Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6 ESV)
Time and time again this summer, I found myself wondering, how would my parents feel about my actions. I remember thinking once after I had accidentally not paid on the metro by slipping through the doors without realizing my card had not scanned, how upset my Dad would be knowing that I had "stolen", regardless of the fact it was just a dollar. And then there was the time I didn't return a phone call from a friend for quite a few days. What would my mother say about not returning a bit of gratitude.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
Now that I am back home, it's much easier to follow my parents "rules". No I am not under their roof, nor do they know my every action, but I feel closer to them, and as such, know that what happens they will eventually find out about.
One Sunday this summer the message at church was on freedom. Freedom from rules, freedom from regulation, freedom from all of the things that hold us back. This summer I had complete freedom. I could do anything I want, go anywhere I would like, and stay out as late as I desired. This was what some viewed as freedom. But I was also hours away from those I cared the most about. I was hours way from my hometown that I love. I was hours way from a lifestyle and an upbringing that means more to me now than ever before. My freedom from rules served as a jail- an ever constant reminder of how "freedom" was in some ways more oppresive than ever before.
I was "free" from those who would serve as my accountability partners. "Free" from the physical presence of people I loved. "Free" from the reminders and examples of how to live a Christ centered life. Yes, I had "freedom".
When my plane landed in Tampa I have never felt more free. Gone were the chains of daily reminders of a lifestyle I hope to never have again. Gone was the lack of Christian example. Gone was the longing for home.
This summer I had freedom, but I also had a family at home who I care for more than anything. I had a Christian example waiting for me, and a reminder of the freedom that Christ's love affords us. Yes, we can have an experience freedom in our lives, but it is the freedom that comes with eternal life that offers a truer reward. Although I was in DC, and miles from my parents, I had their examples and their life lessons which guided me through a summer of freedom.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
While I am not old yet, I know which the path I must go becomes ever clearer, and I am glad for the freedom to chose, the freedom to learn, and ultimately, the freedom for experience God's love.