2 Things You Can Do When You Don’t Feel Free In “The Land Of The Free”

My brain is  so tired.  I’ve spent too much time listening to all the noise concerning the election, who won the election, why we hate the one who won the election, why we love the one who won the election, why you are an idiot because you don’t agree with me, what the church isn’t doing, what the church “needs to do”, why I marched with millions of women, why I didn’t march with millions of women, why your argument is valid, why your argument isn’t valid, and on. And on.  And on.

I’ve spent too much time on facebook reading disrespectful, hateful, critical memes about President Obama, President Trump, Mrs. Obama, Mrs. Trump, and Hillary Clinton. I’ve allowed the media to influence my opinion.  There is so much conflicting information out there, it’s hard to know what is true and what isn’t anymore.

I am one who wants to be informed. I’m sure most people do. Before the election, I was very intentional to take the time to educate myself about each of the candidates and their policies.  I wanted to make my decision based on the big picture and facts. Still, it was hard to make an objective decision because of all the noise!

I spent a good part of this past Saturday reading everything I could about the Women’s March on Washington.  I wanted to know all the details so I could form an opinion based on facts. As I read, I realized that there were many issues that I agreed with…and many I can’t support.  And I came away grateful that I live in a country where I am free to join a movement like this if I really want to.

I normally don’t get involved in the arguments and disputes on facebook. Very rarely do I share an article or a quote–especially when it concerns politics–because even though technically I am free to come to my own convictions, most of the time when you share your opinion on social media, you end up having several people comment about how stupid your way of thinking is. I find it’s really not worth it to share my opinions on social media most of the time.

I do not feel free to have an opinion in most settings.

I do not feel free

I’m often not heard because I’m white,  middle aged,  middle class, don’t understand,  grew up a certain way, or because of whatever preconceived idea a person might have of who I am.  So, I strive to follow my husband’s wise advice to not offer an opinion unless someone asks for it.

A couple of months ago, right before my father-in-law passed away after years of battling heart disease, it got to the point where his nurses wouldn’t allow him to watch the news because often this precious man, who fought in 2 wars, who loved his country, and who-as long as I knew him-had the American flag flying above his front door, would begin to have pressure and pain in his chest while watching all that was happening in our country.

On a scale from 1 to 10, what is your pain level?” the nurses asked one day.  He held up 7 fingers.  His pain was at level 7. They gave him Nitroglycerin to open his blood vessels to improve blood flow and reduce the chest pain and pressure. Then they turned off the news.

We live in stressful times, in a country whose constitution tells us that we are in “the land of the free”, but where many of us are quickly coming to a point where we don’t feel free to have our own opinion if it goes against those who are yelling the loudest.

What do we do when our country is divided, its citizens yelling so loudly that they cannot hear each  other? What do we do when the church is divided, its members criticizing so loudly that they cannot hear each other? Sometimes I wish someone would give me some Nitroglycerin and turn off the news. Sometimes I wish someone would shut down social media so that we could objectively think for ourselves and learn to listen to each other.

I am tired. I know you probably are too. Like everyone else, I want to make a difference,  to be informed, to be in touch with what is going on around me.  I want to reach out and help those in need, stand up for what’s right, be compassionate, and try to understand the opinions of those who may not agree with what I believe.  I am finding that all of these things are hard to do, living in a country that is at war with itself, and being part of the church that is at war with itself.

My body, my spirit, and my brain are tired.

I am being called to turn off the news and  take some some Nitroglycerin. Here’s how I can do that:

  1. Turn off the news: After becoming informed and staying in touch with what is going on around me, I need to turn off the news. Then I need to sit alone before the Lord and lay all the information at His feet.
  2. Take some Nitroglycerin Sit quietly. Listen.  Sift the news through the sieve of God’s Word and allow God and His Word  to open my eyes to truth.  Then, allow the refreshment of Living Water to flow through my being, so that it can do its refreshing work of calming the pressure and pain that exists in my tired body, spirit and brain.

This is the only way I will find true freedom and rest in this war we find ourselves in.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…” Psalm 42

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

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