When Being Set Free Feels Like Dying

I’ve noticed that sometimes being set free feels like dying,
When our souls are relying on things that can’t handle the weight.
All our eggs in one basket that is breaking apart.
Like earthquakes in our heart.
The destruction kickstarts a search for a stronger foundation, one that cannot be shaken.
It can feel like we’re losing everything that makes life worth living.
But that’s the beginning of freedom,

And I’ve come to that point many times.
I have felt deeply the disappointment of placing my hope in things unable to deliver.
Whether that be success, popularity, romance, morality.
Even when I achieve all these, I’m left empty and always wanting more.
I can’t rest or be content, cause any moment I could lose it all,
I could drop the ball and fall back into Failure. Rejection. Loneliness. Shame.
And then my whole world goes up in flames.
We tie our lives to these things, so when we lose them we feel lifeless
It doesn’t need to be like this!
But sometimes being set free feels like dying.

You see, sometimes freedom feels like the firestorm of withdrawal,
When all our addictions are painfully exposed.
Precisely because we chose to stop.
Or someone forced that choice upon us.
We could cope with substance slavery
But then take it away and we get shaky;
Our bodies rebel and feel like Hell, but it’s the first steps towards Heaven.
Sometimes being set free feels like dying.

And I’d be lying if I said I liked it.
But I don’t want it to stop.
Cause I operate like a freight train straight to a place named destruction.
My default function is not-functional.
Neural pathways ingrained to the same destination
My train of thought always tracks to that exact station.
It’s terminal.

So the painful alternative is to resist my own momentum;
Freedom comes by denying deep and dark desires.
And it burns like fire.
There’s an unpopular word called “repentance.”
And it literally just means to turn around.
But I’ve found that this feels like a form of death.
Cause we’ve invested so much energy, so much of our identity,
On these paths of least resistance.
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
True freedom is not permission to run unrestricted off the cliff,

True freedom is the ability to escape the downward spiral,
To walk on paths of life, when the paths of death are going viral.

So, Jesus, veto my ego.
Say no to me.
To my pride, my jealousy,
Every untaught tendency to place myself at the centre of the universe
Lust, cowardice, and worse.
Would you break this curse?
Will you kill this thing that is killing me?
Sometimes being set free feels like dying . . .
But death is a prerequisite for resurrection.
And as Paul proclaims in the book of Galatians:
“I have been crucified with Christ,And I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.The life I now live in the body,I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

God is not a sadistic deity, celebrating our suffering.
He is not calling us into a death that he himself did not endure.
Insults and torture tore our creator apart.
We can trust his heart.
Cause it was on display when he hung on the cross that day.
As his death made a way for us to be new
To follow him, down through the valley of death and then up into resurrection.
New Creation is an invitation extended to all,
But the call involves the ending of a lifestyle that honestly wasn’t working.
We’re acting like we’re the King, and the sooner we stop pretending the better.

But perhaps you wonder:
Why couldn’t freedom come softer?
Why couldn’t its arrival feel like laughter or dancing or sand between our toes?
And I suppose sometimes it does.
Sometimes we slip into freedom almost accidentally,
The power of our addictions displaced by the beauty of God’s face.
When God’s grace shines so bright that there’s no fight within us.
When we trust him completely cause we’ve seen just how good he really is.
He is a loving Father, a daring hero,
A King who throws a party for the humble and the lowly.
And there are holy moments when we willingly release,
Perfectly at peace as our idols crash to the floor.

But more often freedom feels like the squeezing of our insides,
When by faith we cut ties with the things that enslave us.
Freedom comes through King Jesus, but the decision is yours.
There are two doors. Which will you take?
Fake freedom that feels fun but runs off the cliff?
Or true life: beautiful and fully able to thrive?
The choice is yours, but don’t forget:
Sometimes being set free feels like dying.