Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week’s reflection was written by writer/editor Maureen Lunn.
I’ll never forget the first time I drove a car by myself. It was summer, I was 15 with a learner’s permit, driving in my grandpa’s hunter green Ford Ranger. My parents let me take the 15-minute drive down the highway to go to youth group at church, and then straight home. I still remember how amazing, how grown up, that felt! For a young person in America, that inaugural drive may be one of the greatest feelings of independence many of us will experience.
For people around the world, an opportunity for this type of independence also holds a lot of power, both personally and economically. For Ronaldo, a young man in Guatemala, the freedom to make choices for his future led to improving the economic situation of his entire family. One of his earliest memories of being in Unbound is of saving his sponsorship benefits to buy livestock.
“I do remember my very first animal,” Ronaldo said. “It was a pig. I loved that pig. I was a little boy and I enjoyed raising it.”
He was just a little boy, and now he owned his own pig! I can only imagine that Ronaldo may have experienced the same feeling of independence I felt on that first drive — the wonder of being a young person doing a grown-up thing. And now, his initial wise choices are leading to economic self-sufficiency for him and his family — a true form of independence.
Vinita Hampton Wright, author and editor at Loyola Press, said this about freedom and making choices in her article, “Freedom and Discernment”:
“Freedom and discernment go hand in hand. The freer we become, the more we are able to go about life in a wise and discerning way. And the more we use wisdom and discernment, the freer we become to make choices and then get on with life. It’s difficult to say which comes first — discernment or freedom. One leads to the other.”
In the United States, this connection between freedom and discernment played a role in the founding of our country. The freedoms we enjoy today are rooted in the founders’ wisdom and pursuit of self-determination. In the same way, people around the world like Ronaldo are becoming empowered to determine their own futures as they grow in wisdom, and make better choices because of it. What a beautiful picture of freedom.
Happy Independence Day! Read Ronaldo’s story of finding economic freedom.
Generous God, thank you for freedom and for all the freedoms big and small that allow us to experience joy and chase our dreams. Give us wisdom so that we don’t take our personal independence for granted, and empower us to help others find freedom in their own lives. Amen.