Freedom Has A Face

Freedom smiles. Freedom loves unconditionally. Freedom celebrates others. Freedom asks for help. Freedom hugs. Freedom gives self-selflessly. Freedom fights for others. Freedom accepts everyone. Freedom does not take offence. Freedom does not defend itself. Freedom is always available.
Unless you are in physical chains, no one can hold you in bondage. It is the things we value that hold us in bondage. Let go of fear of loss and you will have a glossy, fast, abundant life.

You lose freedom when you surrender it to the control of another, knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly. We were created to co-exist with individual freedoms that serve others through willing submission not control. Submission is voluntary with expectation of reward; control is forced, carrying threat of punishment. The intention of controlling, manipulating, intimidating people is to hold another or others hostage. They use emotional intimidation, which when coupled with poor faith or doubt that you are worth God’s deliverance; even the thought that God can miraculously pitch and part your Red Sea sends you into the deep abyss of despair, fear and hopelessness. I have learned that hurting people hurt others. Fearful people spread terror to others. Fear has no boundaries. It is in the palaces and the slums, boardrooms and playgrounds, offices and gardens, in churches and covens. When you observe controlling people you should wonder what their fear is.

No one truly lives unless and until they obtain freedom emotionally and spiritually, even if they are physically in chains. One of Mahatma Gandhi’s quotes says “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.” You see, I have personally been in that position where I felt like I was boxed in without a way out. I got to a point where I felt life wasn’t worth it anymore. It is at that point that I questioned my position and options and realised that rather I surrender to God so my faith isn’t worthless. After a long period of fasting and prayer and wailing and seeking God for help, I got the most liberating answer. It was divine revelation! Didn’t Jesus say “I came to set captives free?” Or did He say “I came to set the oppressed free”. I searched up and it said more than I could ever want: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, (Luke 4:18 NIV). And in that moment I realised that if I continue to walk in bondage to fear then my faith would be in vain and Jesus would have died for nothing! Viola! I decided to take a stand. Fear fell. I purpose to walk in love and total freedom. I purpose to adorn myself with armour and become a warrior for freedom. I shall intentionally make everyday count towards the freedom of others.

The crunch is when you start to take your freedom back. Once you have given away your power, it is a struggle to take and maintain your ground. You have to battle all sorts fears: loss of loved ones, loss of luxuries, loss of status, physical harm, loss of money, starting afresh in a competitive world, polishing up skills, competing against experience, and lots more. However, a glimpse of freedom is so beautiful and so bright and so full of promise of life that it is worth dying for. Many warriors have fought and died for liberation. Once you see what freedom is like and what it has to offer, you realise that the agent of your bondage was and is fear. Mandela said “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” He said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

I am not a psychologist but I know from experience what it is like to lose your freedom and what it is like to take it back and battle to possess and maintain territory. We always assume that the opposite of love is hate. But according to the Bible, the opposite of love is fear! There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

I have not fully understood how that is, but I can only surmise that ‘Love brings life. Fear brings death. Love makes alive; fear kills. Now you can see how ‘Freedom has a face’. If you look around you can see freedom in loving people and actions. In fact, I would like to explore the notion that ‘Freedom has a Scent.” Those who can’t see it can smell it! Freedom has a Flavour. It can be savoured. Will you lay down your burden and Live intentionally today. Take your steps towards freedom. Spread your wings and fly.

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Intentionally Celebrating Motherhood

It is a privilege to be a mother in any form – birth mother, step mother, foster mother, surrogate mother, sisterly mother, spiritual mother, praying moms, warrior moms. Whatever front you find yourself at, celebrate yourself. Motherhood is indeed for one and all. All mothers are supermoms, superheroes and phenomenal moms. Mothers wield a certain grit and virtue that no other being possesses. To all the mothers out there, Bravo! Hip hip hooray! You are lit! Your rock the cradle and rule the world. Let’s toast to that.

Today, I was reminded of times in the 1970s in Uganda when we lived under fear of being victimised by the ruling government. One day as I watched my father polish his guns, I asked mom what he had them for. She told me to shoot down anyone who comes after him and the family. I expressed my concern that they would be too numerous for one. She told me that she had been taught how to use them and she would take on one front. I believed her. When essential commodites like sugar, salt and paraffin got scarce and were rationed, my mom knew how to make daily tea time work. She got some workers to pound sugarcane in a mother and then she boiled it to use for tea. When that got tedious, she resorted to mashing up bananas, mix them in the tea then sieve it. The texture of the tea wasn’t preserved but the family had their daily supply of tea! When she heard, from my fathers, about certain leaves that made soap suds and could be used to wash, she sent us to the river where we washed some of our clothes -for the experience. By the age of 9 years old I knew everything I needed to know about the Cold War and its impact on our lives. I have taken many things from her but her zest for life, and determination to never miss an opportunity to rejoice and dance and do the things that make you happy has stuck with me! As she turns 80 years old, with aching back, hips and joints she outdances many half her age. That, beloved, is living intentionally. Hardship of life has never clouded her purpose in life. She gives of all she has, receives gracefully and never shies away from asking for what she needs. She defends her children ferociously and sets them free to fly. She never waits to be celebrated but celebrates herself and all others. Mom intentionally celebrates life through her gratitude gestures and the way she treats herself.

What’s your move! Will you compartmentalise your issues and allocate a bigger slot to edification of self and others, everyday. Forget that vendetta you have against the mom in your life and celebrate her because you do not know what she has been through to give you a good life. Free her to free yourself. You deserve to love, live, celebrate.

My Pride