waySince it’s July, I’m continuing the theme of freedom!

Summer Freedom

It seemed as if it took way too long for the final bell to ring in the start of summer. I joked around with my students and asked them about their summer plans. Many of them offered to go to Alaska with me, ‘just in case you need company.’

Consider this: Freedom isn't free. #freedom, #socialjustice,#galatians“There’s no way you’d enjoy hanging out with an old lady for hours on end in a small car,” I assured them. “You have other things to do, I’m sure.” Some nodded their heads. Others looked a little unsure about the freedom opening up to them over the weeks of summer.

I knew that many had enrolled in our summer leadership program, but I worried about the rest. What would they do over the summer? On the reservations, where unemployment hovers at 50 percent, few have opportunities for summer jobs.

My life had been so different. My summer jobs provided a way for me to pay for school tuition, earn gas money, and buy new clothes in September.

I spent one summer in Canada working at my uncle’s lumber mill, and another one in Alaska working at a restaurant. Those jobs provided freedom from my parents, too. I learned about making my own financial decisions, purchasing my own wardrobe, and serving other people. Some of my choices had consequences. For example, I bought a nice camera with tip money and ended up having to sew new clothes for the school year.

The Way I Learn

I think those experiences started to teach me the lesson that has continued to grow within me over the years. Freedom costs something. The freedom to buy a camera comes at the price of not having new clothes. My freedom to work in the mill (most likely as an undocumented alien) took away someone else’s freedom to earn money there.

My freedoms end where yours begin. But we can grow our freedom. #fmfparty #love Click To Tweet

One person’s freedom to exercise his or her religious convictions costs someone else the freedom to choose their baker of choice. Another person’s freedom to vote for a particular candidate might cost another person the freedom to choose not to have health care. If you support Candidate X, my right to enjoy taking photos of animals roaming around national parks might be taken away.

Paul says it best in Galatians 5:13-15

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.

In what way do you exercise the freedoms given you by God and guaranteed by your country? How do you let freedom grow in your life?

6 Comments

  1. So true- freedom often seems attractive, but we do need to consider the consequences of how we use our freedom and the impact on others. It would make such a difference if we all used our freedom to serve one another in love!
    Lesley recently posted…Which Way To Go?My Profile

  2. I found in our little rural school that the kids would never say it aloud, but many of them didn’t look forward to the freedom of summer. The structure and security of school is what they longed for. And like you, there were many I worried about. Your words are thought provoking and I enjoyed your wisdom! Cindy

  3. Interesting thoughts! I learn to experience freedom by saying no to a lot of things in order to be free and say yes to the right ones. Not always easy, but definitely liberating.

  4. I’m thinking that you and I could have a long, deep conversation about a lot of things right now. We have to learn to think through our choices. No, we can’t predict the future, but we can use the brains God gave us to know that A+B=C. Good, solid reminder.

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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