Loving God freely and fully

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Free will is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

It amazes me that God would give each of us free will, that he trusts me so much that he wants to let me choose how to live my life, to choose how I want to serve him. This basic fact tells us so much about our God's character, so much about love itself. He doesn't want to control us; true love is free from control. He wants our love freely and willingly, and he wants us to freely and willingly choose the ways in which we delight in loving him.

I don't think I've ever fully appreciated the fact that God has given me a free will, or really understood what that means. I've known that God gave us free will to choose whether we wanted to serve him or not, but I subconsciously thought that once I chose to serve God my free will ended and I had to go chasing after some predetermined purpose that was God's plan for me.

I'm starting to understand God is so much bigger, more mysterious and more loving than that, and that he values and treasures the desires he's etched on my heart. He knows my purpose because he knows me, what I love and how I will choose to love.

In his book "New Seeds of Contemplation," Thomas Merton writes, "We are free beings and sons [daughters] of God. This means to say that we should not passively exist, but actively participate in his creative freedom, in our lives To work out our own identity in God. is a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears. It demands close attention to reality at every moment and great fidelity to God as he reveals himself, obscurely, in the mystery of each new situation."

Too many times I passively exist, missing out on good things because I'm not sure if it's what God wants for me. While I believe there are times in life when waiting on God to reveal himself and his plans in his timing is good and right and beautiful, I also think God wants us to use our free will to choose how we want to serve him. This takes trust, faith and complete reliance on him.

If we let God into each experience of our lives, he is so big and so good that he will reveal himself to us through every single choice, showing us something about ourselves that draws us closer to him and to who we are at the depths of his heart.

God is not a slave driver, and he does not treat me as his slave. I am his daughter, his friend, his beloved, and I am free to choose how to love the God who wants me to love him freely and fully. This free choice is what makes my love for God and his love for me so beautiful.

Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple -- not necessarily in that order.

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