It was a graveside memorial service for a young girl in our church community. She was born with a terminal illness; her short life was marked by both love and pain. A year after her death, I stood with family and friends to release dozens of colorful balloons into the air. The balloons were a vivid reminder that her soul was set free from her body.
That moment was a powerful reminder to me of what true freedom is about. It was only in death that Emma's soul was set free. And it is often only in our own death—to ourselves, to our plans, to our own control—that we experience the freedom and amazing life God offers us.
Join me as we take what we've learned in this issue and make it personal. Freedom is waiting. Are you willing to do the work to be set free?
Step #1: Freedom Check
How free are you? In her article, "The Struggle of Having a To-Do List," Ashley Gray writes, "I draw up a list of things that will measure my worth, and the more I strive to define myself according to this list, the harder it becomes to hear better words, to see what is really life-giving, not just life-occupying."
What do you find "life-giving"? What do you do that's "life-occupying"? How does yes and no in your life relate to your desire for approval, your fear, or your pride? Take a mental inventory of what governs your daily choices—big and small. At the end of the day, ask God for wisdom about the choices you're making, either "life-occupying" or "life-giving."1