Hearing much commotion and celebration in the dining room, I ran downstairs from where I was busily rearranging bedrooms...it's sort of a hobby of mine. Anyway, Gracie, my adorable dog of unknown descent, had gotten her collar tangled in the neighbor's lilac bush. When she was able to pull herself free, she came scratching at the patio door instead of running the neighborhood. This was a monumental change in behavior from the dog who just two months earlier would wait by the door in anticipation of escaping.
I was thrilled to see her new response to freedom. Off her leash without any supervision, Gracie could have been anywhere before we even knew she was gone. Instead, she came right to the door. She knows we are her people; she knows this is where she belongs, and she was doing everything she could to get back inside to safety.
I've been off my leash for awhile now, so to speak. The triathlon that consumed every waking thought is over. Swimsuit season is over. The intense structure of my life is over, and I am floundering. I'm wanting to eat with reckless abandon...and not the healthy stuff anymore. Moderation is not really a word in my vocabulary; being a strong finisher is more my style. Whether it's a race or a pan of cheerio-peanut butter-marshmallow treats, it doesn't matter. (Just for the record, I was advised that they aren't any good after a day or two, and that they should be eaten quickly. Just doing my job, ma'am...)
As in all areas of life, the Bible has a word for me here. I even know what it is without looking.
"For freedom Christ has set me free. Stand firm, therefore, and submit no more to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
He did not set me free so that I could run wild through the neighborhood. Or my cupboards, for that matter. He did set me free from the things that seek to enslave me. No freedom actually exists in the "right" to eat everything I see. Freedom does not give us permission to act on our impulses, like a teenager with our parents out of town. Freedom is the gift Christ has given us. The snare of bondage tightens slowly, enslaving us while we think we are in charge of our lives.
Before I became a Christian, I was leery of the Bible and all of its rules. No one was telling me how to live my life. I was way off my leash and no one was taking that away from me. Instead, I found myself living a life of fear, shame, loneliness, and regret. Not exactly the freedom I'd been looking for.
I've been a little aimless during this transition to a new season, a little unfocused on how to handle this next phase in my life, a little undisciplined. One of my favorite scriptures is in Hebrews:
"Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with ENDURANCE the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2
It's time for me to scratch on Jesus's patio door and come back in the House where it's safe, pay attention to the slipknot around my ankle, and run with endurance the race set before me, in this time, in this place. Not the race I wish I was still running,or the one I feel like it is my right to run, but the new one that comes with this season. Being a strong finisher is a good thing...it gives me drive and determination. I just can't let it lead me in the wrong direction. And of course, keep my eyes on Jesus, the Author of all my days.