Do you ever feel like you want to break free?
Break free from something … even though you cannot necessarily pinpoint what it is?
Do you feel like you want to break out and discover more freedom?
Do you desire change, even though you also fear it?
What does it mean to break free?
What does freedom really look like?
There are so many things that can trap us. That keep us bound up physically, emotionally, spiritually & mentally. Things that take control of our lives and stop us being the people we desire to be and doing what we desire to do.
What do you desire to break free from?
What is keeping you bound up?
The list goes on…..
Each of us know that there are things that trap and hold us back, but we can’t always see how to break free.
I believe the desire for freedom is something that is inbuilt within us.
To feel free & liberated is a deep human desire.
But what does freedom actually mean and why can we often feel trapped and bound?
At the start of 2015 the brain and neck injury I sustained was debilitating. My life became so restricted as I spent 22-23 hours a day lying down and could do very little for about 3 months (followed by another month of recovery). During that time I felt trapped physically within a body that would not function as it should. I desired my body and mind to work properly, but they wouldn’t and I felt trapped by it. I desired freedom from the injury and the damage it had caused, but each day things hardly got better and they actually began to get worse.
I couldn’t shake it off.
It wouldn’t go away.
If I fought it – it got worse.
I couldn’t break free.
Even though I could not break free from the physical symptoms, I decided, from the start, that the injury couldn’t and shouldn’t control everything.
I decided that I could break free and choose freedom in other areas. I was adamant that the injury wouldn’t take my psychological health as well as my physical health.
Now this was a challenge because the brain injury affected my cognitive processing. At first I couldn’t really do anything. I couldn’t:
Listen to music.
Look at or use screens.
Walk outside without support.
Sit up or stand for more than about 15 mins at a time.
Have long conversations.
However, I knew I had to take back what I could control and choose to stay positive, to stay thankful, to not let fear and worry control me.
Even when I could not break free from the physical symptoms I chose to fight for freedom spiritually, physiologically and mentally.
Some days that was easier than others.
Even when we face setbacks and discouragements, when things seem to be getting worse rather than better:
We can still fight for freedom.
We cannot control everything in our lives but we can choose to take control of our thoughts and attitudes.
The times I felt most trapped by my injury and illness were the times I allowed my mind to dwell for too long on the negatives.
On the ‘what ifs’.
On the frustrations.
On the horrible symptoms.
On the restrictions.
On how I felt.
It was then that the battle would set in, trying to drag me into an unhealthy mental state. To pull me down into negative thinking and attack my physiological stability.
In those moments I had to fight to break free. To remember all the things I could be thankful for. To choose to believe that things would get better. To focus on the positives and to push through to the inner peace that I knew was deep within my soul.
I can remember as my husband drove me to A&E for the first time, 7 days after my initial injury, I was in a bad way. I felt so dizzy & out of it. Disconnected from the world. Keeping my eyes closed because my brain couldn’t deal with the lights and movement of the car. I could hardly talk, I couldn’t walk without help or support. And on that journey I just kept saying to my husband Matt – “everything’s fine isn’t it. It’s all OK.” And he would just gently, yet confidently, say, “yes it will be fine, everything will be OK.”
I am so thankful that Matt and I share the same outlook on life. That even when things get tough we dig deep to find that inner peace. To hear the gentle calming voice within saying – ‘it will all be fine, you are OK, don’t be scared’.
Now that was day 7 after my injury. I wasn’t, of course, OK and was diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome, but it wasn’t life threatening and that’s what the being ‘OK’ was about. However, by week 7 things had got worse; we took our 3rd trip to A&E and I was finally admitted and we got some answers as I was diagnosed with a Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CFS) leak. I then had to again fight to stay positive, to be patient, to trust I would recover, to choose everyday to keep on believing, trusting & pushing through and taking hold of that peace & hope within.
Even when I felt at my weakest physically, emotionally and mentally, when it felt like I was getting battered from all sorts of directions, in all sorts of ways, I had to choose to stay hopeful. To find that strength amidst weakness and to hold on to the way forward.
Breaking free is a mindset.
It is birthed in the heart and received in the mind.
You have to be determined to take hold of it.
You have to choose it.
You have to believe it.
There have been many seasons in my life as well as many daily battles when I have to push to ‘break free’.
We all have them and some of our battles will be similar. And yet because we are all individuals, many of our battles will be unique to our circumstances and personalities.
So to explore this subject of ‘breaking free’ I am going to write a series of blog posts about this subject.
As with all of my posts I will try and make them as ‘real’ as possible. Sharing stories from my own life and things that have helped me.
I am certainly not there yet. I still often have to fight to break free from the things that come against me. I still have days and moments where I feel more trapped, than free, especially in my thoughts.
But I am on the journey.
I have not arrived.
But I have left.
I have seen freedom.
I have tasted of its liberation, peace and joy.
I have lived it.
I have experienced it.
But I know there is more.
I know I can push in further still.
To grasp hold of my freedom and not let go.
And I will not give up pursuing it until I have experienced it in every area of my life and thoughts. That is a life time goal. Unattainable; perhaps, but…
What a vision for life – total freedom! For you and for me.
It’s available. We just have to reach out and take hold of it. We are not built to feel trapped & bound.
We are built to be free!
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” – Nelson Mandela