Truly Free

Turning Eighteen

I couldn’t wait to grow up. Turning eighteen seemed magical. Finally, I would be seen as an adult. There would be freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted. My money could be spent on whatever I chose. I could be truly free.

Freedom, at that time, meant making my own decisions apart from my parents. I felt convinced their rules had stifled something, and I was missing a vital piece of the freedom puzzle. They must have blocked me from some sort of freedom I needed to experience, right?

Spiritual Freedom

Spiritually, I felt confined as well. Raised in a traditional Southern Baptist Church, I knew there had to be more to serving God than just attending church each week. I couldn’t wait to taste the freedom of overseas ministry and inner-city mission work. My mind was filled with questions, excitement, and stories of foreign missionaries I had learned about. There had to be more to this Jesus thing than I had experienced, right?

Experiencing “Freedom”

Outward rebellion was never my thing, but inwardly, I was certain my parents had been overprotective and caused me to miss experiences I needed for future success in life. Spiritually, I was convinced I must leave my small-town church in order to experience true Holy Spirit power, certain I had missed out on something.

My “grown” eighteen-year-old self found a job and began working at a local coffee shop while attending community college. I found a college group at another church, and we grew together as we studied the bible. On my search for bigger and better “Jesus” things, I went on my first overseas mission trip and not long after, began dating a guy I met on that trip. He seemed like the kind of spiritual leader I was looking for in a marriage partner—a spiritual equal.

Ironically, the more “grown-up” life I experienced, the less grown-up I felt. When I was puking my guts out in a foreign country, all I wanted was my mama. When I realized the controlling nature of a boyfriend, I desperately wanted to be a kid again and not have to deal with all the hard decisions and drama. When bills came in, I spent much of my money on my car payment, college books, or paying part of my tuition. I quickly realized grown-ups don’t have much say in where their money goes at all.

Kid in a Cage

My view of freedom has changed over the years. When Carter, my oldest, was two, he climbed into the dog’s crate in the kitchen. He closed the door, got on all fours, stuck out his tongue and pretended to be a puppy dog. But unlike our actual dog, Carter could crawl out any time he wanted. He was free while the dog was trapped.

As adults, each of us, like the dog in the crate, is trapped by different areas of sin. For a person who medicates with food, buffets and parties are a huge temptation while to another person, it’s no big deal. For the alcoholic, social drinking never ends well, while others can stop after one glass of wine. Scrolling through videos on the computer is a relaxing pastime for most, but to the person struggling with pornography addiction, the door to temptation is one click away. One person can freely enter the crate, while the other is trapped.

Freedom Christ’s Way

The more gray hairs I add to my head, the greater understanding I have of freedom. Addictions, bad habits, and chronic sins create bondage. Guilt, shame, and regret create bondage. Unhealed relationships, past hurts, and memories create bondage. Hate, unforgiveness, and bitterness create bondage.

Freedom, however, releases us from those chains. Rules and boundaries are the lines that keep us out of bondage—all those things I didn’t understand or want to embrace as a young person. Now freedom looks like discipline and self-control. It looks like intentionally sacrificing my will for the will of God. It even looks like ignoring my desires and happiness for the sake of others, so they may come to know Christ.

Essentially, freedom means being bound to the will and ways of the Lord. Freedom means choosing Christ over all the struggles of this life. It means pulling down our masks and letting others see our scars. It means our life in exchange for his peace and grace in our lives.

Now, instead of waiting to grow up and become an adult, I relish growing in maturity in the Lord. To become more like him is my desire in everything I do. And to be used by him for his glory—my ultimate joy.

© Christy Bass Adams, July 2022

All photos from Canva.com

Christy Bass Adams

Christy Bass Adams, is the Outreach and Connections Coordinator at Fellowship Baptist Church in Madison, Florida. She is also a writer and will have her first devotional book published in summer of 2022 followed by a middle grades novel in the fall. Her most important role, however, is with her family as a wife of 17 years and mother to two busy boys. She has worked in education for over 18 years at both the elementary and collegiate levels. Her favorite pastimes are fishing and sitting around a fire. For more from Christy, visit her blog at christybassadams.com.

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6 comments

  1. I so related to what you said here about true freedom and how wisdom comes with age. Thank you for this loving challenge to look at what might yet be holding me captive.

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