Say No For Freedom

I think our society hasn’t fully grasped the idea of freedom.

We are told that freedom is “the absence of external constraints”. The ability to do what we want and choose for ourselves. That’s why we resist so strongly someone else telling us how to live.

And that is part of freedom. But there is so much more to it than that!

You see, freedom cannot be defined strictly in negative terms – as simply the absence of confinement. In fact, in many cases confinement and constraint are actually a means to greater freedom.

For example, if  you are a gifted sports person, you may practice, practice, practice for years to perfect your sport. You’ll wake up early, go the gym, and eat healthy. These are all restrictions – limits to your “freedom”. There will be many other things you won’t be able to do. But… that discipline and limitation will unleash your ability that would otherwise have gone untapped.

Sometimes you have to say no now for freedom later.

Yet, when it comes to issues of morality, we think the rule doesn’t apply.

And when someone says, “The Bible teaches you can’t have sex before marriage”, our gut reaction is “NO!! You’re taking away my freedom!” But, what I have come to realise, is that the only reason God says these kind of things is because He wants us to experience MORE freedom in the long term.

It’s the difference between freedom FROM and freedom FOR, and in my opinion, freedom FROM external constraints is less vital than the freedom FOR the life you were made to live.

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6 Comments on “Say No For Freedom

    • Hi. Thanks for your response. I understand your concern around that comment, but with respect I believe it doesn’t negate free will, but rather it enhances it. Of course we can always choose to do whatever we wish, and thankfully we serve a God who offers us this gift. We may choose not to practice our talents or disobey God’s Word (using the examples from the blog) but then of course we must also face the consequences of our choices.

      I think the “life we were made to live” is not a restriction on what we do or don’t do, but rather speaks of a God who creates space for us to live lives that fill us with passion and purpose. I think that the “life we were made for” is less about what we actually do and more about how we do it…

      Hope that makes sense.

  1. Well put. It’s so easy to miss this “truth that sets us free”. So easy in our arrogance to think that we know better. Better than, say God and ancient wisdom.

  2. Tom, this reminded me of another blog I read as below and also an example of being a child in a small town where we had a lot of freedom however where given boundaries of how far we could go and what time to be back and this allowed us to enjoy that freedom yet in a ‘safe’ way where consequences (although different from what you have mentioned) would be minimalised and giving us security or boundaries which not only set us up for living better lives and avoiding unnecessary danger but also as adults knowing that rules and boundaries are not the enemy, some sort of plan to inhibit our lives but rather an opportunity to find a different way of doing things within a different environment also promoting growth within and personal freedom.
    Sometimes living life in what could be known as unrestrictive brings restrictions of their own along which i contratst to my experience of religious ‘restrictions’ are way more destructive in the long run.

    This is that blog – not really related to Christianity but similar concept.

    http://www.pt-redemption.com – called Freedom within Restriction

    It’s been a fascinating week. One of those weeks when gifts come in the disguise of something painful. That is exactly how this week started off…painful.

    Monday morning. The first part of the first day of the week…after completing a set of squats with 140Kg on my shoulders I hook the barbell wrong, it slips, I catch, and end up snapping something in my back. I’m usually pretty good at dealing with pain but this was another level. As the day progressed the pain intensified and my mobility decreased and decreased till all I could do was lie in bed like a quadriplegic…and even that hurt. Ultimate restriction.

    The pain didn’t get better by Tuesday, so I do what I do whenever there’s a problem I can’t solve…go to see Andrew Cramb, my network care practitioner (energy threader). I’ve explained what he’s about in earlier post, but the essence of what he does is focus your awareness and open you to a higher level of consciousness. The idea is, the higher your consciousness the greater ability you have to solve problems.

    Within 2mins of getting on his massage table and a few light taps on my back, my body begins squirming in all different directions. Andrew’s work always amazes. It took 2mins to go from no mobility to total pain-free movement. After the session the pain began to creep back, and Andrew lets me know that my back will take a couple of days to reorganize itself so there will be pain there but to take notice of the pain and let the pain guide me in my actions.

    That’s when the week became more interesting. Throughout the next few days, I was extremely conscious with the way I moved. While operating from the idea moving to avoid pain I realised a different way to use my body. I found a centre point within my core where if I held myself there the pain would stop. From there I change the way I did things. E.G. Instead of bending over to pick something up, I’d hold this centre point and squat down to reach it free of pain. On the physical level that example sounds like an obvious move. But it’s a great metaphor.

    During some quiet contemplation, the words ‘Finding freedom within restriction’ kept flashing by. Which sounds like an oxymoron – like jumbo shrimp. But if you explore the idea of restriction, you are never really fully restricted. If you experience restriction it usually is a restriction of a specific way of doing something or a way of thinking. It’s just that you have a way of doing something or a way of seeing things that worked for you but now it doesn’t. It’s become restrictive. What most people do to overcome this is to continue doing what they were doing hoping that things will go back to the way things were (Definition of insanity) and when it doesn’t their world crumbles. Their perspective traps them in restriction.

    On the flip side, when met with restriction you can use the restriction as an indication to free yourself from that one perspective/pattern. And as you look for alternative ways to see and do things you’ll notice that you open yourself up to infinite possibilities. Within restriction there’s always a way out. The idea of restriction really is a key to the freedom from your patterns. Who knows? Maybe there is a better way. There’s always a better way if you ask me.

    EG. Putting in your 9-5 hours in a job is a noble and intelligent thing to do. Though the idea of a job is a pattern of time and money. If your circumstances change and your pattern of time and money becomes restrictive, you can see it as, ‘shit money is really restricting me lately’ OR use it as an indication that your pattern isn’t working so either change the way you spend your time and money, or find a better pattern to earn time and money.

    There’s more to it, but I feel I don’t have the words to convey the full story I have in my head. I’m sure whoever you are, that you get the gist

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