This week we will celebrate Independence Day, a day for acknowledging the freedoms we have as Americans. These were summed up by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his “Four Freedoms” speech as freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. 

Those categories can be further broken down into freedom of something and freedom from something: being able to pursue something and in not being held back. 

Let’s think about the way that we use the word “freedom” in our common vernacular. When talking about those who were enslaved, we would say that they were freed from slavery. If you were to tell me “I feel so free,” I would presume that you mean that you feel unencumbered, or not held back. We tend to use the word in the second sense more often: freedom from something. 

While this is a valid and acceptable use, I think that it can lead to a passive view of freedom rather than an active one. If we are living with a There-Here-Path mindset, it means that we are always aimed at where we want to be, not just focused on putting out fires where we are right now. It means that we should be intentionally pursuing something else; not just seeking to be free from what is holding us back. 

Active Freedom

Like we talk about when living out of a There mindset instead of a Here mindset, there are absolutely times when your Here is untenable and you need to focus on getting out (like in situations of abuse, for example). However, most of the time, we can put our energy towards getting There instead of just putting out fires Here. 

This is a way to best utilize your freedom. If you have been freed from something, you need to be intentional about what you are using it to pursue. We want to live out of the Circle of Choice where we are active participants in determining how we respond to our circumstances instead of letting them dictate how we feel and act. 

In the coming articles we will explore different ways that we can pursue freedom in our lives with agency and self-governance. But the first thing to recognize is that freedom is active, not passive. You should pursue freedom by choosing your actions, perspective, and who you trust–which are the three things you can control. And then use that freedom to pursue a There. 

Gracie McBride is the Content and Systems Management Coordinator for The Crossroad.