When that rebellious phase sets in children imagine an adventurous life beyond the home. They think of what life would be if there were no limitations and dad wasn’t always there to ruin their fun. The grass on the other side looks green. They imagine the freedom of being an adult. To come in when you wish and go out for as late as you want. When the world is your oyster and there are limitless possibilities. But the strange thing is any adult among us knows that’s not really the case. What is sold as the freedom of independence comes with bills and expectations that tie down your oyster card for a Monday to Friday job. Actually the older you get the more you realise you probably had the most fun as a child back at home. That happiness isn’t out there in the world.
It’s the old lie that happiness and freedom is out there when you’ve had it all along. It says you’ll never be happy as long as you depend on others.
Adam looking around the garden had everything provided for. He could travel the garden and touch every fruit except one. He had everything and yet fell for the one fruit he never needed. Freedom promised he would be on top of his world but the serpent never told him what it would cost. It’s the old lie that happiness and freedom is out there when you’ve had it all along. It says you’ll never be happy as long as you depend on others. It lies to you that your parents and the community around you is holding you back. That God wants to keep you in check because he’s a sadist who doesn’t want you living to your full potential. The only solution is to cut the cord and run away to find your happiness waiting away from home and among strangers. But it is a lie and you and I know it.
The World Sells Independence for Happiness
We grow up dreaming of being independent. Our consumer industry tells us to go out and explore the world. That happiness is out there in a hotel away from home. That we’ll only be happy when we are independent. Independent from our families, the community around us and especially from God. The problem is we never sit to count the cost. We don’t realise what we would be giving up until we go out there. We take for granted the peace and security of being in a home like we do with our heavenly Father. We assume we can make it on our own and imagine any sense of authority and accountability is the enemy. What we don’t realise is that the enemy has been using that lie since the beginning. It only dawns on us later in life and by that time we might find ourselves in too deep to get out.
We’ve been deceived to imagine we can make it on our own. That we are missing out when we stay within the confines of God’s loving care.
In time we might realize the joy of belonging in a family and the safety of a home. After years of searching for happiness we might find it there where we left it. That it’s not in climbing the highest mountain, making a name for ourselves, having the biggest account or partying Monday through Friday. That instead it’s in our shared identity, in belonging to a community where we feel loved and appreciated. That it’s in the comfort of a home, within the garden where the Lord is our Father. Freedom of independence comes at a high cost and it doesn’t always deliver what we desired because we were not made to float around the universe. We were made for a relationship with our heavenly Father without which we’ll always be searching for joy and meaning when it’s always been infront of us. In the end it’s in looking upto him, remaining in the safety of his home and under his care that we can have true joy.
No one desires to be a homeless child and yet we are always trying to run away from our home. Nobody admires the drunk who sleeps on the trenches and yet we are told freedom is in the excesses. And even when we go out there to make a name for ourselves we always hope there’ll be people to cheer us on and to come back to. We’ve been deceived to imagine we can make it on our own. That we are missing out when we stay within the confines of God’s loving care. That our joy and freedom is in cutting the cord with him when we all know no one is happier than a child in a loving home. It’s the same old lie that leads us away from him when all we need is in his house.
But We are Only Happier at Home
The clamour for independence is not only for the unbeliever it’s in the church too. Yes we don’t mind praying and telling God how we need him. But in truth if we could do without him we would. If he could make sure we have all we need then we assume we’d be happy. We still want him in our lives but we don’t always want to be dependent on him. Some times we get angry or disappointed when we have to come to him because he’s not answered a prayer. If he’s God why can’t he make sure we are always looked after. We are like that spoilt child who wants everything at their beckoning. The teenage girl who maintains a transactional relationship with his father.
We need to unmask the lie of personal independence for what it is, an act of rebellion. To know that we were made for God and we are only happier and safe when we remain closer to him.
It’s not only in our private life where we’ve entertained this lie. We also no longer think we need the safety of God’s community. We still believe we are happier and better off on our own or with those who approve of us. We want God and the good sermon but we are still running away from home. We don’t want the accountability that comes with the local church community. We are runaway children who once in a while show up at home to pick the goodies and off we go again. We imagine we are better off with Mall church where we can drive in, listen to the sermon and go out. Perhaps we are still part of an online church when there’s a faithful community down the road.
The lie of independence is still at work in us and we need God’s help to kill it. We need to accept contrary to what we’ve been taught that it’s okay and good to depend. That independence doesn’t always offer the freedom and happiness we imagine. We need to look at those carefree children running around their home knowing they are safe. We need to unmask the lie of personal independence for what it is, an act of rebellion. To know that we were made for God and we are only happier and safe when we remain closer to him. To realise that when all is said and done the comfort of a home is what we all crave. Let’s make that God’s home, be committed to his community and depend on him to carry our cares and concerns. Only then can we be truly happy.
One thought on “When Freedom Doesn’t Lead to Happiness”
I grew up knowing that once I get to 18 i will have the freedom to make choices that i desired but now am in my mid 20s but I still can’t make such choices any how. Like it has never worked as i thought.
I love the piece you have shared. Its pure truth
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