Finding Freedom In Unexpected Places…

by Michelle Acker on December 5, 2013

in Learning the Art of Living

We take our freedom for granted too often, I think.  Here in the United States, we throw that word around rather carelessly sometimes.   We are blessed with so much freedom: of speech, of religion, to vote, etc, and sometimes the very meaning of the word is lost on us.   In fact,  we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to freedom in our daily lives.

We fill our days with busy, busy, busy, leaving no time for the freedom to take a much needed nap, or enjoy a spontaneous afternoon in the park…

We sign ourselves up for helping with school parties, and Christmas Pageants, church choirs, and volunteering for every good thing that comes along, leaving ourselves exhausted and stressed and unable to enjoy the very things we should be looking forward to with joy…

We take on projects that we know will be difficult to fit in to already busy schedules…

Where is this freedom we claim?

It’s nowhere to be seen.  We have enslaved ourselves by the shoulds and have to’s…  But there is hope!

Look around your life, and take stock.  What are you choosing to do that doesn’t fill you with joy?   What do you wish you could just let go?  What are you doing out of habit, just because you’ve been doing it so long, not because it’s enjoyable anymore? Which activities and to-do’s are weighing you down, and stripping you of your freedom?

For me, when I stopped to look around, this blog was continually one of those things.  Y’all know how flaky I’ve been with posting for Thought Provoking Thursday the last few months.  I’ve apologized for it more than once, and was determined to do better.  But my heart hasn’t been in it, not because I don’t love it, but because there is other writing I’m working on that has higher priority now.

This blog, and especially the Thought Provoking Thursday linkup with y’all that I so loved, had become an anchor weighing me down, and taking away my joy.    I knew I didn’t want to continue on like that, so I signed up for Kat Lee’s Blog Coaching program over at How They Blog.   (I highly recommend it, by the way.  She’s fantastic, and has a knack for helping you focus on your goals that really makes a difference!)  During our  chat about my blog and writing goals, Kat suggested something shocking:  Stop blogging. At least for awhile.  Focus on your other writing goals, she said.  It’s okay, she said.  You can come back to blogging when you’re ready.  

Freedom!  That’s the thought that first came to mind when she said those words.  I knew immediately that I was going to take her advice, which meant finding someone to take over the Thought Provoking Thursday Linkup for all of you.  And as quickly as I decided to pass it on to someone else, one name came to mind, and I knew who it would be.  And so today is officially my last day as host of the Thought Provoking Thursday linkup.

The Big Announcement:

I’m pleased to announced that Lyli Dunbar, of 3-D Lessons for Life, is going to be taking over for us.  Starting next Thursday, you’ll find the linkup over at her place:  Lyli has been a faithful participant in our little Thought Provoking Community for some time, and I know she take great care of y’all.    And I’ll still be around, here and there, linking up my own posts from time to time. I’m so grateful to Kat for the idea, and to Lyli for taking over.  There is so much freedom for me in this decision! I’m not giving up blogging entirely, but I am going to be moving to my new site, and streamlining my writing and blogging together.  I’m really excited about the move, and I hope you’ll all join me over there as soon as it’s ready. (By the way, if you sign up for my mailing list over on the sidebar, you’ll be sure to get the updates for my new place, over at too.)

You, my brothers and sisters,


were called to be free.


-Galations 5:13



Are you up for a generosity challenge?   You might be surprised if you try it…  Stick with me to the end to find out what it is….

Generosity Challenge

This is Texas y’all.  A cool 65 degree night will cause everyone in the neighborhood to light a fire in their wood burning fireplaces. Seriously. I don’t lie.  This is Texas. It’s how we roll...

But, I am a gal with a Michigan heart, so I chuckle to myself when I see people bundled up in scarves, thick winter jackets, and furry winter boots, looking like they’re ready for the arctic circle when it gets down into the 50’s.  Most fall and even winter days, my kiddos simply go to school with just a thick hoodie, or a very light jacket.

Oh, but last night?  It was forecast to be down in the upper 20’s.   20’s y’all!! So sending them with a sweatshirt didn’t really feel like the “good mom” thing to do, know what I mean?

Off I went to rummage through our seldom opened coat closet.  This closet in the front hall is hardly ever used, and yet it overflows with winter gear.  I start pulling it all out, looking for something for my kiddos to wear in the morning.  The pile out in the hall grows large…

Is there a winter jacket in here that will even fit?  

Probably not.  I guess it’s time to hand some of these down…

Then it dawns on me: several of these are mine.  And I just bought another new coat, too!  How many coats DO I need?  An even greater number of jackets belong to my husband.  How many coats does HE need?

How many coats do ANY of us need?


Maybe it’s the sermon series my pastor is teaching on generosity, or maybe it the question he asked: “…are we hoarding our blessings?”     But probably, it was the point he made Sunday that maybe, just maybe we are so abundantly blessed, so that we can be a blessing to others.  Maybe I am so blessed, overflowing with warm jackets and coats, so that I can be a blessing to others…

Something to think about, no?

As I consider this question, a thought stops me in my tracks:

How many people will be cold tomorrow morning, simply because I’ve been hoarding all these coats?  

How many people might be warm the rest of this fall and winter if I gave these extra coats and jackets to my favorite local charity to hand out?

It was time for action.  I pulled out 3 coats of my own, 2 that my kids had outgrown, and 5 that my husband hasn’t worn in years.  They are piled in my car this very moment, waiting to be dropped off at a local charity.  And, y’all?   We won’t be cold.  We each have what we need to keep warm, and a even a few to spare, if I’m honest.  Now it’s your turn.  Are you up for the challenge?

Your Challenge:


Go to your coat closet right now.  Ask yourself this:

How many coats/jackets do I/we really need?

How many are overflowing, abundant blessings,  just waiting for us to be a blessing to someone else?


Let’s warm up our communities, y’all.  Be a blessing.  

Photo Credit:
Creative Commons License Andrew Morrell via Compfight


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