What is freedom?

What is freedom?

The battle with myself

One of my biggest battles in life has been the battle with myself.

Sometimes it feels like everything in me wants to run away from the horrible feelings that are inside me.

Sometimes it is so tempting to look for a shortcut to happiness.

The challenge we all face is that the world tells us that those urges are what we should be listening to.. and in fact some brands of psychology focus on helping us achieving these ends too.

One academic paper says

The goals of rational emotive psychology are twofold: to feel secure and to enjoy ourselves.
The more I go on the more I realise that if my feeling are running the show then I am on a path away from life and not towards it.
Letting my feelings control me may feel like freedom in the short-term, but never in the long-term.
Every now and then it seems that God keeps me focussed on a particular book of the bible, and at the moment I am in Colossians 3.

Today I was struck by the direct way that  verses 5-8 run directly counter to what the world says is normal. Have a look at the bit I underlined:

5-8And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

It seems God calls me to live a life that is not shaped by my feelings, no matter how strong they may be.

As it turns out a lot of other people have come to the same conclusion too:

No man is free who is not master of himself.
– Epictetus

The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence, but in the mastery, of his passions.
– Lord Alfred Tennyson

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; the hardest victory is the victory over self.
– Aristotle

He who reigns within himself and rules his passions, desires, and fears is more than a king.
– John Milton

The strong man is the one who is able to intercept at will the communication between the senses and the mind.
– Napoleon Bonaparte

In all honesty I know the battle with myself will never completely go away. It’s good to know though, that the battle is the right fight to be having and in fact if I am not in the battle with myself then there is something wrong.

I'd love to hear what you think...

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