I Thought I Was Free, But I Wasn’t

When I was a younger woman, around eighteen or so, I used to feel so confident about my life that I thought I could do anything and destiny would always pull me toward a happy ending. It would all work out. I had no sense of precaution. I was naive, curious, and rebellious–a bad combination.

And yet, here I am–wife of a wonderful man, mother to five beautiful children, with a new child growing in my womb–and I sometimes catch myself nostalgic about those “freer days.” Those irresponsible days. But was I really more free than I am now?

As I pondered this the other day, I realized that even though I thought I was free at eighteen, I was actually confined.

  • I was naive. I didn’t understand the world, I didn’t understand other people and, especially important, I didn’t understand myself. I didn’t know why I did the things I did–I just reacted. My emotions governed my actions, and not my mind (and certainly not the Holy Spirit!).
  • I was curious. This can be a good thing, when counteracted by a due sense of caution. Yet, I was curious to find out about things that were off limits, and I didn’t know how to put on the brakes. I didn’t recognize the warning signs of this is getting too far, you’d better stop now while it’s not too late.
  • I was rebellious. At the time, I didn’t understand what I was rebelling against. I just knew that I was unhappy, and stubbornly insisted on doing whatever made me happy. I foolishly thought I knew better than my parents.

The immature young woman that I was, was NOT free. I was confined by my own inexperience and unwillingness to listen to others who did have experience. I thought I had the whole world before me, and that happiness would inevitably be the outcome of whatever path that I chose. I didn’t have the vision to see where all my bad choices were taking me, and therefore did nothing to change course.

I was imprisoned, and didn’t know it.

Now, a little older and more experienced, I understand more about the way things are. I know not to indulge my curiosity in dangerous pursuits. I realize that to submit to God’s wisdom, as revealed in His word, brings life and true happiness. I know to listen to the advice of others that I respect; and even though I don’t always have to take it, I at least give their advice thoughtful consideration.

And I have the freedom to choose to live my life the right way. Not only do I now know more than I did what the right way is, I know I can count on God to be there for me when I follow through with doing what I should. I have seen firsthand how God guides, and how He provides, and how He comforts. When I live my life by faith in Him, I am freed from having to worry about the outcome; after all, He is in control of the results, all I have to do is obey. That is freeing.

What I am now is not “imprisoned”–having responsibilities is not the same as being imprisoned.  But what I was before, now that was imprisonment: my own foolishness led me into Satan’s traps, and I was held captive, for awhile, to do his will–held captive not only by the enemy of my soul, but by my own sin. Now, I have been set free by God to do His will, and there is nothing more exciting and beautiful!

–Jessica

 

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12 thoughts on “I Thought I Was Free, But I Wasn’t

  1. Memories of old days! They tell us where we were and where we are.To know God and obey Him does not mean ‘imprisoned.’ It’s liberation.

    When I was 16, I wondered if I can live untill 20.I was afraid of that I would kill myself or lose sanity beaten by depression. But I met Jesus after-And now I’m alive!

    Glory to our God who took you to this place.I felt your happiness reading this article.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Sanae,
    Thank you for sharing with me your own memories of the past. I’m so glad that Jesus brought you through those tough times! I certainly feel the same way you do, that remembering the past shows us where we used to be, and where we are now. Thank God He held us through those experiences, and brought us out into a clear and open place!
    Jessica

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  3. Dear Jessica,
    I am so grateful that you took time to write your Faith Journey (=one of my most favorite parts of your blog!! In fact, reading your Faith Journey Segment I and II, made me decide to contact with you personally. Our friendship has blossomed since then.)

    Your sharing reminds me of the life of Suzanna Wesley, a mother of the two great evangelists and hymn writers in the 18th century–John&Charles Wesley.

    A mother of 10 (or more children), she was indeed a “confined” woman. I read that she rarely could find time to go to prayer closet for devotion and prayers because of house chores and busy motherhood. So she told her children that when she put her apron on her face, that indicated that she was praying, and so, children were expected not to disturb her during this time.

    I read John Wesley wrote: “I’ve learned all the essence of Christianity from my mother, Suzanna.”

    You are now incubating and fostering future men and women of God, Jessica.

