There’s a quote I have loved since high school,
“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
I use to write it across notebooks and under my name marked with a lovely little heart with wings. You can even find it under my senior picture in my yearbook. I held fast to it, because it spoke the words I longed to be. Free.
There were times I’d walk the halls in high school holding my breath without even realizing what I was doing. On the outside people saw perfection. Many times I had classmates tell me that I had the perfect life, the perfect grades, the perfect friends, the perfect family and on and on. I’d smile and leave it at that.
But on the inside part of me always felt I was dying. I was so bound in seeking approval, in being the best, in showing myself worthy that I built a wall around me. A wall that not only protected me, but caged me in. By the appearance of things, I was flying but within only I knew how desperate I was. I barely crawled when I longed to fly.
To be free was my greatest wish and desire. To stand on a rocky cliff with my arms spread wide, uninhibited, breathing the freshness that is freedom…soaking it in.
Sometimes I wonder if people think I’m weird the way I talk about freedom. I lull over it, muse upon it, and stare at it as if it were a sunset.
I read the words “It was for freedom that Christ set you free,” and my heart sings. I love those words.
I have known freedom.
I walked the aisle when I was 8-years-old and accepted Jesus in my heart. I was freed from death and hell, but it wasn’t until many years later I tasted a different kind of freedom. A freedom that broke the layers of my imprisonment to trust and hope…to live.
I met Jesus in a new way. I met him in the shadows of my heart. In the tiny bit of light amidst the darkness. He pulled me out of the wreckage that was my own despair, from the rejection I’d been blown and held onto, and the hatred I dealt myself.
He saved me.
He covered me with his love, binded up my wounds, and healed my heart. He spoke gently to me as he called me out, extending his worn hand of strength and protection. He broke through the layers of self-protection I’d built and released me. In sheltering me under the shadow of his wings (Psalm 17:8), he gave me life.
That’s why freedom is so important to me. That’s why I hold to it so dearly, because I know what it’s like to be the caged bird who longs to sing. I know what it’s like to live barely breathing. I know what it’s like to wear a mask, living a facade wondering when someone’s going to find out.
I have been bound and broken by fear, self-hatred, anger, and shame. I have been thrown and beaten. I have been shattered.
But I have been set free and it is glorious.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”