Literary doodle pad

Escape

Yes please.

We could all do with a bit more of these in our lives, but I’d like to query whether freedom to experience these can be found in a freedom from the hardships of life. You see all the time I am becoming more convinced that freedom is not really found in escaping from something, but freedom is at it’s most liberating when found IN THE MIDST of something.

I’ve not been bullied for a long time, but I want to use bullying as a example to illustrate what I mean. I (as I’m sure is the case for almost everyone) was on the receiving end of a pretty sizable amount of bullying when I was little (littler than I am now, for those of you who still think of me as little ;] ). So I was taken out of  ‘Ysgol Feithryn’ (Welsh for Nursery School) for a while to avoid one bully, primary school brought with it a whole host of bullies (not without the mercy of some happy friendships too) and the first part of secondary school was the climax of emotional torture (seriously what happens to girls at that age to make them so ruthless?), but you know no TACTICS, punishment, or retaliation, no amount of escaping the bullies had any huge effect on my liberation from hurt. I found a much more penetrative kind of freedom than that though. Man, it took a while, and hey, it’s not like people’s words or actions can never wound me anymore, but the core joy that I have is not easily shattered. The change had to be in me. My perception of myself, the bullies, the situation is what had to change, and though difficult, it was such a BLISSFUL transformation. (I do think though that Bullying is absolutely wrong, and should be punished etc, and there are helpful things that can be done, but for the sake of a more permanent and deep liberation then other stuff has to happen too)

Sometimes I wish I could go back and talk to my tiny self and explain that what other people say about me doesn’t change the truth about who I am. That something being the ‘norm’ doesn’t mean it’s the best, in fact, so often the norm is far from ideal, that being certain of the truth and living it regardless of what goes on around you is so fulfilling, that *living with love and integrity may seem costly when it’s counter cultural or you are misunderstood or taken for granted, but in time it brings such rich rewards, oh and so much more stuff that I can’t even put into words. But I guess that I was told a lot of that, and that you just have to live through some journeys to learn some truths.

*I threw of the shackles of living to please others. (And ironically it was around then that all the bullying stopped, although maybe it stopped as a result of that, or maybe it didn’t stop but I just didn’t notice?) But I want to throw in some clarification clauses here; Firstly, ‘not living to please others’ doesn’t mean not being loving or kind to others (which may please them sometimes) but it means that you love and show kindness regardless of the reception or acknowledgement that you may or may not get, *that the joy is in the giving, not in the recognition, and that way, wonderfully, your heart does not get tossed about on the storm of fickleness of human behaviour, because none of your identity rests on whether a person accepts you or not (and every time you develop friendships etc. as a result it’s an added glorious bonus). Secondly, just because you are not living to please others, that you will not find deep liberation in living purely to please yourself either. Now this is the bit that sound pretty extreme, but it’s true, and it’s wonderful, awesome, lovely and challenging: I live to love God. The whole purpose of my life is to Love my heavenly *Daddy. That is the umbrella over the massive complex of my actions and beliefs, next comes *loving other people, thats one (important) way of expressing my love to God you see, because He MASSIVELY LOVES each and every person, so every time I show love so someone, that’s part of His plan, He loves it. Loving people can happen in heaps of different ways, but I won’t go into detail about that now (though a few of my previous blogs have summed up what I understand Love to look like day to day).

It’s absolutely the best thing in the world, as well as the hardest thing. Every day I delight in God and He delights in me. Every day I aim to Love as best I can. Every day I mess up. *Every day I come back to the forgiveness that Jesus bought me on the cross, and know that despite my failings, God and I are best friends.

So at the end of the day guys, it’s the *truth that sets you free. Now the truth is always true whether you know it or not, so I guess the important past is knowing it. Do you know what the truth is? If you know it in your head and in your heart, I’m telling you, nothing will shake your freedom, you won’t need to escape anymore, you’ll be liberated IN your situation.

        Aber sunset         

*Colossians 3:23-25  

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

*Hebrews 6:10-11 

10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

    11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.

*Acts 20:35 

35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

* I John 3

1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 

*Ephesians 2 

His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household

*1 John 4

10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

*John 8:31-32

 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

1 Peter 1:22

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

xx

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Comments on: "Escape" (6)

