The Freedom Of Losing My Most Valuable Possessions

The Freedom Of Losing My Most Valuable Possessions

When I lost a bag at the airport a week and a half ago, I had about 5 minutes of, “Did I really do that? Oh crap all my debit cards were in there and I need gas to get home. How am I going to do my work and write the things without my computer? Oh shoot all of my IDs were in there. My book proof was in there!”

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On Robin Hood & Freedom In Christ

Finding Freedom In Christ While Still Living In The World

I just finished watching Robin Hood, the three season BBC series, and I am genuinely, pathetically depressed there are no more episodes for me to indulge in.  

Over thinker that I am, I over-thought this today.  Why did I love the story so much?  Why was I so sad to see it end?  Why did I identify so deeply with a story set hundreds of years ago  and why did I (seriously, I know how pathetic this sounds) feel like an actual part of myself was missing when it ended?

I think it's because this is our story.  A kingdom wracked with injustice.  Starving people hanged for stealing bread.  Slave labor in deadly mines.  Livelihoods destroyed over failure to pay an unfair tax. War. Drought. Famine.  And amidst the injustice, character is revealed.

There are those who rebel openly and fight against it - Robin Hood and his men.  There are those who rebel secretly and fight injustice from the inside - Marian.  There are the young and the sick and the elderly who can do nothing - who are at the mercy of the cruel if there is no savior to step in and fight for them.  There are those who have money and title, but who do nothing.  They fear the consequences of helping the poor.  Or they rationalize - helping will not solve anything - sticking their own neck would be foolish.  They stick their heads in the sand.  They protect only themselves.

And there are the villains - the ones who want more and more and more.  More money.  More power - at any cost.  The Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John and Sir Guy.

We have those characters.  Here in the 21st century we have heroes and rebels and villains.  We have weak and powerless people being crushed by greed and neglect.  We have heads buried deep in the sand.  We have gobs of injustice.

It is our story.  It has always been our story.  It is the result of sin.  It is why Jesus came - to bind up the brokenhearted, to set prisoners free from darkness.  To set us free.  To set everyone free.

We are free.  Right now, we are free

In the series, Robin Hood lost his land and title because he refused to oversee an unjust hanging.  He ran to Sherwood Forrest, no longer an Earl but an outlaw.  In a run-in with a group of outlaws in the forrest, one of them said something that stuck with me -"We are dead men."  They had lost their homes, families, a place in their country, a reason to live - they were simply surviving as men already dead.  Robin challenged them to stop living as dead men.  He gave them a purpose, something to fight for, something to fight against - something to live for.  And later, when he was handing himself over to the Sheriff to protect an innocent woman- when his men said that doing so meant certain death- he said, "at least I will not die a dead man."

He was living free.  Daily willing to lay his life down to protect the innocent.  Entirely devoted to combating the injustices in front of him - never letting an opportunity to right a wrong pass him.  Stripped of everything that his society valued - labeled an outlaw - walking with a price on his head.  But in a way, more free than he could have ever been sitting in his manor, observing the injustices outside his window, and doing nothing.

For 36 episodes, I felt free too.  Living vicariously through a fictional character, I felt lighter, as though my own chains were no longer holding me.  Chains of practicality, of pleasing others, of meeting expectations, of meeting properly set goals and following carefully laid plans.  Chains of achieving, of seeking wealth, of designing a comfortable and contented life.  For 36 episodes, I was with Robin - living as a nomad in the forrest with one set of clothes - eating whatever small animal my friend managed to catch and cook over a fire - facing death every day - stripped of the life I cling to and welcomed into a life of purpose.  A life devoid of so much that I value, but so full of the freedom I crave.

Isn't that what Jesus does?  He strips us of the life we cling to - if we let Him.  He welcomes us into a life of purpose - if we let Him.  I wish I could be like Robin Hood - letting go of the old life easily and bounding into the new one with endless passion and energy and faith.  But I am not like him.  Jesus strips and I cling.  He welcomes and I balk.

And sometimes, I sit in my pj's and lose myself in someone else's story instead of getting dressed and living my own.

I'm setting a new goal - to live free.  I'm laying out a new plan - screw my plans and follow Jesus.  I'll let you know how it goes.

*I wrote this piece about 4 years ago. I am grinning wide as I re-read the end because living free is still the goal, etched deep on my heart though I'd completely forgotten what started the initial spark.  I have spent the years since writing this moving closer, stumbling lots, toward a stripped down life, which I will write some about - eventually.*

Go Do Something Little

Photo Credit: Kelly Cottier Photography

Photo Credit: Kelly Cottier Photography

What little thing can you do today?  What little kindness, what little comfort, what little gift can you give to another human?

Go Do Something Little.

Make a ripple, cause a crack, speak a word, and trust it will go on, it will spread, it will echo.

Go Do Something Little.

Chances are, a thousand little things will leave a bigger impact - a better legacy - than the one thing you're saving up for, than the one opportunity you hope will come.    

Go Do Something Little.

We don't need to be millionaires.  We can make a thousand people smile.  Make a thousand people's day.  Make a thousand people stand up straighter.  

Go Do Something Little.

On those days when you realize your own mortality, when your existence feels minuscule in light of eternity, you will inventory what you've done with your limited time here on this spinning planet. And it is the thousand smiles, the thousand days made, the thousand people walking taller - it is these you will cling to.

Go Do Something Little.  

BE YOU: Do Not Cower

The Whisper Of Your Accuser Will Say You Are Being Humble. But The Truth Is You Are Cowering

Do not.  Do not cower.  How can you?  The same spirit that rose Jesus from the grave lives in you, and you would hide yourself - hide your gifts - out of fear of an opinion?

An opinion has only the power you give it.  Give it none.  No power.  Rest and rely on the counsel of those trusted few and let the thoughts of others be what they are - fleeting, and without affect.

The whisper of your accuser will say you are being humble.  But the truth is you are cowering in fear.

The whisper of your accuser will say sharing means attention-seeking, sharing is prideful, sharing is vain.  The truth is, cowering is prideful, cowering is vain, cowering is carelessly disregarding the people who need what you refuse to share.

Share it. Detach from the outcome because it does not rest on you - you are not in the business of outcomes, you are in the business of coming out from your cowering crouch.  You are in the business of coming out from behind the false walls which gave you the illusion of protection.  You are in the business of full surrender, of fearlessness.  You are in the Kingdom business.  You are about the Father's work.

Do not cower.