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The Key to Freedom Is Inside

March 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Book Club, Sarah Reinhard

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Interior Freedom (Week 2 of 5)

Under God's gaze, we are delivered from the constraint of having to be “the best” or perpetually having to be “winners.” We have a deep sense of release, because we don't have to make constant efforts to show ourselves in a favorable light or waste energy pretending to be what we are not. We can quite simply be what we are. There is no better form of “relaxation” than to rest like little children in the tenderness of a Father who loves us just as we are.

We find it so difficult to accept our own deficiencies because we imagine they make us unloveable. Since we are defective in this or that aspect, we feel that we do not deserve to be loved. Living under God's gaze makes us realize how mistaken that is. Love is given freely, it's not deserved, and our deficiencies don't prevent God from loving us–just the opposite! Thus we are freed of the terrible, despair-inducing sense that we must become “good enough” to deserve to be loved.

Interior Freedom, Chapter I:2, “Freedom to be sinners, freedom to become saints,” Paragraphs 4-5 (p. 39-40)

The Key to Freedom is Inside

Before this book, I had never heard of Fr. Jacques Philippe. And honestly? I had no desire to read this book.

What the heck is “interior freedom” supposed to mean? I wondered almost out loud. And why do I care?

Don't get me wrong: I do care. Very much. I'm very invested in this whole Catholic thing. And yet…and yet, lately, there's been this sort of “enh” going through me. Maybe it's burnout. Maybe it's weariness. Maybe…well, maybe I just don't know.

I know, I know. There's at least one person reading this who's slapping their forehead.

This section, in particular, made me realize that this book is exactly what I need to be reading right now. As it turns out, this book is articulating things that have been on my heart that I haven't been able to name.

That thing I've been searching for? Its name is interior freedom.

You mean interior freedom is what will get me closer to God? Well…if I'm understanding what I'm reading, then I think the answer's yes. The little girl in me–the one who ran down the driveway after Daddy's truck with her pigtails flying behind her, not wanting him to leave for the parts store without her–is breathing a sigh of relief.

I can stop running. Turns out, he hadn't even started the truck yet.

I've always been one to want to be The Best. (Yes, it is capitalized, just like that.) I want to know the most, be top student, get the gold star. I want to earn Daddy's love, because he won't be able to resist me and how much I know, how good I am, how brightly I shine.

What I realized, reading this, was that I have longed–maybe my whole life–to just relax. To be me, the me He created me to be. Not to have to prove myself, not to have to to do one more thing.

My confessor and spiritual director has been reminding me for quite some time that I'm a human being not a human doing.

“There is no better form of “relaxation” than to rest like little children in the tenderness of a Father who loves us just as we are,” writes Fr. Philippe. Across the room, a small child curls in the crook of my husband's arm. It's an image I cherish, in the seeing and in the experiencing.

Reading Assignment:

Week 3: Pages 60-87

Discussion Questions:

1. If you stopped trying to be “the best” or a “winner,” what could you do to grow spiritually? How might you spend that time with God or give that time and effort to God?

2. When you consider Fr. Philippe's invitation to feel the release of just being what you are, what does that look like? What do you see when you picture yourself resting like a little child in your Father's lap?

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at and is the author of a number of books for families.

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