When I taught school years ago, I was known throughout the Kindergarten through 12 grade halls as “The Animal Lady.” I taught sixth grade math, science, and social studies with science being my favorite subject on the planet. I loved getting up to my elbows in bubble solution, getting out the wading pools (in the classroom with desks all shoved to the wall), hoola hoops, and creating monster sized bubbles. Straws and string are incredible “devices” for making humongous bubbles that wobble and waver and with just the right amount of glycerin and DAWN dish soap (original scent works best), you could have a smashing great time.
In addition to “Kitchen Chemistry,” I loved involving the students in an “endangered species” unit. We learned about any number of incredible animals and plants. It was important that they learn to appreciate every type of vertebrate that I could welcome in the classroom. We enjoyed having a Burmese Python, Axolotyls, newts, turtles, iguana, rabbit and one of my favorite was the chinchilla. The first chinchilla I got to be the surrogate mom of, loved running like a little lightning bolt around the classroom. Soon after I retired from teaching (due to expecting my first baby), I became the proud surrogate momma of a chinchilla who needed a home. Dusty was with our family for TWENTY TWO YEARS. This seems insane. We were convinced he was going to outlive all of us!
I assumed Dusty was going to be like my classroom chin had been…loving running around. Periodically, I would open his cage door and invite him to step out into freedom. NOTHING DOING. This little guy would have nothing to do with the freedom he was invited to experience.
I often think back to Dusty and the wild and wonderful adventures he could have had exploring cracks and crevices behind bookcases and under beds. He preferred the familiarity, perhaps, of his cage. Even though freedom belonged to him, he never experienced it. He never lived up to his potential. In many ways, it was quite sad. Chinchillas have amazing haunches and are hard wired to run and jump and play, but Dusty, though he enjoyed being scratched and hand fed yummy treats, never ventured outside the safety and familiarity of his cage.
How am I like Dusty? How are you?
Jesus has purchased our freedom. The cage door is thrown wide open! What keeps us from venturing out into the wide open? Is it the fear we have of the unfamiliar? We cling to what we have known all the while bemoaning that we aren’t free. The truth is… we are. But we aren’t walking in it.
What is really holding you back?
Will you dare to step out into the freedom that Jesus has purchased for you?