“Freedom is actually a bigger game than power. Power is about what you can control. Freedom is about what you can unleash.” ~ Harriet Rubin
I’ve been reading a lot lately from a book called Beauty. Written by one of my favorite writers, John O’Donohue, the book explores the many facets of beauty in the world, what happens when we encounter something beautiful, what makes it so, and why (says O’Donohue) beauty is not a luxury, but is essential to the human soul. In one part of the book, O’Donohue dives into the beauty of human life, and explores how each of us in our own way is always striving to create something beautiful out of who we are and the lives we live, whether we are always conscious of it or not. At one point, he writes: “This is one of the sacred duties of imagination: Honourably to imagine your self. The shortest distance in the world is the one between you and yourself. The space in question is tiny. Yet what goes on in this little space determines nearly everything about the kind of person you are and about the kind of life you are living.”
He goes on: “So many people feel deep dissatisfaction and an acute longing for a more real life, a life that allows their souls to come to expression and to awaken; a life where they could discover a different resonance, one which echoes their heartfelt dreams and longing. For their short while on earth, most people long to have the fullest life they can. No one wants to remain a prisoner in an unlived life. This was the intention of Jesus: ‘I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.'”
I love this. It resonates with my own soul in ways I can’t quite name in words. I bet it’s the same for you. I also love it because it beautifully aligns with my Life Mission:
To unleash hearts into Freedom and Intimacy with God.
Unleash: I think all O’Donohue is talking about is captured nicely in that one word. God’s central call on my life is to partner with Him to unleash others into the full expression of who they really are and the mission they were created to fulfill. If you want to know what I’m about, that’s it. It’s the primary motivation that fuels my coaching, my writing, and really, everything about my life.
In the Church world, we talk a lot about salvation. The word has gotten a lot of religious junk attached to it over the years, but even as flat and uninspiring as the word has become, especially to those who do not follow Jesus, we still know there’s something important about what it represents. But I wonder if many of us ~ including many of us leaders ~ have lost touch with what that “something” is. We understand that to be “saved” means to turn away from a destructive life course and turn toward Jesus and follow him. But then what? Well, then you follow Jesus, of course. But to what end? To “be good”? To avoid sin? To “share the gospel”? But what is it to share the gospel? Most Christians can tell you what they’ve been saved from…but how many truly know what they have been saved for?
Paul nails it. Simply.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free.” ~ Galatians 5:1
You want to know what compelled Jesus to live the life he lived, to die for us all, and to rise again? It’s simple. He wanted us to be free. He wanted us to be unleashed. He wanted this for us so badly, in fact, that he was willing to die to make it happen. And make it happen, He did. He made a Way. His disciples were the first to experience it. Jesus did more than simply stop them from following a destructive life course. He unleashed them into a genuine freedom, a totally new kind of Life.
This is the same Life He offers you. He wants you to live free. He wants you to be unleashed.
So ~ are you? (I’m talking to Christian leaders here.) Are you unleashed? When you look at your life and the way you live it, is “free” a word you would use to describe it? If not, what’s missing? What else is needed?
“There is still more. Character transformation is more than the elimination of sin. Character transformation is more than beginning to express the fruit of the Spirit. God is about reclaiming the divine potential he has planted within each individual. In its essence, the word character means a unique shape or mark … Each person has been uniquely marked or shaped by God. Our theology of character transformation needs to extend beyond the re-establishment of virtues to the reclamation of the potential of every person.” ~ Erwin McManus, An Unstoppable Force
What if you’ve unknowingly settled for something less than the gospel Jesus actually offers?