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The Meaning of Freedom

Freedom is a big deal to me. As a young student, I didn’t fully understand the importance of freedom, though I knew it was something we celebrated extensively on the 4th of July. Now as an adult in the professional world, I have come to realize that freedom is an integral component to the human spirit. Our hearts yearn for freedom, and when we are provided opportunities to work, lead, think and act freely, we come alive and begin to reach our God-given potential. A.W. Tozer once said: “Let the heart soar as high as it will”. The unique freedoms provided in America’s Constitution have allowed the hearts of its citizens to soar as high as possible, and from our Nation’s inception 242 years ago, the results of progress are staggering.

Independence Day is something my family and I look forward to every year. My hometown is a beach town, so for the last several years, I have spent the 4th of July on the beach, in the sand, grilling with family and friends, thanking God for the way He has led our country. In our family, the 4th turned into an outdoor, warm-weather version of Thanksgiving, which is pretty darn sweet. Growing up, our family always watched “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS…and now as an adult, I tune in ever year.

As Cooper grows older, I’ll teach him that America will continue to soar, as long as our freedoms are maintained, namely the freedom to worship and serve the Living God—which was denied to the Pilgrims, and began our Nation’s story. I’ll teach Cooper that being an American means doing your part, pulling your weight and being prepared to pull others’ too. It means being a “storehouse and granary for the world”, as George Washington said. It means praying, working, innovating in order to make life better for you, your children, and your neighbors.

While Thanksgiving and Christmas are iconic holidays, they aren’t the same until I am done playing professional football. We may get those days off (if we’re lucky), but it’s hard to truly relax when you know the next game is only days away, and you’ll need to be up early the next morning studying blitzes-ha. Conversely, the 4th of July falls in the middle of our summer break and can truly be a day of rest and reflection, making it a special day for those of us in football.

This year on the 4th I will be in my hometown grilling steaks, burgers, hot dogs, whatever I can get my hands on. Also, sitting on the beach, reading a book. Friends and family will stop-by, we may find a boat and go out on the water. We’ll tune-in to “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS, watch the sunset and finish by seeing the Fireworks over the lake. It will be an All-American kind of day.
Here’s to 242 more years of history-making Freedom -- Happy 4th!