Opportunity is freedom part 2: how can we be agents of opportunity

last week I introduced this great idea that “opportunity is freedom”, I shared how I came to understand that, but maybe it did not seem practical or something that you could grasp in your life. just to make one thing clear, opportunity can not be taken unless it is there. opportunity is not something that is organic and self-reproducing, but takes something to partner with so it can be distributed.
opportunity can present itself in face of opposition because you then have the opportunity to rebut and speak your side. the opportunity is to share your side of the story with somebody that has a shared interest even if the interest is not of the same side. for many of the people that have fought for their freedom this is how their opportunity was delivered. for slaves the cotton gin was an item of opposition so they took the opportunity to break the gin or alter the production method so that they could find freedom from the opposing side.
it seems that opportunity automatically implies that there is choice involved. I am sure if the root of the word was defined it would explain that a little better.

invitation is my favorite way to see opportunity to take flight. I believe this is the most powerful because it takes the work of two people. the provider of the invitation and the receiver. the thing about opportunity is that you do not have to be looking for opportunity for it to appear. not matter if you are looking for it or not it will still be just as powerful. when you are invited to be a part of something whether it be an event or an action you are being opened to a door. For my friend Joe he realized this when he had gone to a church for 15 years and they had never invited him to serve inn the church and when he faithfully decided to transfer to another church he was invited to serve and be a part of something bigger than just himself. This opened him up to a platform that allowed him to find freedom doing something that made him come alive.

providing opportunity for those who have experienced rejection can be as simple as allowing their voice to be heard. that they have wants and longings that are important and they are not being met. this type of empowerment, freedom, and love is not often achieved because it takes somebody looking beyond themselves. like my friend Chris from my last post, he looked into a situation that somebody else had and thought how could that be difficult for that person. most often we do not know the difficulty and, so we ask and make it possible for the minimized voice to be heard. this is bringing justice to the unjust. even those who commit an injustice were a victim at one time. it is unjust to not let a voice be heard and I have heard this from so many people including myself that we feel our voices do not matter. I want to tell you that your voice does matter and your voice is beautiful. if there is an opportunity around you I will kindly ask you to speak. I can not be a voice for the voiceless because I do not know your experience. for those with a voice lets be freedom makers and provide opportunities for voices to be heard.

opportunity is not always free, it can be earn. earning an opportunity is the next most empowering way to provide freedom. it is said that you appreciate something much more if you pay for it instead of it being given to you. time and effort are cost and a payment for what will be provided later. when you work hard in the present it sets up for the future. that opportunity that is being open up in the future is because you have earned it from the present. the trick is to not make this an idol, but a blessing. we are taught responsibility in our youth, but unfortunately that responsibility is mainly just for our own belongings. when we show that we can bless others with what we earn is the point that our opportunity becomes a path for freedom.

freedom is a struggle. when people complain about that strug life they are complain about their lack of freedom. freedom is a serious thing and many if not all of us in this world have been stripped of some kind of freedom. freedom is something we all should fight for and opportunity is something that we should all give and provide. for those that are oppressed and have burdens put upon them opportunity to be seen, to be heard, to be listened too, and to be given responsibility can be the most rewarding and empowering thing for us to enable. we all have agency, so let’s be an agent of love because that is where freedom will be found. Jesus did it by inviting people to the kingdom of heaven and I am pretty dang sure that there is all kinds of freedom in that kingdom. let’s follow him, be kingdom people, and be agents of bringing hheaven to earth.

opportunity is freedom: how being blind led me to a path of freedom

recently I have been letting some friends in on a struggle I face by not being able to see. For those of you reading this with vision which will probably be most of you I suggest that you look at this post as a metaphor because there are other things that disable us from seeing other than the malfunction of the eye balls on each side of your nose.

To get the most out of this post I would suggest to think about how you may be blind. It could come in the form of an addiction, codependency, unhealthy emotions, fear, denial, guilt, or just plainly not able to see love.

now back to what I was telling my friends.. I have been expressing the difficulty I have finding a girl and friends. I would like to think it is not because I smell funny or dress weird, I have been working on both, but it is because I can not see them. like practically can not see what a girl looks like or see if there is somebody standing by themselves to go talk too. I don’t have that ability to use that first impression of my eyes to decide whether a person is in the vicinity that I want to talk to.
Telling my friends was a big step for me because I tend to want to be perceived and treated as a sighted person. I am sure it does not take a specialist to label this as denial, so yay me I accepted I need help.

