A good friend of mine, sadly rendered mentally impaired by some unfortunate events that had befallen him, once told me that he didn’t have an independent brain. I had prior to that occasion often pondered what exactly could have happened to him considering he was once a fine gentleman with so many prospects in life. It wasn’t until then that I truly realised how serious his predicament was.

In one of his many interviews, Nelson Mandela once lamented how unfair it is when others think that their enemies should be our enemies… and I should add, how unfair it is when people think that their likes should be our likes and their priorities should be our priorities. Frankly, choosing to always follow the opinion of others only puts us in the same unfortunate position as my good friend above. It is incredible how we willingly allow our identities to be eroded and our minds led into captivity and slavery as we constantly chose to live by the standards that others have set for us. Preaching the so-called image of what is ‘ideal’ for everyone!

This, unfortunately, is what the world expects of us. Conformity. To toe the line that they have created and not the line that we have created for ourselves. This is not, in any way, an attempt to legitimise mindless dissent and outright rebellion! No! It is a call for us to be able to say “common, wait a minute, that’s not what I want, this is what I want instead!”. In this age of political correctness, I should say it’s becoming even harder to say “I want coffee, not tea!” because if that is not what everyone else wants, then we shouldn’t have it or we shouldn’t even talk about it.

Then we wonder why we never get to achieve the goals that we set out to achieve. It is simple, we often set out for things we don’t understand ourselves, dreams and visions whose cost we have not sat down to count (Luke 14:28, KJV). No wonder when someone disagrees with us or our method, we quickly let go. Then at the end, we come to the shocking realisation that we are now the sad occupants of ‘number 10, Had-I-known street’.

Unlike my good friend who can almost do nothing about his situation, we, on the other hand, must learn to have an independent mind. We must choose to know for ourselves and understand for ourselves so that we can ultimately decide for ourselves. We must learn when to say yes and most importantly when to say no! We must learn to “Keep ‘our’ heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23, KJV). Let the issues of our lives be the consequence of our own decisions and understanding not just what others desire for us! Have an independent mind. AMEN!

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