Choosing to be Free

“So often we allow ourselves to be bound by outside influences, which have no real power over us…with the exception of what we give to them…”

— Rick Cox

I find it a sad indictment that we who live in the land of the free and home of the brave, which happens to be a country where humans enjoy more freedoms than anywhere in the world are so imprisoned by our own negative thoughts, fears, and the many limitations we place on ourselves. There is a way to get out of this thinking however, and this is to continually think the way a child thinks. As a child we believed we could do, achieve and become anything. There was nothing that could stop us that is until we began to think the way of most adults for as an adult we allow what we think we know to bind us from being free to imagine and create that which we need to get where we want. Said another way, freedom is in the heart and soul not in your physical circumstances.

If you will take the time to look around it will not be long before you see one person after another who is in slavery to, or imprisoned by something, which they have the ability to control. I am not talking about physical slavery or prison. I am talking about emotional, psychological and spiritual prison. These people have allowed the thoughts and ideas of others to enslave and thus keep them bound to the point they are unable to think on their own. They have permitted their own fears, even here in the home of the brave, to stop them from taking the necessary steps toward growth and maturity. Although they do in fact live in the land of the free and home of the brave they wallow in self-pity all the while blaming others for their situation. They will tell you they can’t let go of the pity parties, angers, bitterness, unforgiving heart, fears, hatred, jealousies, etc. These people are not free, but slaves to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, money, sex, and the opinions of others. They allow other things to control them therefore; they are not free due to the fact they are held captive to these things.

Freedom as stated above is a choice one makes in their heart and soul. You choose to be free of the will of others. When old enough you are supposed to choose to be free of the will of Dad and Mom. The objective is to grow up, mature to the point of taking responsibility for making your own choices and owning up to your own mistakes. Freedom is the ability to choose not to be imprisoned by fears; not to be afraid of trying; not to be afraid of failure nor, to be afraid of success. You choose to be free of destructive emotions for it is what YOU choose that makes a difference in your life.

Inherently, we are all born with the potential to be slaves to something. Each and every one of us has something with which we struggle be it some level of insecurity such as a poor self image; uncontrolled jealousies; quickness of anger; anxieties; fears, propensity for addiction, etc. Often these may be passed down from a previous generation. Regardless of where they come from it is our choice whether we allow them to rule and run our lives.

I am reminded of an older couple, married well over fifty years yet, struggling to get along most of their married lives. The husband was and still is overbearing while the wife has for far too long been too passive. From early on her reaction was to talk about him behind his back. She would cut him down and belittle him to others. As time went by she felt suffocated and smothered as if she was in prison.

As for the husband, he struggled with the ability to deal with that which happened to and around him every day making his wife his own personal guilt sink. That is to say if his day was not going well then he would find reason to blame her so he could feel better. Rather than do something else or responding to it in a different manner, she let it build up inside her for years until it eventually brought forth bitter feelings about him and what had happened. Oddly enough, even though many counseled her to move out on her own she would respond by saying it was not right to leave for she felt God wanted her to stay. She may have been imprisoned by her fear of being on her own or the fear of the repercussion from the eventual and inevitable confrontation. More than likely it was not God keeping her there, but God was the excuse.

If in fact God wanted her to stay, why then would she be angry, bitter, depressed and oppressed, if in fact she was truly doing what god wanted? Regardless of where we find ourselves we are the ones who make the choices to accept or reject how we receive something. If we are supposed to be somewhere because it is God’s will then shouldn’t we accept the plight having a good attitude about it?

Parents (Moms in particular), do this with their children choosing to hear what is important and rejecting or “not hearing” the insignificant. So again, if God wanted her to stay, should she not have chosen to be free of her husband’s verbal oppression and demeaning mannerisms by not accepting them, living her life in spite of them? She could have taken his comments as a back handed compliment. Remember, others cut you down because they place you on a higher plane than themselves. If God wanted her to stay shouldn’t she have taken the same path and attitude she did in listening to her children? Truth is she allowed this to continue thereby, creating her own prison. It was not the fault of God, the husband or the circumstances that she was imprisoned. The fault was her own for it was her choice.

I have a close friend who used to be a slave to tobacco for at one time he was a smoker of cigarettes. He decided to give this up, but went from smoking cigarettes to chewing tobacco. For those that smoke they know how addictive smoking can be, but from what I have been told, chewing tobacco can be worse. Personally, I could never quite figure out the smoking or chewing thing for I would not want my wife to have to kiss an ashtray or taste what looks like a pack of cigarettes left awash in a small amount of water with all the brown nastiness floating around in my mouth…disgusting. One day he told me he was done chewing. He had quit a few times before, but just one dip with a friend and he would be back again. He didn’t like the fact this was controlling his life so, he decided he was done for good. He chose to take back his freedom and not be a slave. What an awesome choice.

In my case, I have chosen to be a slave to other drivers. I have patience in some things, but not in the case of driving. I have never been a patient driver. I am however, working on it. It seems I allow other drivers to raise my blood pressure. I actually have a conversation with these people and they don’t even know it. Funny thing is they are not in the least affected by what I am saying, but I am the one suffering because I am allowing the choices of others to run or ruin my day. I become angry while I am verbally telling these people to get a clue or get a life (among other “verbal statements”). All the while they are oblivious to my rants.

You see, it is my opinion many drive with aimless purpose, not paying attention therefore, they are discourteous to those around them who have a clue; those like me! On many occasions over the years my poor wife has had to listen to these rants so, one day she has asked me why I allow these people to do this to me. She used to find it comical to watch this supposedly intelligent man throw a tantrum like a child while having a conversation with another driver who had no idea what was going on. On the other hand she thinks I am acting childish and immature. It is not pleasant to be around so, again and again she asks why I allow these people to get to me. Why don’t I get it under control? That is a good question. It is no different than letting a cigarette or something else control me and I am pretty good at making sure I control most things unfortunately, this hasn’t been one of them.

What or who is controlling you? What is it to which you give the power to take your freedoms? What do you need to control? What chains do you need to break to get back to the land of the free? REMEMBER, YOU ARE FREE AT THE MOMENT YOU CHOOSE TO BE! What will it take to overcome your fears and get back to the home of the brave? The choice my friend is up yours to make. The sooner this choice is made the better it will be for you and all around you.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox