How do we experience freedom? I silently ask this question every day, hourly for my clients, and probably 10x per day for myself.
I guess it's not a question that I ask with words as it's a deep gut longing, inside my stomach somewhere. It's a desire that's too deep for words.
Ruth Haley Barton talks about longing and desire as a starting point to developing our prayer lives and spiritual transformation.
When was the last time you felt it--your own longing, that is? Your longing for love, your longing for God, your longing to live your life as it is meant to be lived in God? When was the last time you felt a longing for healing and fundamental change groaning within you?
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation, Ruth Haley Barton. Pg. 22
Later in this chapter, this exercise is introduced: picture that you're in a bible story like Mark 10:46-52, and Jesus is walking by you in a crowd and you cry out for His attention (Pg 28):
Imagine that in response to your cry, Jesus turns to you. Now you are face to face with one another. Allow yourself the full realization that you have Jesus' complete attention (because you do!) and hear His question address to you:
"What do you want me to do for you?"
What kind of question is that?!? The answer is too big and scary.
This morning, I was listing all of the things in my day that made me feel anxious or sad, and chewing on Ruth's perspective on longing and desire. My answer, today anyway, is FREEDOM.
FREEDOM from thoughts that take over my brain and keep me in anger, resentfulness, or anxiety.
FREEDOM from problems in my relationships that I can't change.
FREEDOM from behaviors that I want to change everyday, and I JUST DON'T.
FREEDOM from having so much to do that I can't concentrate.
FREEDOM from fear and worry about the future. And that I might fail.
FREEDOM from shame when I've failed already.
That's what I'm longing for. Today, anyway.