you can do a lot of things…
“You don’t HAVE to do anything, but you CAN do a lot of things.”
She was 16-years-old and said it with a comical grin, referring to my dilemma over whether or not to feel obligated to patch a small hole in my skirt. She’s a free spirit.
I have never been as free as I want/could/should/will be.
Her hair changes shape and color frequently. Her opinions are strong, independent and well-supported. She sees through people and things. She was intimidating to adults when she was only 14, though she was almost always laughing, smiling, and teasing.
She had no idea that such a small, impromptu comment would linger and replay in my mind over the years. She probably had some idea that I have never really believed it.
My functional belief has been more like:
“I have to do a lot of things, and I can’t do just anything.”
I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, and I’m not implying we should follow every impulse without concern for our motives or the effects on others. Freedom doesn’t equal self-indulgence.
But wow, we put a lot of bogus expectations on ourselves (and others) that have nothing to do with the pleasure of God.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10, NIV)
One of the works to which I’ve been called is the creation of music. Simple. At the same time, I’ve been entrusted with a rather large family, as well as church and neighborhood communities. You have been entrusted with works, good gifts, and responsibilities.
If you’d take a second to name them and then scroll down your mental list of expectations you put on yourself within each category…my guess is that most of us have too many things on that list.
We bury the beautiful, simple purpose (simple: make music, share music) in extraneous details and become passive participants in our own daily lives. We aren’t choosing anymore. We’re swept up in a current of amplified priorities and task lists that come largely from what we think the rest of the world thinks we should be or do.
Because of the current, I forget to play the piano…
I forget to look my family members in the eye and listen…
I forget to give thanks…
I forget to laugh…
I forget that God is sovereign over my vocation and that drivenness is not a fruit of the Spirit.
I forget that as far as this life on earth goes, the present moment is really all we have.
Here’s the truth. There is no one right timeline for bringing a baby home, or releasing a record, or posting a blog, or running a half-marathon. I don’t have to choose one approach to writing or one style of music or one way to interact with people. We don’t have to make anything happen.
There is no “right” house size or style of decorating. It doesn’t matter whether my mother likes the color of my walls (LOL sorry, Mom) or whether my countertops are formica or granite. There is no condemnation for having zero functioning towel rods hanging in my house. It.doesn’t.matter.
In her song, “Conversations,” my friend Sara Groves sings,“The only thing that isn’t meaningless to me is Jesus Christ and the way He set me free…”.
Because of this, I can wear a skirt with a hole in it, and leave it that way. I’m free to not think about it.
I am free to do (or not do) a lot of things.