I spent too much time just standing. Watching. Waiting. Worrying. Somehow a wasp had gotten into my bedroom. I opened the window screens. It hovered around the fan. Circling. Circling again. It bounced from one corner of the ceiling to another. My hopes bobbed up and down with it. Finally – the wasp landed on the window shade hanging above the gaping space! It only had to creep a little bit lower. Just a little further down. And it would be free!
It didn’t figure it out. The wasp continued to hover and circle and bounce and cling. I closed the screens and bid the captive goodbye assuming it would finagle an escape somehow. Or die.
I remembered a summer afternoon at my home in North Carolina. A hummingbird had flown into the garage because the door was up. I opened the screens. I spent too much time just standing. Watching. Waiting. Worrying. The little beauty expended enormous amounts of energy hovering around the ceiling. It baffled me that it couldn’t figure out how to exit through the wide-open space readily available. Freedom could be had! A quick turn northward and it would have been on its way! It wearied. I worried all the more. It plummeted to the floor. Placing a small dish of sugar water nearby was the best I could do. The tiny bird drank. And then flew straight out the gaping space!
Are we sometimes like creatures expending enormous amounts of energy unnecessarily? Trying so hard. Working too frantically. Contending with feeling inadequate. Attempting to overcompensate. Striving to produce what we most desire and need… freedom. But it’s not up to us. Nope, not our job. Only God can gift us with true freedom!
We are always and in every way free to be the person God creates us to be. Free to love as we are led in love. Everywhere and at all times free to fail and learn and grow and keep going. But we seem to want it to be more difficult. Yet here are the biggies: sin doesn’t bind us; death won’t hold us. And God isn’t interested in being impressed by us. God is delighted with our love. And love freely given. Not coerced. The beautiful kind of love that flows from God.
Last Sunday in worship we considered some experiences from which we’d like relief. Like the heat. Or taxes. And passing a test. Yes, that’s it! We sometimes strive so because we fear God is assessing us. Holding up a measuring stick we can’t see. But we think it’s real. And we worry we’ll blow it. Fail the test. Not measure up. Friends, we’re free from that too. And the relief of trusting this truth opens up large spaces to be filled with love. Just love. All love. Flowing freely. Like a healing breeze through an open window! “Don’t be anxious about anything; rather bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.” (Philippians 4:6)