I want to tell you about a time I went to the beach and was free. You see, I resolved it in my brain. I would go to the beach and I would be free. The sun would sit in blue sky and I would smile. The waves would crash so loud and so hard and be so relentless that I would feel small and revel in the beauty of it. I would let the salty breeze get under my skin and let it wake me up.
I needed to wake up.
And I did. I jogged when I wanted to jog. I stopped when I wanted to stop. I stared at the ocean and a smile crept along my mouth. I ate a birthday cake ice cream cone and enjoyed it down to the point that the sticky-cold trickled down my fingers. I danced in my kitchen as I sautéed vegetables. And then, I went boogie boarding and got in the water because sometimes I am tired of laying down and taking life in from that angle.
I want to participate.
I think God made us to be participants.
Then there was the time that I looked up at the sun and smiled because I think God let it shine just for me. I walked and shopped and touched lovely things and bought what little things made me smile. Sweet cards, matching shoes with my girls, a burger filled with onions and French fries to dip in the sauce.
As I look back on the time that I went to the beach and was free, I am wondering if other people saw me differently. This is what we do as humans. We think other human’s opinions are measuring sticks and they aren’t. Other humans are just like us, messy and wanting to be known and even better – secretly wishing to be set free, too.
So, I wore a bathing suit (yeah, it’s February) and I set myself free.
And all of us Christians are thinking, but you wore a bathing suit and you ate food and you danced in a kitchen…So what? So how does that advance the Kingdom? Or does it advance the Kingdom? Or worse, did you damage the kingdom by dancing?
Oh my. I know.
Well, let me tell you what I do really know: Paul knew who He was. So did Peter. They were brave men who told lots of people about Jesus. They weren’t ashamed of being strong men who were zealous for the Kingdom. And that Proverbs 31 woman. She did too. She knew what made her come alive and she went and did those things. And our world is better for it. For all of them.
And want to know the best part? Our clearest image of owning who we are is Jesus. Jesus knew He came to save which is why He did everything the way He did it. He healed. He told stories. He sat with the tax collectors and he had a drink with the poor. Why? Because the sick needed to be healed. Not the righteous.
And in every way He was free, He set us free. For too long, I have been covering up places of me that aren’t sinful and trying to fit some kind of mold. I am not sure where I found the mold, but I am pretty sure I picked it up in church somewhere and I have been trying to squeeze into it ever since. (Think jeans. In our closet. One size too small.) Yeah, not a good picture, right? So I am slowly trying to remember what I was pre-mold. And this is what I am remembering:
I love music, and I love to dance to music.
I love to teach women about Jesus, so I am going to do it as best I can.
I love the ocean and I am not going to be afraid to dive into the water.
I love to have people in my home — lots of people — and I love to feed all those hungry mouths and listen to the laughter.
I love to stop and pause and stare deep into women’s hearts and take note of where they are — so yes — I want to do this, too.
I want to remember how God made me and use that to advance His kingdom. This is what I see in Scripture, too. Page after page in my Bible, I pause to take note of the broken people Jesus used. They knew who they were and the stepped into history. They were zealous and passionate and alive people. They used their gifts — all of them — for Jesus. Because here is a fact: No one is going to want to believe the story of Jesus if they hear it from some sad song on the radio, but rather from someone is dancing to the freedom song in our souls.
So, if you need me, I am still wiping sand off the soles of my feet because I am praying that my heart is learning a new dance. A dance where I am lured by my King while both of our feet are firmly planted in the empty tomb. Because that place is my come alive place.
Have you been trying to squeeze into a mold, too? If so, what is it and how can I help you out of it to be set free? Please jot me a little note below— let’s come alive together!