I plonk myself on the couch with a simultaneous exhale. Sinking into the soft haven of the couch, I rest my eyes for a few minutes and enjoy the sound of silence.
No kids bustling about the house, no TV blaring, no pinging messages on my phone, or whirring of the machine machine, just a feint ticking of big teal clock hanging faithfully on the wall and set ten minutes fast in a last and often unsuccessful attempt to keep me on time and ahead of the rush.
But not today.
Today I blissfully enjoy quiet retreat, basking in soulful peace, melting into the couch as if it were warm chocolate. My mind responds in harmony, “How incredibly lovely ...and how totally bizarre!
A few years ago even a thought of this this scenario would have freaked me out. Home alone, anxious, struggling with heart palpitations and riddled with fear.
But no longer. What was once terrifying is now a haven of peace. The road to get here was long and rough, but so worth it. I’d lived too long in slavery to fear.
Freedom from personal oppression has so many layers, but always involves facing fear head on, by learning to trust God, and allowing yourself to feel the fear and do it it anyway. Without this we stay trapped.
Recently, on afternoon school run, I decided to do a very naughty thing and made a diversion to a drive through. It was a masterful attempt to treat the kids with some fries and a thick shake in order to tame the after school hangry. (Hungry-Angry)
We parked behind the restaurant and overlooked the lake. The boys leapt out of the car like a pair of leprechauns and sat on the grass, but my girl stayed safely tucked in the car, away from the seagulls. Birds are not her favourite.
Before long, the boys were generously sharing their fries with the seagulls, and the hungry birds began gathering quickly, harking incessantly and hustling for prime position for a golden fry. A few of them bold enough to swoop low and steal a chip from their hands.
But one in particular was not.
He held back, scurrying forward from time to time, and then retreating timidly. Some frayed nylon string had weaved it’s way through a hollow plastic golf ball, and also round its skinny orange leg, and he was trapped.
I began to strategise how to convince the poor bird to trust me, at least to let me near enough so that I could set him free. At first I tried diverting the other birds with decoy chips, throwing them far away and then quickly throwing another to the trapped gull.
After about 10 minutes, I had the bird within a metre. Freedom was so close! All he needed to do was edge a little closer so I could reach -only I was running out of chips.
I beaconed the boys to get me a towel, while I held a chip out as far as my knees, that way I could cover him in the towel and gently pick him up for release. One last attempt…edging forward so close …and then off he flew! too afraid and missing his opportunity for freedom.
Fear is just like that.
It works us into a tangled fray and holds us back, keeping us trapped and afraid. Never letting us rest and we begin losing hope. We avoid anything too confronting instead of facing the fear and trusting God, when freedom is literally that one step away.
We allow the lie of fear, to be louder than the truth of freedom.
“Ping!” A message appears on my phone, it’s my husband “Are you home yet?”
“Yes” I reply.
As, I reflect on how far I’ve come, and how much I enjoy those moments of peace that I had never thought possible.
I promise you they are.
Be brave enough to go for the chips and take your freedom boldly, even if it means feeling afraid. The fear fades and hope gets louder. Then one day soon, you’ll find yourself basking in peace and living your purpose in freedom…perhaps even melting into a chocolate couch and writing a blog to help the next person up.
"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.