- When surrounded by adversity, rising above it can be daunting
- Encouragement pops chains and pushes back words of ridicule
- We join with others so that our voices may be heard
- Joyful laughter bubbles forth with good company
- Our reactions to others are our own choices
- How we respond makes room for light or drives all into darkest gloom
- We seek many things to quench our thirst
- What we gain may fall flat and leave us without satisfaction
- Thirst for what is lifegiving
- We bob about in confusion when we lack purpose
- A bubbly personality brings smiles and lightens the day
- We are filled and completed by God’s Spirit
“I’ll be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want.” What budding young adult upon first striking out on their own, or dreaming of doing so, has not had that thought or something very similar? Children too, fret at times under the authority of their parents or others.
I can remember similar thoughts of my own and I see in my mind’s eye that eighteen-year-old me as she headed off to college. Admittedly, there was a little anxiety as well. Though I was “on my own” I did not leave all behind nor dump what had been instilled in me for the previous eighteen years. I brought with me my faith, my values, life’s teachings, and lessons learned from my parents and others. I realized that with this newfound freedom, there was also great responsibility.
As unfinished and developing human beings, we allow our thoughts, emotions, and actions to drive how we react to others. The familiar, “He (or she) hit me first” of children is echoed in many forms for we adults. We justify ourselves by placing blame and by not recognizing our own responsibilities within our freedom to choose.
Paul said this well in his first letter to the church in Corinth. I like that my Bible titles this section as “The Believer’s Freedom.” He said, “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. *
Wow! That was pretty radical and certainly not something usually promoted, including today. Two words that stood out for me in Paul’s statement are “beneficial” and “constructive.” Not everything that we have the freedom to do results in good. Not everything we have the freedom to do serves a useful purpose or builds up others. While this freedom may be related to written laws or practices it is much more than that. This freedom has to do with personal character and integrity. It has everything to do with personal faith and commitment. Tied into all of this is compassion, love and care for others, and mutual respect.
“That doesn’t make it right” is a common response to the child’s declaration of “He (or she) hit me first!” What are our thoughts, our reactions, or our words to everyday situations? Do they reflect responsible freedom? Do they shine Christ’s light? This is a challenge for us all, I think.
I pray that I will better walk the path of responsible freedom. May we all seek and follow that path, ever striving for that which is beneficial and that which is constructive. All praise and thanks to God who draws His children closer to Him.
*1 Corinthians 10:23-24
A gleam a thought
Watch as ideas awaken
Designers and dreamers
Each thread each vine
Every reed and fiber
Interlacing forming linking
Drawn by a master’s hand
The weaver’s fingers
Move with purpose
Patterns and designs
Take shape and reveal
That which was weak
Story of redemption
Be firm determined
To take action
For truth and right
With careful consideration
Solutions and answers
Unselfishly and steadfast
To long for
To go with purpose
What worlds discover
And thoughts define
Faith renew so we
From “My Words to Live By” c-a allen
• We all have a purpose and use
• When we are empty there is hope of good things to come
• The imagination of a child turns the everyday into awesome
• Treasures can be found within each of us
• Some of us are gifted in organizing
• Anticipated arrivals are bright spots in a day
• Care for your boxes lest they fall apart in the rain
• The Maker of boxes has a use for all sizes and types
To summon request
Appeal to be done
In service and action
With both heart and mind
Listen and follow
With passion and strength
Give heed and attend to that
From “My Words to Live By” c-a allen
• We are each important and unique
• One size does not fit all
• Our personalities are expressed in many ways
• Each of us is especially suited for different functions
• The hats we wear serve many purposes
• Our abilities and gifts express our creativity and distinction
• It is good to use your hat well
• Adding a flair to life brings smiles
• Our lives can offer much good to others
• The great Hat-maker brings out good in each of us
• The Vine provides nutrients for us to grow.
• We all have a purpose in life.
• To be best used, we need to be cleaned out.
• Once cleaned out, there is opportunity for nourishment and enjoyment.
• A light within reveals character.
• Ripe pumpkins announce the new season.
• Seeds are useful for nutrition and future plants.
• Combining with other ingredients can be amazing.
• Sharing these creations brings smiles.
• Twist-Ties can be straight or bent.
• Standing straight declares a purpose.
• Sometimes we just need to bend.
• When we bend, our shape is changed.
• Different shapes fill different needs.
• Bending down allows full service.
• Twist-Ties help secure the contents.
• The colors declare the day of offering.
• Daily offerings of nourishment are beneficial.
• The one who provides, helps to shape us all.
• The Shaper welcomes who we are.