Thoughts on Freedom

One of the highlights of my serving at the Mission is witnessing the men graduate from the Changed Life Recovery Program. Knowing their condition when they began and seeing the difference at the end is amazing. Yet one question looms large: “What will happen next?”

When many of the men finish, they experience joy and fear. Joy comes with freedom from classes, day to day accountability, and rules of the Mission. Fear comes with the need to find a job, a place to live, and day to day purpose.  Bob Dylan’s hit song from the 80’s, “You Got to Serve Somebody,” recognizes people’s bent toward worship. What will be the winning focus of each graduate’s life?

To have freedom and success, a couple of commitments must be made. The first commitment concerns leadership. In the 12 steps, step one is a confession that one can no longer manage his or her life. Step three is a decision to let God lead one’s life. True freedom is found in the life where Christ is leading. Unfortunately, we see a relapse when a person forgets step one and decides he or she no longer needs God.

The second commitment involves direction. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” The surest sign of freedom is when someone is clear about his or her direction. We know a graduate could be heading for trouble if he has no plan or first step to move forward. The ones who have freedom and success are those who have a prayed-through plan and go about working that plan.

At the Korean Memorial in DC, these words are written, “Freedom is not Free.”  Freedom is not arriving at a point where nothing is necessary. Commitment is the key to freedom. We pray that those who come to the Mission will make the commitments that lead to a new life and real freedom!