Independence Day

Like all of us, my son Jonathan, craves independence – freedom.

How do I know this? 

Well, first of all I know my son. I’m with him more than anyone else. But the most convincing evidence is observance of his actions and reactions.

When he wanders off, he’s not running away (like the police who help us find him believe), he’s relishing the idea of going someplace on his own, without being followed or watched.

In a restaurant, he longs to make his own food choices and scowls if suggestions are made. Occasionally he refuses to sit with us and moves to another table. I’m not offended. I understand he wants his own space.

At the store, he chooses items he likes, with no regard for cost and becomes very aggravated when asked to put something back.

He likes to stay up all night so he can have freedom to do whatever he wishes, without someone telling him to shower, shave, take his meds, put on clean clothes and a myriad of other directives that steer him toward a bit of responsibility.

If rushed, he balks, often freezing in place, because he wants the freedom to do it in his time and his way.

Jon has few choices in life. To give my son a small taste of the independence he craves, I have become incredibly adept at appearing to be uninterested in what he’s doing while constantly watching or following from a distance. Sometimes I am called out for this by strangers in public places, who don’t understand. They accuse me of being inattentive.

Maybe they don’t understand that true love recognizes the unspoken needs and desires of another and makes allowances for them.

What Jon doesn’t comprehend is this; freedom is not a license to do what we want whenever we want. It is a privilege that directs responsible living. 

We are not given liberty for selfish means with no thought of the ripple effect our actions have on others. Freedom, lived out properly, sets us and everyone within our sphere of influence, free.

Choice is a wonderful thing but it also has consequences, not just for us but also for those around us. When Jon chooses to not take his meds and is sick, not be ready on time for an appointment, not be safe by wandering away, it affects us in colossal ways. 

His desire for independence does not encompass the enormity of the consequences created for those who love and care for him.

From the very beginning we understand God created man with options and never forces us to do, say or choose the right thing. He watches and follows us from a distance if need be, His heart bursting with love and concern for our well-being. 

We may push Him aside or away, but He is always waiting in the wings for us to choose righteousness, to choose what is best, to choose Him.

And when we wander far away, He recklessly searches for the one lost sheep, gathers it in His arms and brings it back to the safety of the sheepfold.

I’m not certain my son will ever understand how much he needs me, a flawed and often inadequate mother. 

I, however, never want to forget how much I need my perfect, powerful, loving God. My only hope for true freedom lies in knowing Him. 

He gave up everything, laid down His life so I could.

So you could.

Don’t see Him? Don’t feel Him? Turn around and look. 

There He is..watching and waiting from a distance, just like I do with my Jon.

He never takes His eyes (or His love) off of you. 

He is waiting to set you free.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm,then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit,and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.