Have you ever been on a diet and you were so good and you didn’t stray and you didn’t do bad - you made all the right decisions and ate all the right things and then one day… one day something happened? You don’t really know what it was because you were doing so good - you were behaving so well but this day was different. You saw that bit of ice-cream or you saw that cookie and you thought that maybe you could do it. Maybe it would be okay just to take a bit and then you could go right back on your diet. And you would have been right. You could take a little bite and you could go right back on your diet and REALLY it would be okay. I don’t like to call it a diet because it shouldn’t be called a diet. It should be called a lifestyle of eating healthy. But I digress.
You reach out for the cookie or the ice-cream or whatever it may be. You notice that your hands are trembling a bit. You notice that your body feels a little uncomfortable. You have done so good so far and you don’t want to blow it. Slowly you reach out. Slowly you grasp that thing that you want to consume. So many mixed feelings. So many emotions.
And then it happens. You put it in your mouth, you chew, you swallow and...nothing happens. The policeman doesn’t come out and grab you by the scruff of the neck and take you off to jail. Lightening doesn’t come from the sky in billowing shrieks and strike you unconscious. You don’t get ill and feel like your stomach is going to explode like a million little marbles in a paper bag made too small. In fact nothing at all happens.
You were so focused for so long. You were so careful for so long. You made all the right decisions and didn’t sway and didn’t get off the beaten path that somehow you thought that one small bite would be destructive to you in some way. And suddenly there is a freedom that you have not felt in a long time. Suddenly you know that you can eat and you won’t go to jail. Suddenly you experience the freedom of being able to eat what you want to eat, when you want to eat because you are an adult and you are the master of your own body and it feels like you can breathe again. Suddenly…
You see, this would be okay if it was a calculated bite of food or you didn't continue to reach for the box of twinkles. I am not advocating living in a straight jacket or never eating unhealthy things you love again. Food was meant to be loved and enjoyed. In the confounds of discipline.
I have felt this before. I have felt the freedom of being so disciplined and so careful and when I finally throw all caution to the wind, it feels as if I have found some new found freedom and I love it.
Until that new found freedom gives me twenty more pounds around the waist and sends me searching for clothes that actually look good on me. It’s an odd thing - this thing we call life. Sometimes what we feel is freedom, sometimes what we call our right or our license is really that actual thing that puts us in bondage. It’s a fine line really and we have to always have our eyes open to what we are sensing, what we are feeling and what licenses we are taking. Sometimes what you deem as freedom is not really freedom at all and suddenly you realize 10, 20 or 30 pounds later that it was actually those actions, those " freedoms" that were putting you in bondage again. You feel completely wrapped up head to toe in the bondage of food again (or whatever holds you captive.)
True freedom comes only in finding that discipline of life. Freedom comes in understanding the dance between what is real freedom and what is a lie - what is counterfeit. There are all sorts of counterfeit freedoms around you in this world. Freedom to cheat on your spouse, freedom to cheat on your taxes, freedom to live unencumbered by what anyone thinks and before you know it, you can’t breathe, you can’t move, you can’t live because the very thing you thought was freeing you was actually sucking the life out of you slowly like a a python slowly sucks the life out of his prey.
Be very careful what you deem as freedom. Be very careful of those fluttery feelings that come from being disciplined for so long and then taking a liberty in something. Keep yourself in check and you will be okay.
What we don’t always understand is that freedom doesn’t come free. The very word freedom deems a sort of free life; a life completely absent of cares and worries and disciplines and careful consideration. But quite the opposite is real freedom. Real freedom comes at a great cost and that cost is being intentional, being careful and calculated. We work for freedom. We strive for freedom. We push for freedom; all words that seem opposite of what the words insinuates. But without working for it you are left with nothing but the fake fleeting face of freedom. Everything beautiful costs something. Everything worth having in life, takes time and effort and so much work.
Freedom will cost us a lot.
But the cost, my friend, is so worth it.