Scripture Reading: Romans 14:1-12, Colossians 2:16-17, Hebrews 10:19-25
Today is my birthday. It’s a day I really love. Tonight my friends and I are headed to watch the Nashville Sounds play minor league baseball. There, I will hug everyone too many times, introduce friends who don’t already know one another, drink multiple Coke ICEEs, and maybe catch a foul ball. Then I will fall into bed tonight sure that I’m the luckiest woman alive.
My life is far from perfect. But the life I’ve spent 37 years putting together is turning out alright. Not perfect, not problem-free, but pretty awesome nonetheless.
The older I get, the more I draw boundaries in my life, making it the life I want to live. Some of my life rules wouldn’t work for you, and I’m okay with that. For starters, I’m dairy-free (it’s an allergy thing), but I wouldn’t ask you—or any of my friends at my birthday party—to live without milk, let alone eat cake WITHOUT ice cream. That beautiful stuff should never go to waste!
Then there’s the matter of rest. My day off each week is almost always a Wednesday. That doesn’t mean it needs to be your weekly day to rest. It simply means Wednesdays work best for me.
And then there’s the soccer. I watch it every chance I get. But you don’t have to do the same. Though, I’d highly recommend it because it’s just the best. Period.
The beauty of maturing, and also growing up in my faith, is that I no longer want to look like you. In high school I wanted to look like you, sound like you, and like what you like. Not now. Now, I want to live MY life. I want to look like me—the best, healthiest, kindest, truest version of me. There’s this thing we get to do whenever we’re tired of comparing our lives to other people’s lives: we get to live our own.
You know what it is? It’s the difference between bondage and freedom. Freedom is not a life without boundaries or borders or rule. It’s a life full of the good kind of boundaries, the kind that keep you healthy and strong, living the life God made you to live. It’s the life that is uniquely yours.
For none of us lives for himself, and no one dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:7-8).
We often think freedom as just wide open space. But I’ve never found that to be true. Real freedom is found in knowing Jesus. It is giving yourself permission to live wide open in the spaces where God has placed you and in the ways He has made you. My fences around my spaces are going to look different from yours, but there is such safety and health and permission inside the boundaries built just for you.
Scripture tells us that if we’re Christ-followers, then the life we get to live belongs to Him anyway. Galatians 2:20 says, “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
That right there—living for Jesus—is living your best life.