What are you doing with YOUR Freedom? Reflections from “12 Years a Slave”

"12 Years a Slave"  Motion Picture

“12 Years a Slave”
Motion Picture

If you have yet to see this movie, you may want to add it to your list of movies worth viewing.  No matter your ethnicity, this movie highlights the harsh realities of slavery and the horrific results of not only physical abuse amongst a race, but the mental incarceration forced upon them as a whole.  Unfortunately, this became a way of life for those enslaved.

I am ever so thankful for my ancestors who endured through these atrocities, and even more thankful for those that were courageous enough to stand for what was right.  Not just the Civil Rights Movement, but all the unsung heroes who sacrificed everything for the rights of all of us to be treated equally.

Reflecting on this movie and the message behind it, I can’t help but wonder,

“What am I doing with this freedom that has been handed to me through the blood, sweat and tears of my ancestors?” 

“What am I doing to further the fight for this freedom?”

Or, is the belief that we are now “free” holding me back into a state of complacency?

Sadly, just because we can’t see the shackles on our wrists and ankles doesn’t mean they are not there.  The difference —


cement feetMany of us are blaming someone or something else for our perceived confinement.  I will venture to say that the reason many of us are hanging onto these illusions of constraints is because of our unwillingness to identify that which is holding us back and keeping us stuck like feet planted in freshly poured cement.

Accepting this reality is the first step toward removing yourself from the confines of your past so that you can begin to move forward, allowing you to put the residue in perspective and uncover its relevance to your God-given purpose… in other words, there’s a reason for it!

There has been so much residue from my past that keeps creeping up in the most unexpected places resulting in the cyclical re-surfacing of defensiveness, procrastination, fear and self-doubt.  These beliefs are camouflaging the shackles which keep me in a proverbial bondage that I am no longer willing to accept.

Just like the gentleman in the movie who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, we cannotholdiing on lose hope. God has such a magnificent plan for you and as long as you hold on to the shackles that seem to keep you strapped to your post, you will remain in a cycle of slavery that does not permit you to let go and move on.

There will always be pain in the process, but if you’ve seen the movie, you know that the pain of staying in that situation and enduring the abuse and neglect is far worse than putting forth the effort it takes to get out of it.


Developing Healthy Internal & External Boundaries to Keep the Past Where it BelongsPamela Byrd is an advocate for human potential with an unwavering commitment to assisting women in their quest toward achieving something more.

She has a distinct gift for helping others to uncover their value and regain their warrior status to move toward achieving their life’s goals.


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