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by Michael Lewis
What does that word mean to you?
On June 19th we celebrated Juneteenth; the now federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of slaves in Texas, two and half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
On June 24th, I walked out of the courtroom from an extremely emotional, yearlong divorce process and the word that echoed in my spirit was freedom. When I got into my car, I pulled out my cell phone and a friend's text said, "you are now free. Let’s make plans for July 4 to celebrate not just this country’s, but your own personal Independence Day".
But what does this newfound freedom mean to me? As I lay in silence the rest of the day, I began to feel a weight lifting off my shoulders. For the first time in my life, I have gained the freedom to be me; without regrets, without shame, without borders, without apologizing; but just me.
As a survivor of second-hand domestic violence, emotional abuse, and childhood trauma; I have lived a life of self-sacrifice to prove I am worthy to be loved. I felt myself living in a box of shackles and chains where I have been a prisoner.
However, I can relate to the newly freed slaves, and a newly freed America that says, ok, now that I have been freed; What now? What’s next? What does this concept of freedom mean to me?
The journey to freedom begins with healing. Healing starts when we can acknowledge what has happened to us. Yes, we experienced this event!
As painful as it may be to think about, we can’t discount the fact that it occurred. Once you can acknowledge and accept it occurred, commit to the full process of recovery. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that often requires professional help, but you are worth the work and effort!!!
The journey to freedom is about self-discovery, focusing on our strengths rather than our weaknesses, letting go of the past, not focusing on what others think of us, embracing our own vulnerabilities, and expressing ourselves through the things we enjoy.
The journey isn’t going to be easy. In fact, there were both newly freed slaves and newly freed Americans that wanted to go back to oppression, because it was “easier”. As crazy as that may sound, sometimes trauma becomes our comfort zone. This journey to freedom will require you to break out of your box of chains and shackles. It will feel uncomfortable.
It will require work.
It will require time.
It will require effort.
It will require YOU!
Just remember, you deserve it.
You deserve the peace, happiness, and joy to be you.
You are amazing.
You are beautiful.
You are talented.
You are exactly who God made you be.
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”, John 8:36
Enjoy your freedom! Happy Juneteenth and Happy Independence Day!
Michael Lewis is the General Sales Manager for Stanley Martin Homes. With a successful background in education, and real estate; he takes great pride in connecting people to their passions and dreams. In his spare time, you will find him in the kitchen creating new recipes with his three sons; Ayinde, Ayaan, and Ayize or on the grill with family and friends. Michael is an ordained minister and finds great joy in spreading the love of God through acts of kindness and servitude.