I am pretty sure kids are the definition of energy. These kids are quick on their toes, dodging here and there, chasing each other. The air is laced with their robust and contagious laughter, which heavily contrasts with the foreign Thai words. I have been in Asia for almost three months now and it is still strange the way their words float through the air, meaningless to me yet so full of life to the kids. I take a deep breath, inhaling the dusty air, as I sit down on the gravel road, which holds the wear and tear from the numerous kids who call it their playground.
There is something so beautiful in simply sitting, watching my teammates, who are practically sisters, run and play with these precious Thai kids. I laugh as Megan, my New Zealand sister, attempts to echo the foreign words that he kids keep yelling at her. I am not sure who finds her strange punctuation and strong kiwi accent more amusing, the kids or Megan. Either way, I love watching them smile as their laughter fills the air like a sweet perfume.
The sun is slowly sinking, the shadows moving and playing with the kids. The final rays cut through the small rickety fence, causing me to squint. My eyes wander a little way down the road where they land upon a little boy who is maybe 5 or 6 years old. His small little legs buried underneath bright yellow shorts that are clearly several sizes to big for him. One hand is fastened to His shorts, the only thing stopping them from flying to the ground. The other hand is barely still for one second, he is truly a little ninja and the street is his gym. He has a look of determination on his face, as he tries to run and play with the older kids, yet he is limited in his freedom by his oversized shorts. The sun continues to say its final goodbyes and I find myself attempting to keep up with this little boy’s crazy antics, random jumping and quick sprints. I can only imagine the thoughts running around inside his head, and I simply wish that I could somehow provide him with shorts that fit so that he could truly run around and embrace the energy that is fueling his little legs. I am convinced my friend Jess is a mind reader, as she brings me back to reality, a small ponytail in her hand, a way for me to give that little boy the freedom I know he is aching for. As I crouch down next to him, I can tell he is a little skeptical and it also seems to be challenging for him to hold still for so long. I can definitely relate to this little one in more ways then one. I finishing tying his shorts up to be greeted with a smile that shines from his face so brightly it practically lights up the now dark street. He takes off, fully embracing his new freedom, unable to contain himself he dances with true joy. Grabbing his older sisters legs, he hugs her before tearing off down the street, showing off his running and jumping skills. His smile is the epitome of happiness and freedom.
His reaction to that simple act of kindness is one that I will never forget. As the night progressed, I kept thinking about the little boy in the yellow shorts and the way he took off dancing in freedom. It wasn’t until I was riding home from the village, sitting in the back of the truck with the wind blowing through my hear and the stars dancing across the sky, that it really dawned on me how much I truly relate to that little boy.
There is so many times that I live life reserved, a slave to fear. I hold onto burdens that aren’t meant for me to carry, they weigh me down yet I refuse to let go of them as I tiptoe around as if walking on glass. I try to figure out why my feet are chained to the ground, when my whole body is crying out for freedom. Perhaps it is fear that keeps me from truly living, as it whispers in my ear telling me that I am not good enough. . Or maybe it is insecurity that finds its roots in comparison, thriving off of soil that is full of lies and mistrust. Or maybe it is jealousy, because from my perspective everybody is running and dancing in freedom, while I sit here, limited by my own fears, drowning in my own limitations.
Yet like that little boy, the answer is so simple. Jesus died to set me free, but that doesn’t mean anything if I don’t actually step into the freedom that he offers. The freedom is right in front of me; I am the one who makes the choice to wade around in deep waters, slowly sinking in self-pity. Yet I have the choice of reaching out and grabbing the hand that is waiting to pull me safely to shore. Just like that little boy, the freedom is within grasp, but only if I take that step of faith.
It is such a simple concept, yet it can be so very challenging at times. I am determined though to step into that freedom, because I don’t want to live my life a slave to fear, comparison and jealousy. Whatever it might be, Jesus took it to the cross, declaring that it is finished. I intend to take that step of faith and to embrace every single ounce of freedom.
I know that to truly find freedom is a process, and I am not going to wake up one day set free from all the fears that have for so long kept me chained down. I know that it might seem impossible at times, and there will be days when i tiptoe around because I am afraid of love, and the implications that my new freedom might bring. Yet I know, that Jesus is never going to leave me, He will cry with me when I need it and he will be the one to tilt my chin up when it has become downcast. In the last few months, I have experienced more freedom in finding myself in Jesus then I even dared to think was possible. It has been a painful process, and at times I was tempted to run away, yet every single time God pursued me and fought for me. He is restoring me, redeeming my broken past and giving me hope and joy for the future.
No longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.