Every day when we come home from school I let the kids end our twenty minute drive doing something that, quite honestly, has become so enjoyable for me that I don’t ever want them to stop. As soon as we hit the dirt road they start begging to unbuckle their seat belts. They can’t get out of those seats quick enough and scramble to get the windows rolled down. Then they take their positions and proceed to “hang” out the windows. I love to look in my rear view mirrors and see them in all of their glorious freedom. It truly highlights their day and mine as well.
I love the quarter mile of freedom to do something unusual, something exciting that feels a bit scandalous. I love that I am free to let them do it. I love to crank up the radio as we go and wave at my neighbors as Tom Petty escapes through our the windows.
But just yesterday the excitement of the freedom began to wane. The kids started leaning too far out the window and I had to start setting some boundaries to reign them in. “Both feet on the floor.” There, that will keep them grounded and make it so that they don’t get too free because too free is dangerous.
If I were free, I mean really free as a parent what would that look like?
Would it mean that when my six year old throws her daily fit in public that I wouldn’t look around to see who’s watching?
Would it mean that I wouldn’t get angry and shake my head when she says something mean and wonder if people know that I do indeed discipline her at home?
Would it mean that when I find out that my boy cries at school I don’t get embarrassed?
Would I not be distraught and wonder what I am doing wrong when I get a phone call from two different teachers on the same day?
Would I not feel the inkling of shame that I feel right now because I don’t home school and be worried about what you might think of me?
There are times that I feel free, and I mean completely free to be who I am in Christ. Fully hanging out the window with lips flapping in the wind, but when it comes to parenting I’m not there. I’ve still got two feet on the floor because I’ve been told that parenting in freedom is dangerous. It’s not safe and I could get hurt.
Now it’s good that I set boundaries to my children’s "hanging out the window of my car" freedom. I love them and want to keep them from dying young. But when it comes to spiritual freedom, the kind that I long for there is that voice, the one learned by other Christians that says “easy does it” or “I’m glad you are enjoying your freedom but make sure you keep two feet on the floor.”
My friends, this is not how it should be! Christ DIED so that we may be FREE!
Free to fail.
Free to let others fail.
Free to let others hang out the window without glancing down to see their foot placement.
Freedom is free and if we ever have to wonder if we are doing it right then we are not truly free. Right now I’m wondering. Wondering where my spiritual freedom intersects with my parenting freedom and praying that someday I will be truly free.
What would you do with freedom if you truly had it?