On July 4. 1776, fifty-six men from thirteen colonies signed a document proclaiming independence from “absolute Tyranny over these states”. In this Declaration of Independence, these 56 representatives declared us to be the “united States of America”. With the stroke of a pen, we declared ourselves independent and formed a new country.
Today is the day to declare another Independence Day.
Our forefathers (and mothers) fought for freedom from the tyranny of economic oppression, political cronyism, uncertain legal rights, and military harassment. They did not take this action lightly.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
As you know, the British government didn't just say “ok” and hand over the country. A war was fought to obtain this freedom we had declared that July day. Freedom was hard won at the cost of many lives. We are the beneficiaries of the colonists' sacrifice and commitment, and those who have defended our freedom since.
Yet despite our freedom, do we now allow ourselves to live under a different type of tyranny? Before you dismiss my statement with a quick “no!”, think about these possibilities:
If any of these ring true, or there is something else that came to mind as you read this list, it is time to declare independence from what has held you captive. It is time to be set free.
Why should we declare independence? Why is freedom so worth fighting for?
1. Freedom brings clear vision.
When something holds us captive, it clouds our vision. We view everything through that filter. For example, when I am consumed with what is urgent, I cannot see what is important, never mind think of a way to accomplish it. When I am free, I see with clear eyes, a clear mind. I can notice what is urgent, and also what is important. I can then decide what actions I will take. Much better vision. Much more perspective.
2. Freedom helps us find our true, clear voice.
If you are tyrannized by appearances or worry, it is difficult to know who you truly are. Similar to clouded vision, your voice sounds unfamiliar. Shrill. Passive. You try to hide behind words. Safe words. Expected words. Nothing to give yourself away. When you are free, your voice rings true and clear – like the Liberty Bell. It is unmistakably yours. Your words bring life not only to you, but also to those around you.
3. Freedom leads to stronger relationships.
Living under oppression comes with a lot of baggage. Clouded vision and a stifled voice impedes the free exchange of ideas and emotions. True connection happens when we dare to connect at a deep level. Living in freedom enables that level of heart connection. Freedom also includes forgiveness – of ourselves and others. As you read in last week's post, forgiveness begets more freedom, which further deepens the relationship.
4. Freedom gives us greater impact at work.
So often fear or expectations prevent us from bringing all of who we are to work. We submerge ourselves, thinking it is safer. We emulate others, thinking that blending in is the way to go. We may even get that message from our employer as they attempt to turn people into replaceable parts. Yet despite appearances, what actually increases our impact at work is the extent to which we stand out as unique. In fact, Marcus Buckingham, one of the founders of the Strengths Finder movement, is calling his newest message Stand Out. It is a natural evolution from understanding strengths to blending them so we uniquely express them through our work.
Freedom doesn't mean abdicating responsibility. It takes commitment and work. Our country's founders dedicated their time, money, and lives to win and sustain freedom. We can't simply sign a Declaration of Independence. We must dedicate all that we are and have to gain and live in freedom.
Here are five actions you can take today:
- Read the Declaration of Independence
- Determine what is oppressing you, holding you back
- Write your own Declaration of Independence
- Count the cost of freedom. Are you willing to pay that price for freedom from tyranny?
- Find some fellow freedom-fighters and form a unit
True freedom comes at the cost of comfort and convenience. For some the price seems much too high. But when you get a taste of that freedom, you'll find that is is worth the price. So go. Declare today your Independence Day. Let freedom ring.
If you know someone who would like to be free, share this post with them by clicking on the social media or email buttons. And if you'd like to encourage or be encouraged, please joint the conversation in the comments below.