July 4th weekend is here, this year an extended time for celebrating our nation’s independence in the United States. There will be parades and carnivals and ball games and hot dogs and barbecues and fireworks everywhere (“except in my love life,” sighed someone out there. I heard that. Me too!).
As a nation, we got a strong taste of freedom in 1785 after years of fighting the American Revolutionary War to win independence from England. We fought to maintain our autonomy while we were a fledgling nation. We became known as the land of the free and the home of the brave. Unfortunately, today many of us have not acquired a taste for freedom at the personal, individual level.
What are some signs that we have capitulated to being an emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual captive in the land of the so-called free?
–We are unable to make reasonable, healthy decisions about our relationships
–Our moods tend to stay in the negative zone; we’re driven by anxiety, depression, agitation, anger, loneliness, fear, worry, jealousy, envy, bitterness
–Our physical health is out of control, and we feel stuck, unmotivated, to do anything to change it
–We feel bored, intellectually sluggish, with our jobs and our lives, and do everything the same old way nearly every day; we’re unable or unwilling to make even the little changes we know could enliven or improve our lives
–There is at least one addiction (food, drugs, alcohol, porn, shopping, anger, sex… pick your poison) present in our lives that keeps overwhelming us, and we feel powerless to change it; we may even feel entitled to keep it
–God, church, Christ-centered spiritual disciplines, activities, and maybe even Christian friends hold absolutely no joy or interest for us
Did you find yourself somewhere in the above list? You’re not alone.
Thousands of single Christians languish in various prisons of the heart every day.
They have the same things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.
They go to work the same way every day.
Decisions are made more with emotions than logic, prayer, or God’s Word.
Addictions keep us in the damning darkness of shame, guilt, and fear.
And our bodies show it.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Henry David Thoreau
What would happen if we broke out of our boring routines, binding addictions, and blinding emotions?
It would be spectacular.
It would be awesome. So freeing.
It’d be like being released from prison, but instead of having all your rights denied to you as a parolee, you’d get all your rights restored to you. Plus you get an emotional blank check with a fresh, new start.
Many of you remember what that was like.
You’d gotten a taste of freedom after battling something for a long time.
You started craving that freedom.
You realized how horrible and enslaving darkness was. You were finally, completely, and officially, tired of it and you. Wanted. Out. For good.
You recognized the new and good path toward His will.
You were no longer scared to let Him live His life through you.
You confessed and forsook, confessed and forsook.
You got your Christian friends and family to keep praying with you.
You might haven even gotten angry at yourself, or cried at your failures, but you kept getting back up.
You broke out of boringness, routineness, joylessness.
You began to realize freedom more often, for longer periods of time.
One day you realized, it’s gone. It’s done. I don’t even miss it anymore.
The freedom was mind-blowing.
Your purpose started emerging.
Your joy started returning.
Laughter started sparkling out of your eyes.
Life was no longer a drudging, boring routine, but a gift from God.
You found that this life He’s given you is now full of surprises that you can handle better.
You realized how many choices you actually had that you didn’t exercise before.
The addictions started disappearing as you dealt with reality using truthfulness, boundaries, reframing, prevention, and other healthy methods.
You set boundaries and started getting better at keeping toxic people from affecting you. You also quickly found out that toxic people didn’t like your stopping them from intruding into your life. Then you realized that’s not my problem, and that’s okay.
Anxiety, stress, insecurity, and unreasonable mood swings found it difficult to hang on to your renewed mind.
I’ve had a long taste of that freedom.
I’ve grown accustomed to it.
And I like it.
Those of you who have fought for your freedom, you appreciate it, too.
Never give up ground to the enemy, my friend.
Keep fighting until new life is natural.
Remember that taste of freedom and make it your daily menu.
Happy Indefinite Independence Day to you, single Christian.
Starting July 4, you will see additional blog posts from me (completely different articles from what I write here for my own blog) at the Single Matters website. Single Matters is a wonderful website devoted just to us Christian singles. Check them out here at http://www.singlematters.com/. I was so excited and so honored to be asked to become one of their regular contributors!
My first article is about a singles topic I hope will set some of you free when you are asked a specific stupid question by marrieds about your non-dating life. Later this month, I will be relaunching a series on healthy habits for singles by talking about an essential healthy habit I also struggle with! Be sure to look for me at singlematters.com and Like and Share our articles. There is lots of good stuff there for us!
Also be sure to look for me on Face book at “For single Christians: One is a Whole Number” for daily support, exhortation, and inspiration for living as Christ’s single.