You’re Free, So Step Out!

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

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 areBut 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?


9 Responses to You’re Free, So Step Out!

  1. Susan Bradbury March 6, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    Yes, Jesus paid for it all…every bit of freedom we would ever need in every area of our lives…as we learn to walk out of the cage and explore, we grow!!! Oh the JOY!!!

    For freedom did Christ set us free..Gal. 5:1

    • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      Amen, Susan. It is unnerving at times, but so worth it!

  2. Carrie March 6, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Yes! Step out in faith to the freedom that Christ died to give us! I was reading the account of Lazarus’ resurrection last night – what struck me was the unbinding – “Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Psalm 116:6 says “O Lord, I am your servant;I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.” The way I read it, when we surrender to Jesus and serve Him, our bondages are loosed – like the grave cloths of Lazarus – and we are set free. We are freed from sin and death to live the eternal life with our God. What joy!

    Now, I have a chinchilla – if we let that little bugger run free we would never catch him! I can’t imagine a chinchy who stays in his cage. Now that I think about it, we have to provide boundaries for our critter. We take him out into a large bathroom or my son’s room to let him run around. These boundaries keep him safe (from getting lost/uncatchable and from the dog and cat). He is lovingly placed inside the boundaries and then allowed to run free. Hmm, kind of like the loving boundaries God has provided for us….

    • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 9:29 am #

      Carrie, the Hallidays use this illustration in the Get Thin Stay Thin, Thin Again, Silent Hunger, and Hunger Within book. I love it. The unwrapping of the graveclothes is an image that I have found so helpful, even if intimidating. 🙂

      Your chinchilla is the way my first one was…he would come back to the cage to get a drink and that was my chance to close it up. Sometimes, I left him to run around the classroom. He would go into his cage every so often. The rabbit I had later did the same…she was even potty trained. I loved that rabbit. (Well, I love all my animals. LOL!) Yes….lovingly placing him inside his boundaries…great image for what God does with us!

    • simplydalena2013 March 8, 2014 at 4:17 am #

      Carrie, what a great way to think about how wonderful our boundaries from God are. They are only for our good, our protection. I wish God would just put me in His bathroom and close the door and not let me out. But it doesn’t work that way. I have the ability to open that door, walk out past my boundaries, and get into trouble. And it seems like I never learn. I bet your chinccy would learn quicker than I have learned.

  3. LynnT. March 6, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    The more I think on this, the more I see the unhealthy choice I made to not leave my house to avoid pain. :/

    • Heidi Bylsma March 7, 2014 at 9:26 am #

      What do you think you can do, Lynn? Can you leave the house or is that too big of a leap?

  4. Cathy Reale March 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Makes me wonder in what ways have I been staying cooped up without realizing it? How often do I not trust God to hold me up in an area that I am not comfortable?

  5. simplydalena2013 March 8, 2014 at 4:12 am #

    Heidi! How I would have loved being in your classroom! That story reminds me of the eagle in with the chickens, thinking he was a chicken. What a thought provoking story. Has me really thinking, what is holding me back from the life God intended me to have. Thank you for opening my eyes to a couple of things.

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