As a child I usually dreaded the Fourth of July because to me it represented noise–noise that literally hurt because of how it reverberated in my shunt. From the fireworks to the traditional military low-elevation flyover from the nearby Air Force base, there was a lot of loud, thunderous and just awful noise.
As an adult, I came to almost love the Fourth of July because as a reporter, I’ve been able to write about many amazing veterans. I usually really enjoy working on Independence Day because I can meet, write about, and honor men and women who have fought for, and even died for, our freedoms.
This Independence Day was a little different for me. I wasn’t scared of any of the noises and I didn’t attend any events celebrating veterans. In fact, I didn’t go anywhere. But I was still celebrating!
This Independence Day meant something different to me. Of course I’m still grateful for the freedoms we continue to have because of our military, but this weekend I reflected more on the freedoms we gain through Christ. There’s the ultimate freedom, the freedom from eternity in hell. But what I don’t think many realize is that he provides the means for freedom from so many other things in life.
This blog has been tough for me to write because it reveals aspects of my life that is very personal, private and painful. I’ve considered how people could use this against me, I’ve wondered what other unconsidered ramifications there could be. But I’m choosing to share it in a limited fashion because I believe I would be remiss in not proclaiming the amazing work God is doing in my life.
I recently became involved in a program at my church called Celebrate Recovery. Most people seem to think this is the Christian form of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous and for some, that’s true. But this program is about recovery from “all of life’s hurts, habits and hang ups.” It’s a Biblically-based process that helps people deal with the issues in their life. It’s not therapy, not in the traditional sense. You do get encouragement from other people, but ultimately it’s a process of allowing God to help you deal with whatever your specific issue happens to be. I obviously can’t share specific details, but I’ve seen people find healing for “hurts, habits or hangups” including various addictions including food, drugs or alcohol; being the spouse of a sex addict, road rage, codependency, being an enabler, etc. The list can go on and on and on.
Joining this group was tough for me, and in fact I was so distraught after my second meeting that I didn’t return for months. But I returned and I’ve found my niche. Although it’s really tough to give up the control, I’m slowly learning to let God have control in my life regarding specific life issues. The cool, amazing and possibly scary thing is, I often find that once people deal with one issue in their life, that gives way for another, underlying issue to surface. That allows the person to work on the newly revealed problem that is ultimately keeping them from being the person they could be, both for themselves and for God.
So even though I know I have a long way to go, this Fourth of July holiday has been about a different kind of independence for me. It’s been about learning to be independent from the claim that hurts, habits and hangups have on my life.
That’s a special kind of freedom that not even the most powerful military can provide. It’s a freedom that only our all-powerful God can and does provide.