While going through Freeway, I heard Mike Foster tell the story of when, as a little boy, he used to collect caterpillars – as many of us did when we were children – and would place them in a jar and watch them weave a cocoon around themselves and then delight in their transformation from blah caterpillar to gorgeous butterfly.
And he pointed out that when he let the butterfly go, they always flew away.
Not once did they return to the confines of the jar. Not once did they beg to go back to being a caterpillar.
His point to us was that once we taste freedom – emotional, relational and spiritual freedom – we should be always moving forward. It is for freedom that Christ set us free, after all. (Galatians 5:1)
And yet, of course, there are those of us who go back and forth between freedom and slavery/unhealthy/dysfunction because it can be hard to break old habits. I get that. I’ve done that. I’m still occasionally doing that.
But here’s the thing. It occurred to me that in some areas of my life…I don’t know what the jar is and what freedom in Christ is.
When all you’ve known is the jar, like for longer than you were in your cocoon…longer than you were supposed to be jarred up…and the jar masqueraded as home…and it had creature comforts…and you were living under the illusion that your jar was actually your freedom…then what?
I am living a life between unhealth and wholeness. I am light years from where I was even a year or two ago, emotionally and relationally. I barely recognize who I was then and who I am now. And yet, I can tell by some of my knee-jerk emotional and physical reactions to things that I have not yet arrived at what I would call a whole and healed human being.
There are a few people in my life that I have chosen to stop speaking to. They are no longer in my life. This is sad. And it feels equally un-Christian/not-Jesus-y/non-turning-the-other-cheek of me and equally healthy boundary/getting stronger/knowing myself well of me.
In some areas of my life, I’m in and out of the jar, flying back and forth, not knowing which is the jar and which is freedom. And it’s confusing. And it’s not black and white. And someone could give me a Scripture and a psychological principal to back up either way I go.
So here’s what I know and have to hold onto: Christ has set me free and mysteriously is constantly in the process of setting me free.
I am totally and completely free in Christ.
And yet I am not totally and completely free relationally and emotionally. Though I am free-r than I ever have been.
And today, free-r is enough.