A kaleidoscope of memories probably churns in most of our minds of carefree moments with family and friends during our childhood. My memories include winters spent building snow forts, sledding, and contests of who could form the most authentic snow angel. Summers months held the excitement of fishing, swimming, or riding bikes. My favorite summer evening activity involved playing “Kick the Can.”
The childhood game of Kick the Can consisted of someone being “it.” That person would hide their eyes and count to a certain number while the rest of the kids spread across the neighborhood to hide. Then the person who was it would search for the hidden playmates while also guarding the can that was base. The goal was for someone to sneak back to the can and kick it while loudly shouting, “Olly olly oxen free!” That meant we were all safe and could return to base free and clear. The same person was still it and the game continued.
Excitement hung in the air as we hid behind trees, enveloped in darkness and hoping not to be discovered. We barely breathed, waiting for our moment to run and kick the can, yelling, “Olly olly oxen free!” My best hiding places never failed me. I kicked the can the most, but nothing was sweeter than one of my friends reaching the can on behalf of all of us lurking in the shadows. As an adult, I look back on those memories fondly.
Late one night as I was close to drifting off to sleep, God revealed a different perspective of this childhood game. He whispered, “I kicked the can and set you free. Don’t let the enemy’s lies or the fear of captivity keep you sequestered in darkness.”
Realizing the truth in His words, I pondered how often I run away and hide in the dark, concealing my sin, hoping not to be caught. Hunkered down in the bushes, isolated in billowing doubts, praying for an opportunity to run unhindered. The enemy would like nothing better than for us to remain isolated by the fear of what lies beyond. He wants us to believe we can’t follow our course or that we’re not good enough to race with abandon. But we must remember we have a Savior who proclaims in John 8:36, So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Suddenly I hear the clink of the metal can rolling across the street, and I hear Jesus’ voice echoing through time, “Olly olly oxen free!”
About Shelley Pulliam
Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media. https://www.instagram.com/shelleypulliam/