The pain was real.

After we gave birth to our first born, our lives were to say the least very busy. It turns out keeping another human being alive is more than a full-time job.

To grant me a little solace of my old life, my wife let me go to the gym to play basketball one evening for an hour. I went, broke a sweat, had a good time, and gleefully came home.

On the way home however, the pain suddenly hit me. It was the pain of the loss of freedom in my life.

I reflected back on how a few years ago when I got married, how I grieved the loss of freedoms being a single bachelor-doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted with no one to answer to. This loss paled in comparison to the restrictions now enacted with a little one in our care.

No more basketball, no more late nights, no more hanging out whenever, or traveling to wherever-the pain of the loss of freedom hit me on the way back home.

In that pain, the Holy Spirit spoke to me on that drive something both amazing and encouraging:

He said, “Yes Phil, when you got married you lost your freedoms. But you became a better man.”

He was so right.

I became a better man after I got married. I became more self-aware, more humble, less self-absorbed, more giving, more responsible. And the people around me reaped the fruits of God transforming and molding my life through the process of marriage.

And as I stand on the precipice of another life stage which calls for further restrictions, while I was initially pained by the loss of certain freedoms, I am reminded that God sees differently.

He sees that freedom is overrated, but that right living is precious in his eyes.

The choice to do whatever, whenever, for whoever is eclipsed by the joy of doing the right things, at the right time, for the right people. I am thankful for the joys afforded me because I am married, and now because I have a child.

And I am thankful that God affords me great joy, not restriction, with the progressions he calls me to enter into.