    And I believe that one day, one of your children would recall that he/she has learned the very essence of Christianity from Mom.

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    • Thank you so much for these much-needed words of encouragement, Kinuko!
      When I see the floor covered with toys once again after we just cleaned up thirty minutes ago; or when I hear the children arguing again; or when I realize that the bathroom smells yucky because my youngest children haven’t yet mastered going to the potty; or when I look at all the dishes that need to be washed, or all the clothes to be cleaned–yes, I do feel confined, sometimes. It helps to be reminded that there is more to what I am doing than cleaning up messes and breaking up arguments. If I didn’t have a vision for what motherhood really means, if I didn’t have purpose, I wouldn’t be able to meet the demands of every day. But I keep telling myself, like you so kindly reminded me, that I am “incubating and fostering future men and women of God.” True liberty is found in my attitude toward life, not in my circumstances–I am only confined when I think I am.
      Thank you so much for your words of inspiration! I appreciate what you shared about Suzanna Wesley. What an amazing woman! I surely do hope that one day my children will recognize all that I am doing for them!
      Jessica

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kinuko,
      I loved that story about Suzanna Wesley! Did you find that in a particular book? Maybe I could find it in our local library. I enjoy reading encouraging books especially about mothers who were faithful to God. Maybe I can get some helpful hints:-) -Ruthie

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent thoughts, Jessica! Thankyou for sharing so much of yourself with us. This is a great reminder for young and old alike. I know I still have days like this where I wish I could fly like a bird from my responsibilities. I think I’m trapped by them, but really, it’s only my attitudes. That’s what needs changing for me, and only God can help me with that. He has placed my husband right there too, to help me because my time management skills are not the best :-). Something I just started doing within the last year or so which has helped me, is committing my day to the Lord each morning. I would become so aggravated with changes that would creep in to my daily schedule that it would throw my whole day off kilter. Committing my day has reminded me that nothing that’s happening in my life is taking God by surprise. He is allowing that circumstance to further mold me for His purposes.
    I know I probably took a slightly different perspective, so I apologize for that. You share so freely, and it makes me feel very comfortable to do the same. 🙂
    Take care,
    Ruthie

    Liked by 1 person

    • <Something I just started doing within the last year or so which has helped me, is committing my day to the Lord each morning.

      Dear Ruthie, this is wonderful. Could you write down this prayer (=morning prayer for commitment) to us? I want to pray this prayer, too. Thank you! Kinuko

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      • Sure, Kinuko. It’s goes something along these lines.
        Dear Lord and Heavenly Father, Thankyou for this day and for what You will allow to bring my way today. I know that You are in control, and that You know what I can handle. I commit my day toYou, Lord Jesus, and please help me to bring honor and glory to You in all I say and do. In Jesus name, Amen.
        My grandfather used to start his day with, “This is the day that the Lord hath made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” He had a very joyful spirit 🙂
        You can start your day with that song of thankfulness, too, if you’d like 🙂
        Love, Ruthie

        Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Ruthie,
      What you have shared about your life has really been helpful to me! Thank you!
      I struggle with the same issues. I start out with a plan for my day, and then something(s) happens that messes up the plan. Oh, wait a minute–did I say “my” day? Oh no, I did! Like you implied, the day isn’t really mine, it’s God’s, and nothing happens that takes Him by surprise. He can use everything that happens for my, and our, good. Wow, thank you for reminding me of that; I really needed it! I like that idea of committing each day to God. The happenings of the day may feel out of control to me, but God is still in control. Thank you so much, Ruthie!
      Jessica

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jessica, I can completely relate to what you’re going through. I think the only time my house was ever really clean was when we first moved in to our new house! Most days it looks like a cyclone has hit it, and my kids are all over 12 🙂 What in the world am I doing wrong? Ha, ha!
        There was this one lady when I had little ones that always said, “This too shall pass,” every time I mentioned anything like potty training or up nights with a cranky baby. I do not want to come across like that at all because she really began to get on my nerves. So….if I make you feel that way, let me know, please.
        Hope you had a great day! Ruthie

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, thank you, Ruthie. I am going to write down this prayer and use it from tomorrow morning! I also write your grandfather’s Bible prayer,,because I want to have a joyful spirit like him! Kinuko

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