I jokingly say to my friends I need a wingman. you know to tell me if the girl next to me is cute and not married or if there is a friend around that I know. After kidding about it enough I realized it is a serious need to have somebody by your side. if you are keeping up with the metaphor in your own situation I would like to ask you what would you like your wingman to support you in?

now going back to the frustration I observed when I think about finding a special someone. It is often frustrating because first off I can not use my first instincts from sight to tell how old the person might be, then on top of that I can not tell if they are somebody I am physically attracted too, then on top of that I can tell if they have a ring on their finger or if they are with somebody. a couple of times after I had finished sorting through my feelings I realized that I try to make myself feel better by saying this is going to take an act of god to find somebody to be with or to find new people to meet. just recently I realized; of course dummy it has to be the will of god for it to happen. “All good and perfect things come from your heavenly father”, somewhere in scripture. The will of god I would presume leads to freedom.

I have been sitting on this for a few weeks and something finally clicked with me on this idea and I think it speaks volume’s to the freedom that is found in connecting with the father as his beloved child. This fantastic idea is that opportunity is freedom. unfortunately I can not take full credit for this because it was my friend Chris Ward that helped me see that this is often what we are missing. this is what I was missing from the story above and what keeps many of us entrapped in a struggle. opportunity is invitation, it is a step of courage, it is putting fear aside. This is why AA is so successful and a wingman leads to more adequate attempts to find Miss or Mr. Right. When we have somebody to walk with us and to relate with us opportunity comes much easier. When we see options, when we feel empowered, when we have somebody that has our back failure or succession’ we come to find freedom. the way Chris did this was by asking me how as a friend he could come alongside me and support me as somebody that does not see well. he not only did that but he asked me how my friends in the past had done it and what I would like in the future. This is an important thing to keep in mind when approaching somebody to support them because you do not know what they want or need, but are just somebody that is facilitating an opportunity and to do that you need to truly know the person. There is a big difference between saying I am going to go bless that person and I want to know how I can bless that person. One comes with a savior complex and the other comes with humility.

I would say that the common idea is that freedom comes from choice, but I do not think that is all of it. there is something more than just choice. There is invitation, there is opportunity, there is acceptance. When opportunity is provided either divinely or intrapersonally we are able to return to our created state and that is freeing.

How can you provide opportunity for somebody?

Freely asking: how asking questions allows you to dive deeper

so you know how Jesus talks about the new life that we are born into when we return to him as his beloved child, you know that born again term that gets used with people that accept Jesus as their lord and savior, ya that one that means put on your new life and put aside our old ways. well I think that gets thrown out the door very quickly for most people that enter into the Christian walk because we get caught up in the confusing question of how much do we let go of our past. I think most will agree we are not to throw the baby out with the bath water, but what is the mark of what we have to loose. again I think most will agree this is something that it is a process, a journey, a path to be traveled. as much as I don’t like the born again terminology I think it illustrates the journey quiet well, so good job Jesus for giving us that illustration. the new life is marked by growth and that is reflected in the character that is produced, which often is defined by the nutrients that are needed for the new born to grow.
sometimes you just want to throw your hands up when life gets confusing. what I learned is that the old life new life paradigm takes just that. it takes the comfort of being confused not having control and just continuing to walk. it is anew time to trust, but that can be hard when you can not see a rhyme or reason for why things happen. luckily on my journey I was able to make sense with the big life changing things that happened in my life early on like my sister’s brain tumor and losing my sight. but what about those things that don’t make sense like the ending of a relationship or an involuntary traumatic accident. those are the things we throw our hands up at because we can not make sense of the pain. this often results in people separating themselves from god, faith, hope, and our closest peers. there are many feelings and emotions that can explain this cause and one of the things that I have come up with recently is that we fear asking questions.
questions show humility. questions are great they show wonder, creativity, thoughtfulness, curiosity, and many other ways to tap into the mindfulness of adventure. whether it is faith like Christianity or a troubled relationship with somebody close to you, I have concluded that we often fear asking questions. some are the abusive reason of somebody telling you that you should not or are not supposed to ask questions, but I think more often it is a fear of the unknown. not knowing what is on the other side of the door often keeps us from opening and engaging with what is on the other side of the door. whether it is god or a new food that you do not want to try. in the evangelical Christian circle the question what if Jesus actually died on the cross and rose again is often used to challenge and think about how our life reflects the implications of the question. when we face implications then we have responsibility and a choice to make. that is why wonder is so great because it challenges us refines and defines us. we think of possibilities, desires, values, and love when we have the freedom to wonder and ask questions. I believe that this is one of the things that Jesus was alluding to when he was talking about having childlike faith. children are some of the best wondrous creative minds and they ask questions so freely. I was having dinner with a friend and his family not too long ago and his 4 year old daughter asked him when are you going to die. to us that is a taboo question or a question that does not get asked or discussed because it has definite implications on our life and how we live, but we often do not ask those kind of questions because we don’t feel like we have the freedom to do so. I would encourage you to ask yourself what it means to be born again and this does not have to be in the cliché Christian sense , but what does it mean for you to be like a child and to wonder, to ask questions and to be free. It is perfectly normal to ask questions and it is perfectly normal to not have the answers to every question. so go ahead and ask what if…
to continue to wonder is one of the greatest joys of life what kind of questions do you have? go ahead and ask them, its ok. there are no stupid questions, but there are smart question askers. one of them is empowering, which one are you going to be?
go ahead and tell me which one and why you chose it. while you are at it tell me what questions you have

