Thank you, Scott Berkum, for this postaday idea! You have some interesting questions listed with the idea – What does freedom mean? People talk about freedom all the time, but what does it mean in real life? Is a person who has a job truly free? What about the responsibilities of having a family or a friend? It’s one thing to be free to make a choice, but after a choice is made, are we truly free anymore? Are these questions, perhaps, a window into your own thinking that tells us more about you?
I suppose there is freedom – lower case f – and Freedom – upper case F – and then, there’s FREEDOM!
I will define freedom along the lines of freedom from, the kind of freedom for which adolescents search and extend as they discover their own identities, begin to make their own decisions, and separate from their parents to establish their independence. I think this category also includes corporate separations and establishing independence like, well, like the United States of America and the reason for the 4th of July. The freedom from might also include asserting rights and making claims on one’s freedom to live away from harm and uncertainty. It seems freedom from tends to close doors, often times doors that need to be closed, but it does close them.
Then there is Freedom. This is more along the lines of freedom to. This could include the freedom to choose to be generous and kind or the freedom to make the choice to associate with one group of people, but not another. It also includes the freedom to make wrong choices, to cause suffering and harm or the freedom to just not get involved. Or the freedom to stand up and be counted as a voice for the oppressed and abused. Freedom to opens doors as a result of choice, and when the door is opened we often find ourselves with an unexpected opportunity to grow and learn – and hopefully to not find that we have been plunged into Pandora’s Box with the opening.
Ah, and now we get to FREEDOM. I will refer to this as true freedom. True freedom empowers. True freedom releases. True freedom invites us into a life of reaching out to others in genuine love, to offer the gift of our complete presence – without distractions or delusions or the distortions of warped view of life and expectations. True freedom is able to look on oneself and on others with eyes of grace and mercy and to offer the life-giving gift of forgiveness and hope. Through humility, true freedom seeks the redemption of every hurt and disappointment. By faith, true freedom offers healing inwardly and in turn to others as they witness the difference. True freedom offers the immeasurable gift of contentment and peace. True freedom provides the power to break every negative internal vow one has uttered and the bondage that vow left in its wake.
For me, freedom means FREEDOM. And I find that freedom in my relationship with God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This FREEDOM results in interdependence, not independence. And for that, I am truly eternally grateful!