With the approach of the 4th of July, liberty, freedom, and independence are the watchwords uppermost in our minds. We enjoy many forms of freedom in America, yet often take those freedoms for granted. While we associate this July holiday with national independence, in a broader sense, freedom also includes personal liberty.
Sometimes, we allow freedom thieves to rob us of personal liberty. Following are a few of those freedom-robbing thieves:
Your past has the power to propel or prevent; to move you forward or hold you back. Gleaning life lessons from the past equips us to avoid pitfalls and make wiser decisions. Conversely, if we allow it, the past can mire us in negativity and hold us captive. It’s up to you to decide if your past will spur forward motion or create a backward-looking mentality.
Resentment is a sneaky little nemesis that ties us to the past and colors our perception. Resentment stems from a perceived insult or injury and can be directed toward a person or entity. Like a tangled vine, unforgiveness intertwines with hurt feelings to form chains of resentment. When you harbor resentment, you place yourself in leg irons that shackle the heart and mind.
When you harbor resentment, you place yourself in leg irons that shackle the heart and mind.
Fear is high on the list of things that rob us of freedom and impede forward motion. Self-confidence and courage diminish when fear takes over, gluing us to the familiar and preventing us from stepping out in faith. Worry is fear’s twin. Like fear, worry cheats us of the joy of today and casts a shadow on tomorrow. Corrie ten Boom said it best, “Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.”
It’s part of human nature to want to be liked, but people pleasing is a trap that steals personal freedom and keeps you occupied with activities that are often not in your best interest. People exist who care more about their agenda, and controlling those around them, than they do about you. Don’t confuse pleasing others with a heart of service. Ask God for wisdom on releasing yourself from pleasing others and focus to learn what pleases him.
A close relative to people pleasing is involvement in a toxic relationship. Often, the toxic nature of a relationship isn’t immediately apparent. It may feel like concern, even love, but any relationship that includes manipulation, control, or forms of abuse is unhealthy and negates personal freedom. If you find yourself in a relationship where you are doing all the work, all the giving, and the other person is doing all the taking, you need to distance yourself.
Guilt is one of Satan’s most effective weapons. Whether someone else imposes guilt on you or you place guilt on yourself, blaming and self-reproach are detrimental. You can’t be all God intended you to be when guilt imprisons you, so break free.
All of us have sin in our lives, but thankfully, God is loving and forgiving, if we admit sins. Accept God’s gracious gift of forgiveness and live in freedom.
“At last we have freedom, for Christ has set us free! We must always cherish this truth and firmly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past” (Galatians 5:1 TPT).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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