of September, I can’t believe what a haze I’ve been in since August ended. Ha! Honestly, I feel that way about this entire year. I don’t even know where to begin to catch up, but I’m going to attempt to start doing just that.
You know the butterfly analogy that threatens to sound boring by now because you’ve heard it so many times before? Well, I’m going to use it because it works for me right now. I have spent years of my life feeling an internal conflict over the fact that I have never been “radically transformed” since I began my relationship with God at an early age. Maybe you can relate.
I know that my relationship with God started when I was young. I’ve felt His presence with me, and I can look back and see evidence of Him working through me and speaking to me. However, in the first couple of decades of my life, I didn’t experience a defining moment, tragedy, or success. I felt average, vanilla, and not worth much. Even though I could quote every scripture that refuted that notion, I still struggled with it.
Then I entered my thirties. Being over thirty has not had any influence on the transformation going on in my life; it’s simply an easy starting point for me to document the changes I’ve been undergoing. There are two main phases I’ve seen in my adult life. The first one is the cocoon phase.
For my early adult years, I lived in a cocoon, figuring out everything from what it means to be an adult, how to have a career then let it go, be a good wife and mother, choose to be intentional about relationships, and not get caught up in the trends of this world. I subconsciously built a protective cocoon around myself as I adapted to all of those changes so I could process everything.
About a year and a half ago, I began moving into the “second phase” if you will. This is the phase I call living in the freedom of God’s grace. Walking in freedom begins with breaking out of the cocoon. It was not always comfortable in there, but it had become familiar and sometimes that feels safer than being free to observe the world outside. I haven’t especially enjoyed parts of breaking out of my bubble. I knew how to handle the challenges of being a one-income, one-vehicle family who enjoyed actively ministering in the church the only way I knew how, but all of the circumstances and certainties of our simple way of life were shaken one by one.
I started a quest for spiritual freedom after a couple of painful blows to my comfortable life. But grasping the end of the rope of freedom from deep in the pit of despair is both invigorating and terrifying. Each step of climbing out of the muck is exhausting. And then I reached the top to see the world in a way I never possibly could have until I’d lived through some trials that left me wounded, dirty, and desperate for what the Bible actually says about the tough stuff, and even the not-so-tough stuff about life.
Freedom is a wonderful thing. Spreading my wings of freedom can be glorious, but it’s still hard! It’s terrifying to fly because I never know when the wind will gust and throw me off the path I thought I was supposed to take. I’ve been thrown way off the course I believed was right when I was in the cocoon.
I am not saying that the cocoon was a bad thing. Each layer of it built up over years of doing my best to be faithful through various challenges and experiences. I needed the time spent in my cocoon of being exceptionally average to grow. It was dark and lonely in there at times, but it was still home to me. The people in there with me all loved me and forgave me when I messed up.
The crucial thing for any believer to remember about life is that we are not meant to live in cocoons forever. We will outgrow them, no matter how comfortably we’ve built those walls around ourselves. This is wonderful, but it also means flying free in the outside world where there are no more guarantees that everyone is going to understand or accept me. And I don’t like not being accepted or understood.
The circumstances I’ve survived since I started down the road marked by grace have been excruciating at times. I literally didn’t know if I would survive some of them. Even so, grace got me through. I’d like to say I’m stronger for them, but instead I’m beginning to see that I am not stronger, but God’s grace in me is. My faith is no longer contingent on what I can accomplish; rather, it’s strengthened because God got me to the other side.
I know that I am now living a life of freedom because I could actually write the previous paragraph and personally own it. Before, I could quote sermons and scriptures and think they were powerful, but now? Now I know it’s true because I’ve lived it. I’m worth a lot to God because He has seen to it to be faithful to me through my dark times, my temper tantrums, my grief, my laziness, my insecurities, and my shame.
That is what I’ve been pondering lately in a nutshell. If you’re feeling the tug at your cocoon to break out and live a life of freedom, I’d love to hear from you and do my best to encourage you on your journey. You are not meant to do it all alone, nor are you meant to try sewing up the rips at your walls in an attempt to stay comfortable. I’m praying for you in the meantime.