We hear the word freedom used quite a bit here in America, and I would hazard to say most people have an idea of what that word means to them. I can’t help but wonder if much of the meaning hasn’t been lost over the past couple of centuries. Oh sure, we still have our basic freedoms of speech, religion and assembly, at least on paper, and that’s good. But what about freedom in the personal sense, the freedom to be who you were made to be? Does that still exist, or has society slowly pressured all of us to be what fits in? I believe each and every one of us was uniquely created, in the image of God, to be one of a kind. Special. An expression of some part of his nature. What we find today is incredible pressure to conform in almost every aspect of life. It starts in childhood – school, family, friends, work and even the church, have molds to squeeze us into. We are all expected to sit down, shut up, and not make any waves. We are especially not supposed to make anyone else uncomfortable, even for a moment. Don’t dare to be different or ask questions about the way things are. It’s all “for your own good”. We have come a long way. “Rugged individualism” has been replaced by the “tyranny of the majority” as Ray Bradbury called it.
Wouldn’t it be strange if everyone suddenly refused to conform anymore? I’m not talking about breaking any laws or hurting anyone. I’m talking about taking off the mask that is your public persona and the handcuffs and leg irons that have subtly and slowly bound most of us in obligation and conformity. Become the real you that you were made to be. Does the thought of that stir something in your heart?
So, what does the word freedom mean for each one of us? And how do I get free, really free? This is not a subject to be resolved quickly or lightly. It will require a lifetime of discussion, thought and prayer.