Ahhhhh. To be free.
According to Merriam-Webster, F R E E D O M is defined as the quality or state of being free, meaning that F R E E D O M, in its true authenticity, is NOT temporary, nor is it a mood, vibe, etc. F R E E D O M is NOT something that comes every now and again to visit us. F R E E D O M is a state of being, it’s a condition. It’s a quality of life.
This week, my sister and I launched our brand-new podcast, Freedom Podcast, and we’re super excited to share our personal experiences, lessons learned, viewpoints, beliefs etc. that have led us to TRUE F R E E D O M. Even more so, we’re excited to help others obtain and maintain the F R E E D O M they deserve. Truth me be told, we were all created to be F R E E. Genesis 1:26-28 states how we (humans) were created in the image of God to RULE over the earth and everything in it (under the power of God). We were created to be ON TOP, but sometimes life can really knock us down. F R E E D O M does not come with convenience or ease. In my opinion, one cannot truly appreciate and embrace true F R E E D O M unless they have experienced bondage.
When I was in my early 20s, I remember just thinking to myself, “I just wish I could have peace.” My mind was often more full of toxic thoughts than positive. It seemed like if it wasn’t one thing bothering me, it was another. Because I wasn’t super happy with my life, I indulged in a lot of escapism. I remember excessive fantasizing – fantasizing about being another person, living another life, etc. When I wasn’t indulging in a fantasy realm I created in my mind, I often ran to music, movies, and whatever else deterred my attention from the various negative thoughts plaguing my young mind.
I remember being SO TOXIC, I couldn’t even accept love from others (except from family). Somewhere along the line, I convinced myself that no one was really for me, except for my family. I didn’t trust anyone outside of my family. I began to question my friends – many who had been loyal since day 1. Suspicion and paranoia led me to really believe what I now realize were some serious lies that were indeed planted by Satan, but at the time I wasn’t spiritually aware, so I really believed these things were true – even though I had NO EVIDENCE. I viewed everything with such negativity. Everything was an insult, I took offense very easily. I took a declined invitation to hangout as rejection (like folks really not wanting to be around me). I always felt like all my other friends were closer to one another than they were to me – like I was the oddball.
Around 21 or 22 I cut EVERYONE off (except my family). I convinced myself that the FOLKS AROUND me were the issue and I would be much better off if I got rid of them – so I did. The wickedness of my heart actually rejoiced in the fact that I hurt them because I felt that they were hurting me. Nothing sweeter than revenge right(….WRONG!). I loved it when I got messages with people asking me, “Diana where are you??”. A major attention-seeking stunt executed with perfection. I promise you I was the MASTER of cutting people off. I just did it – and felt good about it. I’ve even cut off certain family in the past, and I thought NOTHING of it – in fact I was happy.
Around 18 or 19, there was a guy who REALLY liked me. He was so sweet. We worked together at Giant while I was on summer break from college. We bonded pretty quickly and we started hanging out. I enjoyed his company, he enjoyed mine. Out of all the guys who ever liked me, he was one of the MOST decent. He NEVER tried anything stupid when we were alone. He NEVER disrespected me. He just liked me for me. But I wasn’t in a healthy enough place to accept the genuineness of his kindness and care towards me. SO, what did I do? Broke his heart. Just like with all the others, I didn’t believe he genuinely liked me like that. I figured he had some impure motive like everyone else – mind you, like I previously said, he was nothing but sweet and kind towards me. So where did all those crazy thoughts come from and why did I believe them? As I matured over the years (spiritually and naturally), my regret for hurting others grew deeper and deeper.
It wasn’t until around my mid-twenties I realized that the issue wasn’t with everyone around me- the issues was ME. Let me tell you, the FIRST step towards F R E E D O M is acknowledgement. Don’t ever expect to get set free if you plan on remaining in denial. We all have to be honest with ourselves, and to others. The moment I realized and acknowledged my own dysfunction and toxicity, chains started breaking off of my life and F R E E D O M turned from a mere dream to a reality – a reality I am able to enjoy today. I began to really evaluate my life, my attitudes, my habits – EVERYTHING about my being. Of course, I didn’t do it alone.
Faith. Prayer. Worship. The word (a.k.a the Bible). Obedience. The ingredients to F R E E D O M. The F R E E D O M I am referring to is not a freedom that can be obtained through any natural avenues. There are many coping mechanisms and bandaids like substance abuse, avoidance (my former favorite), denial, projection (another one of my favs), excessive sex, etc.; however, the Lord provides access to a type of F R E E D O M that has absolutely nothing to do with external factors. His F R E E D O M allows us to soar like eagles when storms are raging. His F R E E D O M is an inner peace – a DEEP knowing that everything will always be ok (even when it doesn’t feel ok). This deep knowing allows us to live by the truths (set forth in God’s word), and those truths are what make us free (John 8:31-32).
The TRUTH is that Jesus gave His life for the ENTIRE human race – NO ONE IS EXEMPT, regardless of your ethnicity, sexuality, lifestyle, etc. Perfection (Jesus) died (and arose) for imperfection (us). Purity (Jesus) died (and rose) for perversion (our sins). With every drop of blood, Jesus hung on the cross and poured out His life (body trembling I can image), so that we may be saved (2 Corinthians 5:15-21), filled with His Holy Spirit (John 14:15-18; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12), and live FREE (Galatians 5:1), enjoying every fruit of His spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, goodness, self-control, kindness, and gentleness (Galatians 5:22-23).
It is vital to emphasize the FACT that F R E E D O M is not a one-time deal where you get it and go on about life as normal. No ma’am. No sir. Like anything else valuable, F R E E D O M must be maintained. It must be CHERISHED like finest of treasures. Let’s Revisit Galatians 5:1 from above. Paul specifically reminds the churches of Galatia that they are FREE and they MUST NOT allow themselves to get trapped in bondage again. This is exactly why we MUST allow the Holy Spirit to really rest upon our hearts and reign in our lives so we can remain in a place of faith, empowerment, strength, and victory (Galatians 5:16-21; Romans 8:6). When we try to strive for freedom in our natural strength, we only end up exhausted and frustrated. We may achieve temporary relief and pseudo-freedom, but only by God’s strength can we truly LIVE and DWELL in a place of F R E E D O M – the F R E E D O M we were created to dwell in.
Now, I’m not saying that F R E E D O M equates to having NO issues in life and living on a constant high. C’mon. Even Jesus (the Son of God and the radiance of God in the flesh while on earth – Hebrews 1:3) experienced the vast range of human emotion, from sadness (John 11:35) to anger (Matthew 21:12-13), so why should we expect to breeze through life with no pain, challenges, suffering, etc.? F R E E D O M means that we can have problems, but our problems don’t have us because we rely on the Lord as our strength, knowing that we are under absolutely NO DOMINION or POWER BUT HIS (which is the GREATEST AND HIGHEST POWER), so WE WIN.
This is F R E E D O M. Many more experiences to share. Stay tuned and follow _freedom_podcast on Instagram.