Recently I was driving down the interstate and saw a truck carrying poultry. Open-air rows were stacked to the brim with wire cages. My curly-haired dog, Willow, and I were heading west from Nashville, and she was eagerly pacing across the back seat from window to window. She eyed the birds and sniffed at the glass but didn’t pay much attention. Our destination was a friend’s farm for an afternoon hike, and Willow’s mind was on freer spaces.
Some days, I feel like one of those birds on the poultry truck, barreling down the highway atop some noisy eighteen-wheeler. I pondered this as we pulled off at our exit. Minutes later, parked out by the field, I opened the car door to let Willow joyfully launch her short legs outside. She sprang, nose to the ground, tearing around the green grass in great, circular victory laps. Our dogs don’t complain at home about our postage-stamp-size city yard, but the thrill was evident as this pup was unleashed for a few hours of bliss. I think we were both made for the open fields.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free,” Paul reminded the Galatians (5:13).
I need Paul’s reminders. I feel a disconnect between the true, spiritual reality of my freedom in Christ and the ups and downs of how I experience it. It’s as if I keep climbing back into a cage like a lame bird on a poultry truck, back into the same old confining circumstances again.
It’s not that I mean to willingly climb back into frustration. Some days I wake up and I’m not sure how I got there. Sometimes I find myself there when I’m sad or confused or stretched beyond my limitations. And sometimes I’m just stubborn and choose the old ways.
But we are not ...1
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