Wildflower Freedom

I’ve always loved wildflowers. These little flowers hold a special place in my heart because they remind me to look for wild beauty in the hidden places of life.  Wildflowers grow in some of the harshest environments, and despite their circumstances, they thrive. They push past the dirt and spring forth into a breathtaking array of brilliant yellows, deep oranges, and passionate purples. They grow on the sides of highways, in the ditches between fields, and along mountainsides. So long as the sun is shining, the rain is falling, and the breeze is bringing bees towards them, they’re happy. They don’t worry if the dawn will come tomorrow or if the deer will nibble on them during the night. They simply grow towards the sun because that’s where their life comes from.

Wouldn’t life be so much simpler if we were like wildflowers, only thinking about growing towards the source of our life instead of worrying about what each day will bring?

I haven’t always been an anxious person, but it snuck inside my heart like a thief when I reached adulthood. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with feelings of unease. My heart would beat so wildly inside my chest that I could see it pulsing from the outside, and my mind would flood with worse case scenarios. I couldn’t put words to what I was feeling for a long time because I had never experienced anything like this before, and no one had ever explained what an anxiety attack was. I felt lost and alone until I realized that these tidal waves of worry only happened when I tried to control every area of my life.

Anxiety is all about looking forward; it has its eyes locked on tomorrow because you can’t be worried about something that’s already happened. It whispers lies about how we won’t have enough or that we aren’t doing enough. And at the core of every anxious thought is the idea that we could ever actually be enough. The reason why that idea sticks so well in our hearts is that it’s true; we can’t ever be enough (now before you slam your computer shut, hear me out). But we have the choice to either let that truth set us free or wrap us in chains. On one side, anxiety is waiting to bind us in shame and unrealistic expectations about how we can somehow get our “enough-ness” back. On the other side is the freedom that comes from knowing that only Christ can complete us so we can stop trying to do it ourselves, and the weight that falls off our shoulders when we realize that is like a breath of fresh air.

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

Matthew 6:30

When I feel anxiety start to wrap its icy fingers around my heart, I know that I need to drop what I’ve been holding in my hands and run back to the Lord. My anxiety is a signal that I’ve been trying to keep the world together instead of trusting that the Lord has it under control. When we worry and stress, we’re telling God that we don’t trust Him, that His plan for us isn’t as good as the one that we created for ourselves. Anxiety tells us that we have to do it all on our own; no one will help us, especially not a God who feels farther and farther away every day. We don’t realize that those feelings have slowly lead us away from the refuge of God. They’ve taken us by the hand and walked us into the middle of the forest, where the trees are so close together the sun can’t touch the ground. And they’ve left us there. God feels far away in moments of anxiety because we’re crushed by the darkness we’ve wandered into.

The truly amazing part is that God doesn’t leave us in that forest. He doesn’t write us off and leave us to be consumed by the demons lurking in the shadows. God steps into the darkness with us. He holds out His hand, inviting us to trust Him once again. And He’ll lead us out of the forest. This doesn’t happen all at once, and it’s not a one-time thing. Anxiety and self-sufficiency have a beautiful siren song that will lure us outside the gates of our holy refuge and into the woods beyond time and again. But there are wildflowers along the way, little reminders that if the Lord is patient and caring with the smallest parts of His creation, how much more does He care about us.

What would happen if, like the flowers of the field, we grew towards the source of our life? If we set our focus on the Lord every moment of the day, and we let our stress and anxiety fall to the wayside. Would we finally find that wildflower freedom? Would we experience the peace that comes with knowing we are not responsible for our “enough-ness” because we are resting in the arms of our Saviour? I desperately want the peace, assurance, and freedom that comes with trusting the God of wildflowers with my life. How about you?

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