One thing I love about the Fourth of July is that for an entire weekend, it feels like we’re living in a country music video.
And fun fact: exactly one year ago, I played the “love interest” in an actual country music video 😛
But it’s true: American Flags, beer, fireworks, the outdoors, fireflies, denim shorts and sunburns. All the fixin’s for a bonafide Tim McGraw hit. Minus the key change and crooning southern drawl.
That word, obviously aside from Jesus, is really the foundation of my life.
Because I spent a longgggg time without it.
I don’t have to go into the nitty gritty, but during my anorexia, my thoughts were not my own. My actions, the words I spoke, the fears I was crippled with — I was held captive by my disease.
A prisoner of my own mind, unable to escape from that mental strangulation that resulted in me wasting away – physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
So freedom is not something I take lightly. Or take for granted.
In order to be free, you have to break away. Escape the suppression.
You have to extract yourself from your captive situation.
But the thing about eating disorders is that you cannot do it yourself. Because your mind disorderedly believes that it wants to be in that prison. And even if you vaguely recognize that you “want out,” the execution and follow through is dang near impossible.
Which is why I couldn’t do it by myself.
I needed to be saved.
I needed God to rescue me. And He did.
But you know that.
It is a gift that cost something.
And as a result, it comes with responsibility.
The responsibility to appreciate it.
I think we all, in some form or another, have experienced the magnitude and depth of what freedom actually is.
Maybe you weren’t held captive by anorexia or an eating disorder, but we all can think of things that have held us hostage. Maybe a destructive relationship. Depression. Anger or resentment. Jealousy. Maybe you’ve been plagued with crippling self doubt. Addictions or bad habits – whether it’s substance abuse or excessive online shoe shopping.
There are lots of things that we just can’t break free from alone.
And luckily we don’t have to do it by ourselves.
Freedom, to me, is making peace with my body.
It’s not comparing myself with others.
It’s nourishing my body and taking care of myself.
It’s enjoying time with friends and choosing to say yes to invitations.
It’s forgiving myself of the things in my past and moving forward, believing that I am worth a life of love and peace.
It’s loving God and embracing His love every day.
That’s what freedom looks like to me.
Those are freedoms that I have not always enjoyed, but together with God, they have become a reality.
And it is my responsibility to claim them every day, and appreciate the fact that I am no longer in that dark, desolate place.
I am free.
So this weekend, as we bust out the bottle rockets and roast some s’mores, I’m gonna laugh, because I am free. I can now enjoy time with loved ones and be fully present, no longer plagued with a disordered existence.
Free to live. Free to love. Free to be loved.
How are you free?