There are times in life when I feel freedom. It’s like a passing shower in the heat of the day, like a ray of sunlight revealing a world of opportunity that I desire to experience. It’s hard to explain, but freedom has a feeling. It feels like possibility, strength, ability to suddenly do things you couldn’t or wouldn’t before. Sometimes it comes as a rush of strength, other times it looks like an inexplicable, overwhelming sensation of courage.
For so many years I’ve been much afraid. My feet pain me, with each passing year deforming more and more, as the years toil on, they wear down, bone against bone, painful sharp stabs at un-expecting times, growing bunions, shifting toes, unpleasant, large, flat feet. Limiting me in my choices of shoes, activities, and lifestyle. A long day on my feet can easily force me to hobble as if I’m 40 years older than I am. my prison is not just fear of change, but the belief that I can’t do anything to change my situation. I’ve had x-rays and seen doctors, and made appointments, but to no avail. when it comes to having the surgery I cower. I remain frozen behind fear. Dreaming, locked away from final choices and decisive dates that would move me forward.
I was sitting in church looking at the large bone protruding from my foot, suddenly I felt a strong urgency to make the appointment and get the surgery. I felt the freedom to take action, a burst of hope. In that moment blinders fall like scales from my eyes, and I saw possibility like a person standing before me encouraging me to step forward. it all seemed easy. as I sat there it wasn’t an impossible mountain to climb it was like a fly I could flick away. I began to see my feet as they could be. and I felt eager to do what i have been afraid to do. suddenly I felt like I was able to overcome! And all the heavy burdens melted away like imaginary shackles- “I can do this, I’m free!”
I’m not in prison, freedom is always there, why should I vacillate back and forth, why should I still suffer? How is it that I keep myself in cell, not with walls made of cement and stone, but made of fears and anxieties- mortar made of “what if” steel gates of “why bother” and locked doors labeled, “I can’t”. I have created my own iron bars forged of excuses. Bars keeping me in cold winter, even when spring has blossomed.
spring is often a season of hope, life new possibilities, a new me. The days grow longer, gray fades into the festival of freedom and springtime becomes the color of life; light breaks through every crack revealing something different beyond my walls, something I would like to taste.
Suddenly I find myself wanting to be brave enough to walk away from all the invisible guards, past iron giants into the day and into the blossoming truth of a better world; a world of possibilities, potential and change. a powerful wind enters in , a glimpse of freedom awakens me from my slumber of much fear.
often times I fall back into the fear. Crawl back to my cell the moment I am haunted by “what if …what if …what if…” Doctors are only human, what if I don’t wake up, what if they mess up, what if it’s worse after the surgery, what if it doesn’t work, what if I can’t handle the pain, what if the other people who i need fail me. …all logical reasons, collected from other bunion surgery survivors over the years confirming and building my prison walls of fear. fear keeps me from change. Fear keeps me from taking risks it keeps my feet crooked.
With each passing year they grow. This year my feet look deformed even to me. children at the beach ask me ‘what that thing is on my foot’, family members mention the growing changes, my shoes don’t fit, I’m embarrassed and weary. I feel broken, why wasn’t I be born with cute feet, strong ankles and straight knees? A surgery feels like a million-mile-long journey, an unpredictable path that I’m not sure I can finish. Why hasn’t God just answered my prayers? I used to think I would wake up and poof the bunion demons exercised and in their place a set of dainty beautiful feet with ruby slippers. I’m still waiting.
Men have conquered much bigger mountains than this, and that encourages and empowers me. Maybe God wants me to exercise bravery, seek courage and battle giants. maybe he gave me the bunions so that I could overcome the fear of surgery. After all courage is not something that comes prior to doing hard things, it comes as a result of doing hard things. So do I pray for courage or determination?
“Sometimes”, my friend says, “God just wants us to make a decision, making decisions help us grow.”
Maybe God wants me to step into the light of day-trust him, trust people, move into freedom. If God gave us freedom inside our prisons we would never leave. If God freed Israel while in Egypt, they would still be in Egypt. The biggest chain we wear is the belief that we can’t change, we can’t be different, or do something radical, or choose to be brave. As long as we believe we are not free, we remain bound.
I believe God wants me and you and all his children to walk in the color of springtime, leave winter behind, leave fear, embrace hope and live differently. He wants us to stop making excuses, stop believing we can’t, stop acting like slaves to our fears and remember we are servants of righteousness, victors in Christ. no matter what we struggle with, either we believe God is bigger than our bunions or we don’t. He is either God of everything or God of nothing.
If I die, heavens awaits, if the doctors mess up they can try again. If it’s painful, I can endure. And maybe these glimpses of freedom create the hope of freedom. The hope of freedom becomes the motivation needed to do hard things. Doing hard things leads to good things.
I want to live outside the prison walls I’ve built around myself, but perhaps I need to walk out broken to find healing. I need to be willing to walk through pain until I get my hind’s feet on high places.