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.

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