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The Battle That Rages

There is a battle that rages inside of me.

It’s in every decision. It’s in every moment. It’s in every relationship.

It’s the never-ending clash of freedom and safety.

Will I fall if my dad takes off my training wheels? Should I try out for the part in the school play? What will happen if I ask that boy to the dance?

What should I major in? Should I send that follow-up email to my coworker? What will my friends think if I take a break from traditional church?

Should I let my kids ride their bike to the neighbor’s house? Can I tell my spouse about my overwhelming fear? Should I quit my good-paying job and follow my life-long dream?

Is it too late for me to _____________?


All followed up by the three more questions.

Will this keep me safe? Will this make me free? Which is more important?

Much of the time, I choose safety at all costs, especially at the cost of freedom.

SAFETY swallows me up.

It says, “Do what’s easiest, no matter the cost.”

It keeps the real me at bay, playing “nicey-nice,” telling me over and over again that “I’m fine” is the answer every morning, no matter if it’s remotely true or horribly false.

FREEDOM releases me.

It says, “The choice is yours to make.”

It calls the authentic me to come out to play, reminding me that any answer I give in the morning is good as long as it’s true.

SAFETY keeps me small.

It says, “You just shouldn’t.”

It prevents me from feeling it ALL, tells me I am only allowed to feel SOME and I need to do whatever it takes to get the HAPPY and stuff down the HARD.

FREEDOM enlarges me.

It says, “You can.”

It allows me feel ALL of it, from the angry to the anxious, from the sappy to the happy, from the painful to the pleasant. ALL. OF. IT. Nothing is too much or too hard or too this or too that.

SAFETY says protection is my end goal.

It says, “Don’t let anything bad happen E.V.E.R.”

It stomps out the beautiful possibilities of wonder and ensuing joy and leaves me lifeless and hopeless.

FREEDOM says I am designed for fullness.

It says, “Your adventure is waiting. Dive right on in.”

It opens me to grandeur, summons me to imagination, bids me to beauty and leaves me wholly alive and able to dream.

SAFETY shuts others out.

It says, “You will be hurt and it will be terrible, 99.9% guaranteed.”

It perpetuates disengagement and sometimes shouts a loud or whispers a soft “NO!” to any kind of closeness. It leaves me lonely and loveless.

FREEDOM invites others in.

It says, “You will be hurt, but it will be worth every teardrop, 99.9% guaranteed.”

It welcomes vulnerability, openness, intimacy, and gives room for my most basic human need to be fully-known and fully-loved. I feel my own long sigh exhaling, “Aaahhh! YES!”

SAFETY downright enslaves me.

It says “Don’t you dare.”

It dictates decisions that lead to an endless and fruitless attempt to control my world, my husband, my kids, my friends, my self.

FREEDOM grants me permission to really LIVE.

It says, “I triple-dog dare you!”

It urges me to ask myself the scary question: what is the truest, most beautiful life that you can imagine?* It doesn’t stop there. It implores me to then actually answer and act on that question.

There is a battle that rages inside of me.

It’s in every decision. It’s in every moment. It’s in every relationship.

Which might win today? Tomorrow? Next week?

I don’t know for sure.

But which will ultimately win in the end?

I think I know.

I'm working toward it. I'm counting on it.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!” (Galatians 5:1)

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