yearly project: a question a day

I am not sure if you have noticed, but the past few post that I have made have been about asking questions. I explain how I came to value questions in the post” importance of asking questions”, so if you are interested how I have been able to see this project evolve in my life check it out there. This project that I am introducing will consist of questions I have come up with this past year. I believe questions are good and healthy and fruitful and fun. I secretly hope that my kids are those young children that ask ridiculous and seemingly stupid questions. there is something about asking questions that takes you back to the early stages of life. maybe it is the endless imagining of a particular scenario when somebody asked who would win batman or superman. Maybe it is the development of the deep wonderings of the meaning of life. however simple and however complex there is no question that is not worth taking the time to answer. Questions are sometimes like a shooting star, they come they go and they are hard to grasp but when you get a good one they can really impact you. With the desire to live a more impactful life, I documented a question a day for the past year.
I may have done this project for myself, but it is not my intention to keep it to myself. I think questions are great and I want to share them with you? not only will I want you to share your own questions, but I will want you to choose your favorite questions so that myself and other contributors have a chance to expand upon the questions. in addition to my own voice I am going to make a hard push to have guest writers share their views as well. hopefully this will encourage and push us to ask more questions in a faithful and humble way that will make us greater learners and wonderers. To start the project I will release 1 month of questions and I want you as the reader to pick and share your 3 favorite questions and the forth coming month I or a guest writer will write on that question to further the conversation. I look forward to see how we can grow through this. Just looking over my initial questions it is cool to see how I have grown in the questions I ask and how I ask questions over the time when I started this project. My question asking starts off a little shakey and uncomfortable, but I guarantee it gets better, but there is no time back guarantee.

1. How do we completely forgive our dads in the freeing way that gets rid of bitterness and anger?
2. What does it look like to die to ourselves
3. What does a journey with no limitations look like to you?
4. Why is it hard for us to tell others we have been hurt
5. What has your father made you
6. How do we describe hurt?
7. What if we found our worth in Jesus
8. What if we asked what if more often
9. How do we payback with blessings when we have been wronged
10. Why is it so hard to tell others we have been hurt
11. How do we manifest the beauty of gods character?
12. Do we listen to our dreams
13. How are you angry at god?
14. who do you need to inquire with about the way they have hurt you
15. What does it look like to not impose your way onto somebody else
16. What identified you when you were younger
17. What identifies you now?
18. How do you love your dad
19. How does your dad love you
20. How do you experience god in the moment to moment?
21. What does the gap between what you are able to do and what you choose to do look like?
22. What if our minds were not trained to consume?
23. Are there questions you can ask somebody to see if they are a kingdom person?
24. Do you want things that you can not offer
25. What if we were able to freely talk about our idols?
26. Do you get mad at somebody for something they did without seeing if it is a trait you carry?
27. Do you put an unhealthy level of emphasis on being and doing something purposeful
28. what does your vulnerability with people show you about your vulnerability with god in your life?
29. what or who are you a master of and how does that reflect your relationship with god?
30. Do you mourn for non-believers, if so how deep?
31. Have you had something taken away, if so how has that changed your response to how your life your life?