This week we had one lovely, blustery day. I took the boys up to the local playing field with a few kites and the intention to fly them. After a rather dodgy start with one kite whose string frayed through and another that refused to fly at all, we finally got one up in the air and flying beautifully. The boys eventually lost interest and went off to play in the playground whilst I continued to hold meditatively onto the handle of the kite, enjoying the sensation of the gentle tugging, the feeling of being connected to the wind high above me and the sight of the coloured kite swirling and twirling in the air like a party streamer. I imagined the kite was trying to free itself from the tether of the string and fly free across the sky.
This idea got me thinking. Am I like a kite that feels tethered and wants to be free? What is tying me down and stopping me from swooping and flying? It would be easy to imagine that when I committed my life to God as a Christian, to following Him only, I tethered myself like the kite. Initially this thought felt awkward and restricting and I had to wrestle with it for a moment, but then came a divine flash of insight. I imagined myself letting go of the kite to allow it to fly free, I imagined what would happen to that kite....
It would be blown chaotically across the sky, it would no longer hold its shape, it would swoop off in random directions, we wouldn't be able to see it's beautiful colours, the string would get tangled and wrapped around itself, it would likely get stuck in a tree or else drop to the floor still and lifeless, tumbling across the playing field like an abandoned crisp packet. The kite was free, but was it able to show its best? Could the kite live it's best life untethered? I realised with clarity that no, it couldn't.
For me in that moment this was very much an analogy of life with God. When we tether ourselves to God, it can appear like we are no longer free, like we are restricted, tied down, but in fact when we tether ourselves we can become the best version of ourselves possible. With God holding the string our beautiful colours show, we can swoop and twirl in the wind in a beautiful and intentional display as the wind fills us and allows us to fly as high as possible, bold and bright against the sky, tail and ribbons dancing joyfully in the wind. This is not the chaos and collapse of life without a tether. What's more, with God we are protected, he keeps us safe from blowing away, we cannot get lost and are less likely to get stuck in a tree, he tucks us under his wing during a storm. Of course sometimes the wind drops and we flop, but we can always trust that God is holding us in the low times and if we do get tangled in branches, when we are tethered to God we can trust that he is going to climb that tree to us and get us down when we call for help.
I am so thankful to live a life tethered to God, I am thankful that because I have asked him to, and invited him into my life, He has hold tight of me and won't let me go. I am thankful that I can be my best self when I trust in His word and love and I am thankful that He is my protector in times of trouble, the one who is always there for me, whom I can always turn to, who shares in my joys and sadness and cares for me as a perfect father who cares for His child. The exquisite freedom that is granted when I am being tethered to God is far more beautiful, joyful and satisfying that any supposed freedom the world has to offer.
But the amazing thing about God is that he doesn't force us to be tethered, he doesn't make us be held, he gives us ultimate freedom to choose to be tied to him or not. And there is one thing that I am coming to learn, not just from flying kites but from understanding God and it is as Thomas Watson says: "To serve God, to love God, to enjoy God, is the sweetest freedom in the world."