Years ago, I took a last minute trip to Iraq. It was two weeks away from my two year-old and it was traveling to a country perceived as dangerous, which made the trip selfish in the eyes of some.
In hindsight, it is easy to see God’s hand in the entire process, but in the middle, as I prepared to leave, I worried whether I was doing the right thing and acting with the right motives.
I wanted to go. I wanted it badly.
I wanted to travel back to the country I last saw as a soldier. I wanted to be a part of something positive there. I wanted to meet the people under different circumstances. I also wanted adventure. I wanted to get on an airplane and do something exciting. I wanted to do this thing – go to this place.
I told a friend what I was feeling, how I was scared this was a selfish act, a selfish decision. He responded, “How many people do you know who ‘want’ to do this?”
And something clicked for me. A big something.
A life-giving, freedom-giving something.
Wanting to do a thing, wanting to be a thing, wanting to go to a place – these do not poison an action. They are a part of every poisonous action, which is why I was confused, but wanting is not the poison.
If I am walking with God, abiding in Him, listening to the Holy Spirit – if I am ready and willing to stop when He says to stop, to go when He says to go, to stay when He says to stay – I don’t need to be afraid of my own desires.
If I am seeing Him for who He is, if I am daily giving my life to Him, I don’t need to stress, to strive, to stumble over every decision.
For six years, I have been doing more and more of what I want to do. Mostly, I avoid doing things because I think I should. Mostly, I avoid doing things because other people think I should.
I do what makes sense based on my circumstances, my strengths, my weaknesses. I walk closely with my God, so that my desires align with Him and I do the things I want to do.
I am a servant, but I am a servant to a freedom-giving God. I’m not a slave to my own expectations, nor a slave to the expectations of others. I’m not a slave to God’s expectations either – I could never meet them, they’ve already been met for me, and there is new grace and mercy for me every single day.
And for you, too.
You are free. Are you living free?