Fashioned for Freedom | From an Old Soul
Just because we’re designed for freedom, that doesn’t mean it comes easily or naturally. George MacDonald is thinking about himself and his struggle to be free of his dire darkness, his fear and doubt. He got me thinking about my struggles. My comments follow.
Thou art hampered in thy natural working then
When beings designed on freedom’s holy plan
Will not be free: with thy poor, foolish men,
Thou therefore hast to work just like a man.
But when, tangling thyself in their sore need,
Thou hast to freedom fashioned them indeed,
Then wilt thou grandly move, and godlike speed.
George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul
Augsburg Fortress Press, 1974
I hamper the Master’s ability to free me when I refuse to be free. Yet the Master doesn’t just turn and walk away, leaving me in my distress. I’ve been designed for freedom!
For this to happen, it seems even the Master must get down to work, mucking around in the mess with me. It might be a mess I made, or a mess someone else dumped on me.
In any case I’m in ‘sore need.’ Not just a little bit of need, but dire need, unable to change myself. The Master could just walk on by, refusing to get dirty or entangled with my distress.
Yet before I know what’s happening, the Master is right there with me. By choice, and without foot-dragging or other distractions that waste God’s time or mine.
The Master acts swiftly and grandly on my behalf. Not waving a magic wand and making it all better, but getting tangled in my ‘sore need.’ Getting dirty hands and feet, perhaps weary with my balking yet determined to stay with me on my way toward freedom. One tiny step at a time.
Am I willing to welcome the Master into my muck? Do I really want to be free? Or have I grown so attached to it that I carry it around with me like a shroud? Trusting it and myself more than the Master.
I grew up carrying a weight of responsibility for people over whom I have no formal or even informal responsibility. Sometimes I feel responsible for their choices in life. Or at least responsible for making sure they know the right thing to choose! Which, of course, I know better than you do.
This isn’t freedom. This is bondage to my own entangled self and entanglement with the lives of people I want to change.
Sadly, I do this because it feels right, good and even righteous. But it isn’t. It’s mucking around in other people’s business.
This way of life is unsustainable. When nightmarish situations rear their ugly heads, I can be off and running as though I’m God. Or tell you what God wants you to do.
I’m not God. I’m a human being, designed and fashioned by God for freedom. True freedom. Freedom to choose and to practice as often as needed, with God’s help, what is good and true and right for me in relation to you.
This means I’m free to refuse to get into your muck, one situation at a time. It doesn’t mean I won’t support you. It means I’m counting on God to know what’s best and what needs to happen next, for you and for me. I’m also counting on the Master getting right in there with you and with me. One mess at a time.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 August 2015