Signing My Life Away

johnhancock The first time I signed a legal document I was 19 years old. The story is long and interesting and someday I will tell you the whole thing, but here is the short of it: I was raised to believe that my yes was yes and that was enough. Legalities shmegalities, best to keep yourself as unencumbered by law as possible, never know when you'll need an out.

So when I walked into that small office and "signed my life away," as it was phrased to me, I felt my every organ constrict and the bile rise quickly.

This is what fear does to a heart meant to be free, I thought. I signed my name Lore A. Ferguson and initialed elsewhere LAF and I was doing anything but laughing. I looked over my shoulder as I left the office, certain Big Brother had attached himself to me and my every move would be surmised and calculated henceforth.

That was 12 years ago and since then I've signed my name away. Leases, liens, school loans, "the borrower is the slave to the lender," and I feel my slavery to the system. I am grateful for wise parents who did not give an allowance for meager tasks, nor did they spend extravagantly on their children. "He who does not work, does not eat," was often quoted; "Go to the ant, you sluggard," was often sung. Work for what you eat, earn, and keep, for work makes you a better person—only do not sign your name on a dotted line or someone else will own you, free and clear.

This week I was given four separate and unrelated legal documents to sign. Each one varies in nature and term. Some present me with opportunities I never dreamed of and some bind me to a commitment my soul balks against. I feel a slave to a lender. Even if I borrow nothing, I borrow time.

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In a series on the local church my church has termed The Dearest Place, we have been learning about contracts and covenants, commitments and communing and here is what I leave each week with: my time is not my own, nor are my resources. My money is never mine, my body is never mine, even my soul is not mine. Our good Father has stewarded every resource to us for our good and His glory and we are owed nothing from Him and owe nothing to others but love (Romans 13:8). The law has set us free from sin and death—but not the law alone—the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2).

I may be bound by school debt, contractual obligations, and legal documents filled with legalese, but I am fully free in Christ to steward what He has given me to steward. It is for freedom that we have been set free—and that freedom doesn't give me carte blanche to do as I please, but fully binds me to Him to do as He pleases.

He is my freedom and my Master, my lender and my giver, my full sufficiency and the one to whom I can never pay back what I owe.

He pierces my ear with his ownership and keeps me from harm. I can sign my name in confidence (with wisdom) on documents because they remind me I am but dust and He holds my days, my finances, my commitments, and my resources in His hands. I can sign my name with confidence because He has signed His name with His blood.