Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Finding Freedom in All Kinds of Places

It started with a Beth Moore teaching in my Bible study group about women and their/our obsession with body image, weight, food, clothing size... We humans often fall into one of two categories with most things in our lives. Obsession or Neglect. Ms. Moore gave examples from the Bible of God's trouble with the Israelites. Either they neglected God's laws or they became Pharisees. They either gave up or obsessed. We women often do this with our bodies.

And I've noticed a trend whenever I talk with people about attachment parenting, whole foods, alternative medicines, and natural living. The people who talk about it walk a fine line between balance and obsession. Worse yet, a spirit of judgment often accompanies those who obsess (which is not to say that the neglectful aren't also having their judgment-fest regarding the obsessed). This neglect vs. obsession dichotomy exists in other areas of our lives...housekeeping, finances...religion.

Freedom is somewhere in the middle. When I'm free I don't need to worry about what everybody else is doing. When I'm free I have walked away from the sickness that comes with neglect and the fear that comes with obsession. Ironically, the truest freedom comes when we release total control to God. Then we are free. Free from judgment. Free from shame. Free to be and do what God would have us do and be.

Is it wrong to fill our bodies with foods we know are bad for us? Sure. Is it wrong to have a donut every now and then. Absolutely not. Is the donut still junk food? Yup. Neglect says that we only live once and we should eat whatever we want. Obsession says donuts are bad and it's sinful to eat anything that isn't whole and natural and healthy.

I have always subscribed to a philosophy of balance, of finding the middle between the extremes. Of course there are absolutes. But for many, many things in life a happy medium is truly the free-est place to be. When we find a balance we find healing the parts of us that are sick from neglect and frozen with obsession. And there we find wholeness, which was the integrating motif for my Statement of Faith at Seminary. God wants us to be whole and free. God uses us even in our brokenness, but imagine how much more we can be used in our wholeness.

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