  1. Having read your blog, as usual, I feel as if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, and can’t make an immediate response. But the business of life means that I don’t always digest each thing, each morsel. I don’t live enough to reflect and mull over the important things.
    However, there is plenty of challenge in what you say. I had a quick flash back about when you were taken out of Ysgol Feithrin. It made me feel a sense of freedom that I could do that and keep you at home to be loved and cared for. In doing that, a 2 and a half year old was protected. You were too little surely, to come to terms with bullying, and would have just been damaged, no? I know that isn’t the point you’re making. Just checking that in that case you think that being taken out was best given all the other (1) alternative!!
    And now for the really hard stuff.
    I’m being challenged to love despite feeling that at the moment we’re being taken advantage of and it seems like love isn’t currency in this situation. The truth says love is always currency; hahaha, *legal tender*! 😛 I do it anyway, as much as possible and chasten myself, when I catch myself cutting corners, in a defensive, self justification attitude. How I twist my spiritual neck, trying to look objectively at myself as if from another’s viewpoint, and criticize myself for being so naive and trusting, and hopeful. Surely I knew this would happen. I’ve been alive for long enough for experience to have told me to be otherwise. So do I live and love or live and learn?…I am thinking aloud here. I want to give in ways that I choose, where I think it will do the most deserved good….because that looks more satisfying and liberating from beforehand. Are we to give in the most pointless and unappreciated ways instead, like Jesus did? It is true. But I still haven’t felt liberated by that.
    What about your experience with Santander, a wildly extreme example, I know. They took and you had to give; by some built in trap they had the power to do that. That isn’t liberating for you is it?
    But you feel the liberation of God’s abiding truth and love through it all, yes?
    That is the truth that cannot be stolen. The peace that is not troubled by any circumstance…am I getting there?
    I think this is the point that Canon Andrew White comes back to often in his books. When they have lost everything, they still have the love of each other, (those of them who have survived the kidnappings, bombs and crossfire) and the love of Jesus…and they all have that whether they were got by a bomb or not. so they know that all they need is Jesus. In knowing that they have discovered perfect freedom.
    I agree. I still get so tired of struggle.
    I am so flawed.
    If you were capable of disappointment in a mere human…OK I’m being a bit tongue in cheek, do you relate to this? Don’t lower your sights or anything, but am I alone here? I seek to have freedom and fellowship with God. I trust him. I feel sad and tired a lot. I push on as if to just get to the point when I won’t have to be outside my comfort zone forever. I treasure the good times, and am grateful that I have many of those too. I try to keep life’s troubles bite sized…today has enough worries, so don’t worry about tomorrow etc. I am not a spiritual giant, don’t aspire to be and don’t care if nobody is impressed with me, feel uncomfortable with suggestions that I am anything special, unless that is relational. (ie, I am special to Moyra and she is special to me, because we are friends.)
    Reading this, and I finally come to the point here, perhaps, do I come across as if have I missed the point about liberation, as a blind mouse scurrying around in a maze, or does the sense of circumstantial powerlessness and being abandoned both to that and God mean that I have the liberty you talk of? I should know the answer, if I have liberty. Well I do. My soul is free. My body is a bit of a ragged old tent on a flooding campsite! Haha
    So errr, ummmm, I just don’t come across as passionate as you about it all. Perhaps that is the nub of it?

    • I think that at 2 and a half, yes, I would be too young to figure stuff out, and I’m glad you took me out of ysgol feithrin, I think it is very hard to give truly of yourself in situations where your vulnerability and generosity will be trampled or taken for granted, I really don’t know what you can do long term in such situations… it’s difficult. Obviously yeah, you have that freedom in knowing that you cannot really be trampled when you are an heir with Christ, but how do you keep on in that situation I don’t know? Oh I miss you and love you and You are wonderful. :] xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Hi Catie –

    What it sounds like you did, was to eliminate all the expectations you had for your self and for other people. That’s where that uplifting feeling and sense of relief comes into play. When you’re expected to be nice, sweet, kind, loving…what ever it is…you’re doing it out of meeting an expectation.

    In other words, like being forced by your self or others to act or perform in a certain way. Take away those expectations and you act in a way that’s more natural and free. Good post. 🙂

    • Hmm, yeah I mean i guess I do still have expectations, but they don’t form the foundations of my happiness or the foundations of my ability to love someone, that way, when they are shaken or thrown aside, other things don’t come tumbling down as well. :] Thanks.

  3. I remember bullying as a kid. Sometimes it was a crowd, and overwhelming. Often I fought back, but when it was a crowd of them, I had to keep my head down and try to get home from school. It made me angry, resentful, at their idiocy and the simple-mindedness of followers. But just realizing I saw this, that it was their flaw and evil desire being satisfied, always seemed to reaffirm an inner strength. It was not a religious-learned feeling, but a very natural feeling, to know the endless space of life within you. Those others cannot take that.

    Seems your confidence, the release of ideas of being nice to impress others, probably was what caused bullies to become bored or disinterested in harrassing you anymore. You lost that ‘victim’ essence they seek like guided-missiles! Good for you!

    And focusing on those good friendships makes it all bearable, doesnt it? Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Yeah I really know what you mean about simple minded following of bullying…. Interestingly, someone who was like that to one of my housemates when they were much younger just emailed her out of the blue today saying sorry for not standing apart from the bullies and for just going along with it…

      Yeah friendships are wonderful, and family, more precious than anything people can steal away from you. :] xx

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