While watching the movie Rio one night over the summer I was struck with how ironic that little bird is. He's a bird that can't fly! But, he is content in his cage and couldn't believe that the other birds wanted to escape... to get out and fly...to be free!
Blu: You see, who needs flying?
Jewel: Birds! Birds need flying. Flying is... err... freedom, and, and not having to rely on anyone. Don't you want that?
Blu: Hmm, I don't know. Sounds a little lonely.
To him these birds were crazy. Didn't they see how much safer it is inside the cage? You got fed, petted, had a mirror and a little bell, a bed and the room was always a comfortable 86 degrees. What more could you ask for?!
I'm that bird!! well I was once.
John 8:32 " You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free"The truth is our walk with God can become a cage if we let it. Until we step out and let abandon fly in the wind and in the face of what we "think" is right and everyone's opinions of what we should and shouldn't do, we will never experience Jesus' freedom.
A while back I started pulling back from the church and the people in it. Some of it was my fault and some of it was others. I was starting to feel like the church cared more about the way things looked and seemed rather than how they really were.
It felt like a gathering of let's make sure everyone is neat and tidy and our sin is covered up so as to not be a stumbling block to others. But all this does it keeps our sins tightly tucked away and out of view from everyone else and hinders us from being real with those that want it and need it.
It's makes us self righteous and prideful and we give ourselves big pats on the back for our sin management, we're so puffed up on our own pride we start to feel like we have the right to point out others shortcomings who don't so as well a job as us.
But you know what? We secretly are wishing we could not cover up so well. That people could see the real us and like what they saw. We get to a point where we finally get tired of playing pretend.
The turning point might be you are the subject of church gossip, without even realizing what you did, or you have a friend going through some tough life issues like an upcoming divorce and those in the church are gossiping and pointing. Whatever it is, and it may be nothing, just a self awareness, eventually it will happen, you will give up the try hard Christian life, because quite frankly it is HARD.
Never letting anyone but your family see the "real" you and even they comment "Why do you act so nice in front of so and so?" You burn out and slowly pull away from the church, from the people that once fed your spiritual needs.
You stop your quiet time and you even start to pull away from God because you think if this is what it's like to be a Christian, well no thank you. Cause really, those in the church don't act much different from anyone else.
But, my friends that isn't the answer either. One morning you will wake up and you will miss the closeness you once had with God and the connections with those in the church. You will go back to the reasons you turned to God in the first place...your brokenness and neediness for something more in life.
You went to church because you enjoyed the fellowship with other believers, the music, and the preaching left you feeling revived and ready to face the world! When did it all get so complicated?
When did my love and passion become me working so hard to "prove" myself?
And then you will start to pray. Pray for your heart and faith to be renewed, for His truth about what it means to live in freedom and love to become clear to you. And it comes. The vision of love. The vision of what freedom looks like when you drop the mask and start to be real about who you are, for the first time.
Like those other birds from the movie that knew what freedom was like, they had tasted it and experienced it.
In Psalm 34:8 it says "Taste and see that the lord is good.." He tells us to test me, try me...then you will know for yourself that I am a good God.
The fear of other's judgment becomes pity for the cage they have allowed their own walk to be kept in and they do not even realize it. You who dared to taste and see had faith to believe, that God is good, are now FREE.
For the first time you feel free to be used by God because you aren't scared or worried about what others will say or think of your mess, you live to please God now!
"Am I know trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10
Don't worry about being perfect or looking like you have it all together because that's what Jesus is for, to fill in all the gaps of our shortcoming and weaknesses.
What's keeping you from experiencing freedom in Christ? What would it take to get you to take that leap of faith? Christ is ready and waiting.....for YOU!
***Please don't think I'm against the church, I'M NOT, I believe in the church and am blessed to be a part of a really amazing church now, but the church is made up of imperfect people, and sometimes that is easy to forget.. I once put too much faith in the church and it's people instead of the saving redeeming grace of God. This is just part of my faith story.
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