The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

When Freedom Becomes Complacent

I read her words this morning
as I chugged my first cup of coffee in a groggy fog and peered out the window at the burned out glow sticks and sparkler rods scattered across the brittle grass.

Our freedom was never meant to become our complacency. 

Yesterday we had celebrated Independence Day with gusto.

We’d strung streamers red white and blue
 and filled the backyard with friends and food and rainbow flames.

But today all that remains of our fourth-of-July-hoopla are tired kids and a littered lawn.

The kids are still asleep and the steam rising from my coffee mug stirs me awake.

And He speaks to me through this honest sister’s words- Do you live like you’ve been set free?

The kids’ butterfly house has blown across the yard.

I see it, lonely, near the weed patch.

And I remember the day of butterflies.

 The afternoon that we’d filled that house with whispered wings and frenzied flyers.

My small ones had chased and raced and squealed as they’d followed each splash of color in hot pursuit.

They’d swung their nets and counted each catch…

The quiet purple ones and flittering fancy ones.

The ones with sun-kissed freckles and others with streaks like midnight.

Hannah had kept a careful census and declared herself the best catcher. 

Joshua had dared to disagree, certain that he’d caught more.

In the end, my peacemaker had acquiesced and avoided a fight with her ingenious rationale: “I guess I caught the most yellow ones and you caught the most invisible ones.

And so we’d hauled them home- the butterflies we could see and the ones we couldn’t- and we’d set them on our kitchen counter and admired their gossamer glory.

Until the sun had set and my kind-hearted one had begun to worry about her captives.

“The look so sad in there,” she’d said, as she peered intently through the mesh netting.

“They probably miss their mommies and daddies,” Joshua had surmised.

And so it was decided that the butterflies should be set free, released to find their parents before a new day dawned.

One by one, they’d flown into the moonlight.

Except for one. It had just sat there in the cage as the stars sparkled bright.

My little ones had begged it to fly.

They’d wiggled the butterfly house and whispered encouragement, had clapped their hands and flapped their arms in hopes of inspiring flight.

But that captive set free had refused to move.

“Maybe he doesn’t remember he has a daddy waiting for it at home,” Joshua had said.

And Hannah had cried quiet tears and wondered aloud why a creature with wings would refuse to fly.

We’d agreed to leave it on the deck, had assured ourselves that it would fly away in the dark of night as we slept.

But the next morning when I’d slipped outside to greet the day, the butterfly was still there. Dead on the bottom of the cage without a roof.

I’d emptied the butterfly house and headed back inside, wondering how many times I’ve refused to fly through doors opened wide.

How often have I huddled  in my own prisons of pride;
camped in rusty cages of fear, long-ago opened wide by the One who died to set me free.

And if my chains are loosed and my prison doors flung wide, then why do I stay?  

Huddled here in the slammer of forgetfulness while my Daddy waits for me to fly home.

Is forgetfulness the chain that binds? 

be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 
-Dt 6:12

Could remembering set me free? 

Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there 
-Dt 24:18

Do you live like you’ve been set free? 

The words boom in my ears this morning like the thundering fireworks that had lit last night’s sky.

 I slip on my shoes and head out into the yard to gather the remains of yesterday’s celebration.

And I pray for the courage to surrender my complacencies and soar.

The Overflow: Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. -Galatians 5:1

Happily linking with Jennifer at Getting Down With Jesus


8 thoughts on “When Freedom Becomes Complacent

  1. Alicia–I love how, when you’re just doing life and open to God the Holy Spirit just shows you things. Thinking about letting butterflies free and then asking, ‘Am I living free?’ Yes, God, make it so.

    July 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm
  2. Awesome way of relating to independence day….I was stopping by after you linked up to Faithfully Friday (the link didn’t work by the way)…but am glad to come back and read again! It will be open again tomorrow!
    🙂 Blessings!

    July 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm
  3. Hi Alicia,

    Got God-bumps as I read this because we have the exact same butterfly house, and we will be releasing the butterflies this weekend that have hatched…I have been in cages of fear, and God has been calling me to fly this past year…

    Great post!


    July 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm
  4. Totally love this! Such truth . . .
    Our freedom was never meant to become our complacency.

    Lord forgive me for my complacency!

    Thank you for this reminder.

    July 6, 2012 at 2:23 am
  5. What a touching blog and nice pictures. Thank you

    July 6, 2012 at 9:30 am
  6. Ah, friend.

    This touches the deep places. Especially the description of your daughter’s tears, shed for the creature with wings that wouldn’t fly.

    I certainly identify with her.

    I have *been* the one that wouldn’t fly . . . but more, I think, wept for those who were meant to be free, but live caged.

    Beautiful post. And ya know? I feel just the same as what you said — like I wanna share a cup of coffee with you — every time I visit here. Maybe someday . . . 🙂

    July 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm
  7. YOU NAILED!!!!

    July 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm
  8. Yes, … yes I have been in a cage. And I daily need to grasp the hand of the Savior to keep me from going back. Thank you for sharing your beautifully written story in community.

    July 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm

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