Choose Freedom Over Comfort

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo credit: Emelda  De Coteau
Photo credit: Emelda
De Coteau
In each of our lives, there is a distinct moment when we choose between the certainty of fear or invigorating freedom. Earlier this year, sitting in an office, alone, cloaked in deafening silence, I learned about the power of choice.

God has a way of extricating noise from our lives, past priorities become irrelevant; clarity, I believe, is the root of freedom. Without it distractions imprison us and liberation becomes an illusion, a mirage in the dizzying mundaness of life.

Years ago, I discovered Pamela Sneed, a talented poet and actor whose arresting book title, Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery?, peaks out from my mahogany stained bookcase, an ever present challenge.

Far too many of us convince ourselves these chains are necessary, the standard rite of passage into adulthood. Everyone treks to jobs they hate, right? We live for the weekends, and grudgingly endure the weeks. I did it for years.

Others were far more deserving than me of happiness, I told myself; they were smarter, prettier, bolder… I dreamed big, but took small actions. Afraid of freedom, yet desperate to soar.

Then my choice presented itself one afternoon. I could stand in the smallness of convention, holding fast to others opinions, their direction for me, or I could embrace new possibilities, in spite of fear and those insistent voices of defeat and doubt. I started a new journey in that moment.

Each day God teaches me this is a journey of surrender. It’s an arduous concept to wrestle with because on the surface it sounds like giving up, but in actuality its the opposite. Peace emerges in this quiet place, there is no room for superficial markers of self, only authenticity.

Several weeks ago I came across a C.S. Lewis quote, an ever-present reminder that we must remain wiling to abandon ourselves, or who we think we are in order to live fully, submitting to  communion with God.

Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

Reexaminig our lives is messy, and at times confusing, but without this courageous action, we are sleep walking, living a life unworthy of our potential.

Watch Your Words

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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“The tongue has the power of life and death…”
Proverbs 18:21

Words carry immense power. What you and I say to ourselves and others matters; it shapes our perceptions, and in turn realities.  Day by day, moment by moment, this principle becomes clearer in many ways.

Shannon (Live In Color blog co-editor) and I spoke recently about the weightiness of words. “You know Mel,” she said squarely, “we are word people. We really are.” When you are a lover of words, you are constantly wrestling with what you say, and taking in what others say.

Several years ago my husband and I sat in a crowded  auditorium, my niece’s excitement bubbled over; she pointed out her favorite Disney characters gliding across the ice. “Look Uncle Keston,” she exclaimed, grabbing hold of his hand. “Look!”

We smiled,  perhaps remembering how easily joy comes to us in childhood. And then, abruptly, another voice interrupted. “Shut up, you ugly little b*#%.” I turned around to see a young woman pulling at her toddler, hurling insults and laughing; Silently I wept for the little girl, her face, what I could make out of it in the dimness, filled with confusion and sadness. Her eyes seemed to whisper, “Why are you so angry?”

On days when I hear someone being particularly cruel, spewing vitriol and hatred, I am reminded of those incidents, and the lesson. Words impact us all. Forget that old-school rhyme:”Sticks and stones break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Grasping the enormity of what one says is deeply connected to awareness, stillness, sitting with your words after you say them. We can hinder or heal, empower or eviscerate the spirit of another living being.  Choose to use them in service of love and respect.

Two Ways to Watch Your Words:

1. Empathize – Yes, it sounds like a no brainier, but empathy helps us see the world compassionately. How do you like someone to speak to you? Do you enjoy being cut off, your words and thoughts discounted? None of us does, so consider that when communicating with others. We begin to see others perspectives, and our word choice reflects it.

2. Speak Solutions – Like most of us dealing with frustrations, I am guilty of saying, “I’m so sick of…” or “I’m tired of…” in an effort to relieve the tension. Lately, I am turning these words around and focusing on what I want to expand.  So, if you are tired of a particular situation,  focus instead on your solution.

Live In COLOR! – Emelda

How do you watch your words? Is it a struggle for you? Share with us!