Saturday, May 24, 2008

Learning to Walk In Freedom

I learned how to walk this week.

I now have a greater respect for the huge developmental stage toddlers must conquer.

It was seven weeks to the day from the time I completely rotated my ankle, snapping two leg bones and two ligaments, to the time I was able to walk, albeit haltingly and jerkily, without any support from crutches. How opposite were these two experiences in after-school athletics! But in these seven weeks, I've had much time to think. Paul's admonition about the body of Christ in I Corinthians has a lot more meaning now. And my understanding and appreciation of God as Creator and Healer has increased greatly.

When I first discovered that I could put weight on my leg and move it without supporting myself with crutches, I was ecstatic. Seriously, I don't remember being that happy in a long time. I was not most excited that I could use my leg again, but that my hands were free. My hands were no longer required to support my weight on sticks to balance and to propel my movement. I could use my hands again!

For the better part of two days, my movement didn't really resemble walking as one would normally think of it. It was a lot more like briefly putting pressure on my bad leg, swinging my good leg out in front, and jerking the rest of my body to catch up with my good leg. Added to this was the boot protecting my bad leg, which was a good deal longer than my foot and quite a bit heavier than what I was used to with the cast. Loving and accurate words used to describe this condition included "jerky," "klutz," and "freak." However, I couldn't care less what I looked like. I could walk and use my hands!

During this process, I thought of the concept GK Chesterton explains in his book Orthodoxy.
The heart must be fixed on the right thing: the moment we have a fixed heart we have a free hand.

Meaning, if we have a fixed heart, if God has control of my life, if I know I belong to Him and I have no life outside of Him, then I have a free hand. I can do whatever I will (remembering, however, that though all things are permissible, not all are beneficial). I am no longer bound to the Law. My hand is free; it does not need to worry about the expectations or judgments or approval of any except Him on Whom my heart is fixed.

In order to have a free hand, I must change my walk. To have a free hand, I must lose the crutches that kept me tied to a specific pattern of thought and motion. To have a free hand, I must recklessly abandon the path of this world and change my walk to follow and be with Jesus Christ.

At first, walking, any movement, is a chore. Will power, as much as muscle, jerks my body forward. Yet as I continue walking with Christ, I gain strength. I regain muscle and use of ligaments and achieve greater mobility. I learn to walk better, with more efficiency, so that to walk is not such a burden. Walking becomes a smoother process. It becomes an even greater joy.

Side note: To me, having a 'smoother walk' does not mean less struggle or fewer problems. It means that I am more able to follow Jesus and seek Him. The strength I have gained through walking with Him thus far gives me confidence for what is to come. I don't know what the situation will be, or how things will turn out, but I have complete trust in the character of my God as I walk with Him through the struggle.

May I fix my heart that my hand may be free and my walk may be closer to that of Jesus.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Life in my Bubble

I was sitting here mad and frustrated until God used this tiny prick called conviction to pop my bubble. (I know the bubble thing is kind of cliche around here, but I think it captures the heart of what I'm getting at pretty well.)

Round these here parts, football is pretty durn big. It's a Texas thing. Annual rivalries are pretty fierce. This year was going to be my first year to participate in an annual game and I've been looking forward to this for about exaggeration. Then I broke my leg. So for The Game, I was sidelined on crutches. I yelled, cheered, stood and followed the play the whole game, and got mad and frustrated when we lost a close game. I wasn't mad so much that we lost because we didn't execute when we should have; there are consequences for not practicing. But what really ticked me off is that the other team had promised that they would play dirty even as we said we wouldn't. In the days leading up to the game, they alternately trashed us and blamed us for being too intense - ruining the fun of the game. We didn't play perfect, but we did not intentionally rip shirts and grab throats in the name of flag football.

So I'm sitting here going, "God, I'm really not mad about the score; I'm mad about the injustice of them not playing right and bragging about it." I sat still for a minute, then the conviction muscled its way through my self-absorption and anger.


Yeah, they could have played a cleaner game and been better sports about the whole thing. Yeah, they messed up. But if I'm getting mad about the injustice of a single football game, my priorities and convictions are way out of whack.

Injustice? Slavery is injustice. Robbing the widowed and orphaned is injustice. The sex trade is injustice. Little kids forced to make firecrackers at the risk of getting blown up just so they can eat scraps is injustice. Abortion is injustice. Sharia law is injustice. Starvation of third world countries is injustice. Football? Not so much.

Sometimes I feel I'm drowning in my own shallowness.

God, transform my mind. Give me eyes to see and a heart to feel the things you do. Give me passion for the things that really matter.