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Definitions

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You may not know this, but I am an “insurance professional.” I’m an adjuster, basically. Well, I used to be called an “adjuster” but the company I work for came up with some snazzy new names for our jobs. Now I am a “Senior Claims Analyst.”

Before the change in title, I used to sit around on the phone all day and talk to people about their claims. Now, with my snazzy new title, I sit around all day, talking to people on the phone about their claims. But now, I sound like I’m really important or something.

Did you know, if you have an insurance policy, there is a section in the policy called “Definitions?” Its where WE (your insurance provider) define words such as YOU (the person named in the policy) and DWELLING (The single family structure where YOU reside).

The Definitions section defines the words used in the policy so that YOU know what WE mean when we say words like YOU, WE or DWELLING. WE define those words differently than YOU might outside an insurance contract, and OUR definitions (a statement of the exact meaning of a word) are the ones YOU must abide by, because WE wrote the contract YOU are agreeing to when YOU sign it.

In other words, you must agree to the statement of the exact meaning of a word that we provide, or your understanding of the degree of the distinctions within the policy may lead you to think certain things are covered by insurance, when in (our) reality, they are not.

Definitions, in other words, are vitally important, in all walks of life.

Just as an example, lets take the word “freedom.” We just celebrated some freedom here in the United States, by blowing a bunch of stuff up. When I was a kid, 4th of July was a license to kill…ants, frogs if I could catch one, tree bark – heck, anything I wanted to blow up I could blow up. The funny thing is, we celebrate freedom differently now, because of laws which restrict or define that freedom. For instance, whereas I could blow crap up with impunity as a kid on the farm, it’s illegal to even sell fireworks of any kind in the city I live in. So we have to go to fireworks displays, and just sit there and watch others have the fun of blowing crap up.

On a side note, I am so sick of just sitting here watching others do the fun stuff. I need to work on that, I guess.

If you catch what I said in the last paragraph, we celebrate our “freedom” by being restricted to sitting and watching a fireworks display.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have laws that define what goes on. I’m not saying we should all get to do whatever we can think of. In fact, if you think about it, that’s the opposite of freedom.

Since I’ve landed on the word “freedom” as an example (as was my intent from the beginning lol) let’s define that. Some people say it means something like “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” What kind of place would this be if that was a correct definition?

Another way to define freedom is “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.” The sad thing about this definition is, I know plenty of people who are technically “free” who are imprisoned and enslaved. And I know a few who are in fact in prison, but who are free.

A third definition for freedom might be “the power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.” I think most citizens of the United States might define the freedom granted to them by the Constitution in such a way. We can (generally speaking) go where we want, do what we want, say what we want, and as long as nobody gets hurt and no laws are broken, we’re golden.

But does this definition of freedom really get to the heart of what people in general are searching for? I’ve known wanderers – people who go from place to place, work a while, save some money, and then off they go again. It seems awesome to not be tied to anything, to just be able to pull up stakes and head out whenever, to where ever. But is that freedom? Or it is a futile search for something that may not even exist in reality?

I would submit a final definition of freedom. In a minute. First what freedom is not: it’s not kicking a habit. Not even kicking a bad habit. It’s not getting out of jail, or out of a marriage. It’s not being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s not not being a slave to someone or something. It’s not having a lot of money or things. It’s not the big house on the hill with the white picket fence or a car that just plain starts when you need it to. It’s not feeling safe, it’s not having enough to buy diapers and formula both this week.

I have defined freedom in pretty much every way mentioned above (never been to prison tho…), and for 45 years I was living under a faulty definition, wondering why things in my life just kept getting worse. Wondering WHY?!? Why, when I have a great job, and Cheryl has a great job, and we have all this money coming in, why can’t we just get a new computer? Why do I have to drive this crappy old truck? Why can’t we make our student loan payment this month? It made no sense!

Why can’t I just drive out to the coast, and for once in my life, watch the sun rise over the ocean? Why can’t I find the job I really want? Why can’t I get past thinking that I’m a loser? If I’m so free why can’t I get past all this stuff?

Why? Because freedom is not any of that. None of that is freedom! All my struggling, all the work I did, all the self improvement – none of it produced what I needed most. None of it pulled me out of a pit that I dug my own self, and none of it put me where I thought I should be. My definition of freedom basically sucked, in other words.

It’s funny how when you start living under the correct definitions, life suddenly kinda opens up to you.

Freedom is NOT the absence of struggle, or of hard times, or bad things in life –  freedom is the presence of the Holy Spirit, and a way of knowing truth in such a way that it produces freedom inside you.

I am saying this – freedom doesn’t come from a document under glass in some building in Washington, D.C. You can’t produce freedom from within your own self – freedom comes from outside of you, from another, who gives it to you when you lay down what you think freedom is at His feet. When you let God define freedom, and you let go of your definition, what you take up truly is freedom! Freedom is being in His presence! Freedom is a relationship with a good Father who provides all you will ever need – freedom is knowing God for who He really is!

Faulty definitions never helped anyone, but knowing the Definer of words and Creator of worlds can change everything – Just think about it for a while. What are you searching for? How long have you been on this journey? And  what are the chances that a radical redefinition could change everything for you?
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