Today’s blog post is going to be a lot more fun if you participate in a little hands-on experience. Run to your craft supplies and find some old yarn. Pay one of your children or a stranger off the street to run around you in circles with the yarn, trussing you up like a pig on its way to market.
If you pay the stranger off the street, maybe make sure your valuables are hidden safely away and you’ve stored all weaponry out of reach. Don’t blame me if you’re on tonight’s news because this ends badly.
But once you’re all wrapped up like the aforementioned market pig, we are ready to begin.
You are officially entangled. And you did it to yourself (sort of). And it’s terrible, isn’t it?
Yet, most of us live this way, to some degree or another. It’s just that we don’t use obvious yarn to do it. We get wrapped up in debt, in responsibilities, in an overbooked schedule, and expectations. We lose the ability to move and live and breathe freely because we say yes when we should say no and we often don’t think clearly at all. We end up trapped and sometimes we don’t even know how we got that way.
I found a book at the library the other day called Big Magic. It’s an advanced reader copy (ARC) that somehow ended up in our little library from Elizabeth Gilbert (she of Eat Pray Love fame). If you were here at the blog last week you’ll remember my yoga post, and if you know Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing you are now assuming that I’ve gone off to the transcendental loony bin.
And yes, I know the woman is a bit of a kook. I skimmed through the Love portion of Eat Pray Love just like every other Midwesterner, wondering if the woman had lost her dad gummed mind. But she can write. A few dissenting ideas in a book never killed anyone (not even an Evangelical Midwesterner), so I read her work and enjoy it.
In the chapter on Permission, Gilbert takes a sudden turn to the practical– she writes to creative types who wish to grow in their craft and are willing to go to Big Time Schools to do it. Those are fine, she says, but the debt that often comes with those schools is not. She writes:
Going into massive debt in order to become a creator, then, can make a stress and a burden out of something that should only ever have been a joy and a release… Please understand that I am not against higher education by any means; I am merely against crippling indebtedness–particularly for those who wish to live a creative life…Nobody needs debt less than an artist. So try not to fall into that trap. And if you have already fallen into that trap, try to claw your way out of it by any means necessary, as soon as you can. Free yourself so that you can live and create more freely, as you were designed by nature to do. (Big Magic (ARC), page 106)
Not all of us are creative types, but most of us reading here are trying to follow God’s plan for our lives and that often includes creativity. Pastors, missionaries, mothers, teacher, engineers– we all need emotional and spiritual freedom so we can be creative, unencumbered, with God. Maybe we need to dump our debt, lighten up the schedule, or relieve ourselves of some of our overwhelming responsibilities.
Even the book of Hebrews weighs in on this:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (12:1-2a).
So at this very moment, Elizabeth Gilbert and the writer of Hebrews are telling us the same thing: get rid of the tangle. Cut it off, dump it, claw our way out. And then we can move freely into the life we should be living. We can move easily in the race Jesus calls us to run. Do we want to run our race in full snowsuits, with bungee cords wrapped around our legs and arms, clomping in heavy boots? Or do we want to run in some sleek spandex pants, a tank top, and some spiffy running shoes?
The choice is up to us.
My question to you today is this: what would it feel like for you to live freely? What would it feel like to wake up without burdens and strain? What would you have to get rid of to move with grace and ease? I’d love to know.
And if you don’t have someone handy to cut you out of your yarn mess, give me a shout. I’ll be over with the scissors right after dinner.