An old friend of mine posted that line as his facebook status a couple of years ago and I commented a question mark back at him. The line honestly did not ring a bell in my mind- I thought my friend had somehow really gotten stuck in Louisiana. Or maybe there was some greater philosophical meaning in the status update. Nope- maybe Val was just being dumb. Yes, I know...the horror...the unrelenting horror of not instantly recognizing the lyrics to one of the greatest songs of all time!
Haha. There is my shame, dear readers, for all the world to know. But in case that lyrical line's not registering for you either, it is from the song Me and Bobby McGee, written by Kris Kristofferson and made famous by the late Janis Joplin. I personally believe Mr Kristofferson was a much better songwriter than actor, but that is a discussion for another day. There is a very famous line in the song I want to focus on:
"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose..."
(You are all singing it in your heads right now aren't you?)
That line has honestly never really made sense to me. When I think of freedom, I think of God Bless America, The Star Spangled Banner, our flag, liberty...you know...FREEDOM. I suppose I have a very American view of freedom. I've had hurt, junk, and issues in my life, so freedom also means forgiveness, healing, restoration and a new start. And I ache for freedom for the victims of child sex trafficking all over the world. The word freedom has always been a positive thing in my mind. Sacrificial, yes. But hopeful, a cry, a mantra.
But in the song, freedom is not really positive is it? It is what one has when there are no responsibilities, and nothing to truly care about losing.
Our family pastor, Billy, has been speaking to the youth group about our identities lately. A few Wednesday nights ago, he spoke about "Davids". Davids we know in real life, and the David in the Bible. You know, the Shepherd, Goliath killer, leader and King. I won't go into all the details here, but David was a man who learned from an early age who he was. He was born with an identity and he embraced it, rising to great power and honor. He was very responsible throughout his formative years.
But all that changed one gorgeous Spring. He sent a trusted leader out with his army...armies apparently went out every Spring to fight, cause that's what they did....Hooah! David stayed at the palace. We can assume he was just hanging out, basking in being the most powerful man in the known universe, not really doing much. He had given away his responsibility to others, so his hands and mind were idle.
Then he took a late night stroll on his roof and we all know the rest. There's another song about that, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, but we better not discuss that one here.
Billy said something very important here and suddenly the line from Me and Bobby McGee made sense, and a whole lot else too:
David forgot who he was...he forgot his identity as Shepherd, Slayer of Giants, Leader, King, Man after God's own heart...and he swapped his responsibility for FREEDOM.
See- Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. But David had plenty to lose. Boy did that situation get ugly quick! The king had a man murdered, a brave soldier and faithful husband, just to try to cover up his moral failure when it was known Bathsheba was pregnant with his child. We could get picky here and say David was the king and could have any woman he wanted. Yes, he could. It was called Royal Rape, he got it whether the girl wanted to give it or not. But David wasn't like that. He knew right from wrong, regardless of what power his position gave to him.
David forgot his identity. He forgot who he was. Have you ever done that, in any area of your life? I have.
There are about a million reasons why we might forget who we are...stress, discontent, temptation, an easy way out, ambition, pride, desperation, a short-cut to what we might truly desire in our lives...we could list causes endlessly here. Sometimes we are still searching for our identity- we all have seasons of searching in our lives, yes? Those times usually lead to great personal growth and renewed purpose, becoming who we were born to be.
We all fall. If the man God actually called a "man after His own heart" could fall so hard, we all can. A lot of destruction and death resides in that story. But God didn't give up on David. And David didn't give up on himself either. He did eventually remember his identity and live it once again.
I have been sitting here for about twenty minutes now trying to conjure a witty ending to tie into the song and title of this blog post. I don't really have anything. Just two thoughts:
-Find your identity.
-Live your identity, even when it's hard and hurts.
Oh, and another...Onnie rocks out that song like nobody's business when she sings it.
There- a song tie-in. :)
Be who you are meant to be. Peace dear readers.