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Free to Be Me

Rachel Pippin

There is little time for unbridled creativity, play just for fun (away from the computer), and learning for the enjoyment of deeper understanding and the pursuit of knowledge.” *

These words from an e-newsletter struck a chord in me. Teens need this kind of freedom, but finding it and incorporating it into our lives isn’t easy. The past two or three years of my life I have pursued the elusive shadow of freedom, and the quest is far from over. Plenty more adventures, challenges, lessons, and tears are headed my way; and I relish the idea of meeting them. After all, isn’t freedom something worth chasing after?

 

Hey Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone!

A big struggle for freedom in my life has been about school. When I was a sophomore, the school I attended was extremely rigorous. I felt as if my nose were constantly to the grindstone. I can’t remember a night when I didn’t have lots of home-work. By the middle of my sophomore year, I longed to be free from the stress and the homework that consumed my life.

devozine Rachel in hat FTR

During that time, I read a book that advocated dropping out of school or home schooling and learning from books, life, and the big wide world. I wondered, Why should I sit in a classroom and learn from a textbook when a whole world is out there awaiting me? Suffice it to say, classes became a major bore. I suggested the idea of educating myself, but my mom disliked it from the start. I knew that plan wasn’t going to fly anyway. On to Plan B: Finding a school that would nurture me and set me free from confining academic rigor. I auditioned on my guitar for the local arts school, and I got in. I was thrilled! It was a compromise; but I realized that I will have to make trade-offs in life, and I won’t always get the chance to bargain for my freedom.

 

Free to Be Unique

Another area of my life that makes me feel free is the clothes I wear. I’m a sedate, soft-spoken person; and clothes are like an art form that helps me express myself creatively, interestingly, “weirdly.”

 

Freedom from “Stuff”

I read the book Way to Live and became very interested in a chapter entitled “Stuff.” I realized that I had entirely too many possessions, things that other people needed more than I did. I began the process of evacuating stuff from my room—old clothes that no longer fit, books, and videotapes. When I loaded them onto a Goodwill truck, it felt great to be free of their material weight.

 

devozine Rachel in dz

The Ultimate Freedom

For me, the ultimate freedom—which no one can take away—is freedom in God. Through Christ, we can be liberated from all the desires of the world—even the desire for stuff, prestige, or social acceptance. We can find freedom in servitude to God and to the people around us. I know, servitude and freedom sound contradictory; but when you offer yourself as a servant to others—by obeying your parents with a cheerful heart (which I’m sure you do all the time!) or by helping out at church—God blesses you. And that’s an uplifting experience!

 

DIG DEEPER

God made you the way you are, so embrace the beauty that was created within you. Paint a picture, run around outside with your friends, say a prayer of thanks, or help someone in need. Be glad; enjoy the life you have been given; and know that you are unchained, ultimately, in God’s love and unfailing mercy. Be free!

* From “Herman Trend Alert,” by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurists, copyright 2005. (800) 227-3566 or www.hermangroup.com.

Rachel Pippin likes to dance to loud music, eat tofu stir-fry, and listen to Ben Kweller CDs. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

—from Devo'Zine (September/October 2005). Copyright © 2005 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved.
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