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.

Appreciate don’t compare

A while ago I was talking to a friend and he was giving me some advice about an unhealthy pattern I was noticing about myself. I was telling him how I was comparing other girls to my girlfriend at the time. this was something I know I did not want and I noticed it was making me feel less excited and appreciative of my relationship and my friend Jordan said “comparison is a joy killer”, his last name is Marshall if you want to quote him. of course this was not all he said, but this was something that really resonated with me because I really felt I was not enjoying my relationship with my girlfriend because I was comparing her to other girls.

that great lesson in comparison being a joy killer has stuck with me to this day as something I try to live out in my life. this recently has gone full circle with me because I have experienced a hand full of times somebody comparing me to somebody else right in front of me to other people. I don’t believe the intentions are negative at all but each time it happens, in my head, I take a step bac and say really!!! I do this because I do not see the resemblance and I wonder to myself what does this person see in me that makes me like that person. if I were honest I am more worried about what idea that other person is getting about me from this comparison that I am about the actual comparison. comparisons make you think because they are a form of a metaphor. if I were to put the comparison aside I would be able to see that that there is a compliment trying to be distributed. the comparison is not allowing me to see the compliment and thus is taking the joy that could be experienced from the compliment.

I personally am horrible at not participating in comparison. I would argue that I am one of the worst contributors. most of my comparison is inward based meaning that I compare myself to others. I think this is detrimental to how I find satisfaction in life. if I am always trying to measure up to somebody else’s unspoken standard then I will just continue to reach for something that is perpetually unfulfilling. one of the closest people to Jesus noted that he said come to me and I will give your life and I will give it abundantly. I take this to mean that if you find your life your identity your fulfillment in Jesus and not the world then you will have life and an abundant source of it, which I take to mean an endless amount of joy. this is unlike my state I was in when I received the wisdom from Jordan because there was a condition I was internally putting on my girlfriend to meet and when it was not met I appreciated others instead of her. I remember when I was a young lad I would compare myself to my friends after Christmas to see who got the most, biggest, coolest, expensive gifts and I would think their parents were cooler than mine . the appreciation was short lived but it took from the appreciation that I should have had towards my parents and the joy of their selfless giving provided. not only is comparison a joy killer, but it is an gratitude killer. there is a reason folks that are more grateful are more joyful. to turn back to Jesus I think he provides a way for us to be filled with the joy daily and guess what it is through appreciation. Jesus said to be thankful for your daily bread. if we are thankful for our basic necessities in front of us then everything else will just be an overflow. that overflow is the joy. when we compare we don’t feel like we have enough and we are void of the joy that the overflow provides. this is still something I am working on and I would like to ask if you would like to join me in being more grateful. to appreciate ourselves, what we have, what we have done, who we are, others around us, challenging times, and our enemies. the life we have been given needs to be cherished, so join with me in seeking the abundant life. there is nothing to compare to the greatness of the little taste I have had of the abundant life, and I am choosing to seek more joy in my life. remember “comparison is a joy killer” Jordan Marshall.