Are You Free?
If you live in America, you live in the freest country in the world. But I’m not talking about freedom in a social, political, financial or legal sense. I’m talking about being free in your heart and mind.
I was talking with a young entrepreneur a few years back who was lamenting the pain of growing his business. He had leveraged every dime he had to capitalize the business… and he still needed more. He brought in outside investors to keep his dream afloat. He told me that every Monday morning started with a 90-minute teleconference with his investors who would rake him over the coals demanding to know happened last week and what his plan for the coming week was. He was miserable.
I asked him why he was doing it: He said “Because that’s the price you pay for wealth.” I asked him why he wanted to be wealthy. He said “Because that’s the pathway to freedom.”
My heart sunk. The thought that came to mind was “We can all be free in the next 5 seconds if we choose.” It’s got nothing to do with money. It’s all in our minds.
The more I learn about people and money, the more I realize that most financial stress is not rooted in fear of financial ruin. The real source is what others will think if they don’t have the money or stuff that think they should have.
The World Happiness Report proves every year that the amount of money someone has has very little impact on their happiness. The real factor is how much money they have relative to their friends, family, and peers.
Living in fear of other peoples’ opinions is a killer. Living in the truth of how God perceives you is a life giver. Sadly, Christians (myself included) often forget this truth and slip into fear-based living. I must have a short memory.
There is only one audience we need to concern ourselves with. And that’s God. And the good news is that if you are a follower of Jesus, God has already passed judgment on you and it’s all good news: You’re guiltless, powerful, forgiven, awesome, loved, liked, and free.
You may be asking: “What about the mean thing I did yesterday?” “What about the bad thought I had this morning?” “What about the despicable thing I did 30 years ago?” “What about the sin pattern in my life that is sure to return soon”? The answer is the same for all these questions: You’re innocent if you say you’re sorry to God and you’re thankful for Jesus.
There’s a word that captures all of this. It’s called grace. If you’ve read Chapter Seven of my book, The Joy Model, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I’ve heard it said that every problem is psychological and that all real solutions are spiritual. My encouragement is to keep reminding yourself of the supernatural truth of the concept freedom. Unshackle yourself from the myth that financial security and impressing others will make you happy.
There’s another pathway, guys. Lean into it.