Sometimes we can easily identify what is holding us back or caging us in. You know, the kinds of things that press in on every side, with no chance of escape? Sometimes, though, the cause of our caging is a little more illusive.
You might be thinking of your stressful job or dreadful deadlines or the incorrigible nature of your sister. If you are thinking these things, then you might be surprised at my suggestion that worry is one of worst cages in which we willingly confine ourselves.
In a recent conversation with a good friend, we marveled at how worry can so quickly steal our freedom. When you graduate from high school and then college, worry often imposes a rude rhythm where “the future” looms like a thundercloud. Questions start flying, “what if” scenarios plague your sleep, and the most dreadful start to a conversation begins with the words, “So, what are your plans... for the future?”
Worry is an uncomfortable and crafty little cage, but there is a way out. Yes, there absolutely is a way out.
The lovely and liberating “flip side” lies in one very familiar word: faith. You may well have memorized the definition from Hebrews 11, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things yet unseen.”
What do your assurance and convictions have to do with worry?
Well, actually, a whole lot.
If you truly believe nothing happens outside God’s control, then you can live the way God intended - with confidence that the God who holds all things together will hold you together, too. You can greet the day with a joyful bounce in your step because you have faith in the Creator of the universe and He is always faithful.
As my friend and I reveled in the possibilities of this faith-freedom connection, I pictured a young girl climbing up a tree (in oversized dress-up clothes) to enter the imaginary world of Gumdrop-larkenwood, where she would conspire with her closest friend and warrior-king. Why did this strange scene interrupt the near-intellectual banter? Because this young girl is not caged by worries over provision. She is completely free to wander about enjoying every minute because she (whether she knows it or not) has faith that she will be provided for. It's a simple, child-like faith and sometimes it doesn't make sense. But, oh the sweet freedom!
Maybe the “sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12) in your life today is worry. Maybe you are locked up in worry over your family or your future plans or your incorrigible sister. If these words find you huddled in the corner of the uncomfortable cage of worry, remember who is in charge.
Your faith will be your freedom!
A slightly different version of this appeared in our guidance newsletter this month.