Do you remember in my I Want To Be Wilder intro I told you, “I can see day by day and week by week that I’m feeling new ‘hard things’ come into my life. I’m sensing the ability and desire to do things that from my previous mindset would be WILD.” I had no idea how true this was going to be.
In these past few weeks I have gone careening through several areas of my life (all progressively more important than the last) where I am suddenly seeing the need for things to change. I’m feeling like I’m on the edge of something so big and different that it is making me terrified.
I told you I felt like a sleeping person that was just waking up…and a person who had been underwater my whole life. Well, it’s happening in more ways than one. It’s more than how I school my kids or feed them. It’s more than the ability to serve my family. I didn’t realize I was praying the prayer for God to open me up and strip me down. I didn’t know I was asking God to make the dark places bright as day. But he has. And it is hurting.
I am at a crossroads. I have two choices: to go back to my normal underwater life OR to stand up, do some hard things and experience a new freedom.
The last chapter of Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder ends with a big decision for Almanzo. A neighbor, Mr. Paddock has asked him to apprentice as a wheelwright. Mr. and Mrs. Wilder talk about the possibility with Almanzo over dinner:
“Well, son, you think bout it,” said Father. “I want you should make up your own mind. With Paddock, you’d have an easy life, in some ways. You wouldn’t be out in all kinds of weather. Cold winter nights, you could lie snug, in bed and not worry about young stock freezing. Rain or shine, wind or snow you’d be under shelter. You’d be shut up, inside walls. Likely you’d always have plenty to eat and wear and money in the bank.”…
“But there’s the other side, too, Almanzo. You’d have to depend on other folks, son, in town. Everything you got, you’d get from other folks.
A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather. If you’re a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber. You work hard, but you work as you please, and no man can tell you to go or come. You’ll be free and independent, son, on a farm.”
This passage struck me so hard when I first read it. Our society sees freedom as the ability to sit at a computer and order luxuries that are delivered to our doorsteps. We see freedom as the LEAST amount of work possible for the BIGGEST payoff.
Mr. Wilder saw real work—hard work—as freedom. Raising every single bit of anything he would need from the earth. He saw freedom in doing for himself.
There are so many parallels I feel in my own life. I don’t work for anything. My children don’t do anything that makes a difference in their actual living. This doesn’t make us free. We are bound by our affluence, our wealth and our tender feet.
But there is something more I’m seeing here. If I want real freedom in my life–freedom to experience all the fullness of my marriage, my motherhood, my friendships, my relationship with God, then I HAVE TO WORK AT IT.
I have been married for 12 years. I can’t let my marriage slide by with memories of college, traditions and past conversations. I can’t let my parenting skills be founded in something I read in a book before I was a parent. I can’t let my relationship with God stay the same as it was when I gave him my life in 1st grade!
Oh, I hope you’re hearing me! I’ve just realized if I want the life I’ve always wanted I AM GOING TO HAVE TO WORK FOR IT. And I’m going have to work harder than I’ve ever imagined. I am going to have to give up my pride, lay down my desires and pick up my cross! Somehow I was surprised that when I asked God to show me the hard things He wants me to do and to give me the freedom I’ve always wanted, that I was going to have to get ready for the answer! I’m shocked that I’m even shocked by this. I didn’t realize that I had been stuffing my heart with the immediate and NOT the important!
If you want freedom, you have a choice: you can live in town and be safe inside four walls or you can run to the farm and work from dawn to dusk to raise everything you wear, everything you eat and everything that keeps you warm.
I want to make the choice that Almanzo made. He chose to be a Farmer Boy. And I want to be that free. I want to be the girl that has true freedom, freedom that is won by the sweat of my brow, the breaking of my heart and the shattering of my pride.
I want to be wilder.
:: :: ::
See the whole I WANT TO BE WILDER series: