We celebrate freedom and toss that word around, especially around Independence Day, but what does freedom really mean? We know what the first part of the word means, but the suffix – dom – indicates a state or condition. When people live in freedom, they are in the state of being free.
So what do we do with our freedom?
Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” I think he wrote this from prison. He was in and out so much, it’s hard to remember which book was written while he lived in freedom or incarcerated.
But he knew the secret – no matter where he was, no matter his circumstances, Paul had learned to be content.
Can we say the same? Are we content? Or are we constantly looking for something else – a thing, a person, an experience to satisfy that inner urge that we can’t identify?
My late husband taught me to be content, to be satisfied with what I already have and not search for that elusive something that I didn’t know I wanted but can’t live without.
Now I have no need to read the sale circulars and run out to charge something on my credit card. And when there’s an evening with nothing scheduled, I don’t have to find somewhere to go or something to do.
We’re fortunate that we are free to do either of those – we can shop, hopefully with cash so we don’t weigh ourselves down with credit-card bills. But we don’t need to. We can go out and be entertained, but we can also learn to be satisfied with a good book or an evening with friends.
Many have given their lives so we can be free to mess up ours. Let’s not dishonor those heroes. Instead, let’s be free to feel content.