Emancipation Day is a holiday in Washington, D.C., to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act, which President Abraham Lincoln signed on April 16, 1862. The holiday is held annually on April 16.

Today we celebrate 154 years since the “Emancipation Declaration” was signed and placed into law.

I recently saw the movie “Lincoln” and was moved, feeling very proud of being an American and sad at the same time. I was proud because of the freedom we all have and the battles fought over the past centuries to gain and maintain that freedom. I was sad because I realize that today’s political climate is all about taking away our freedoms and regulating every citizen to the nth degree. The Emancipation was signed with the purpose of freedom, declaring that ALL people are created equal. Let’s continue to fight for our freedoms. As a nation, we need to stand up and elect representatives who share our dreams and goals of independence and personal rights. The USA is a great country made up of people of all races with different political, religious and personal views. Our differences are what we all have in common, which makes us special if not unique.

So much for political freedom. Let’s talk about emotional freedom. Why do we insist on carrying so much emotional baggage? When we travel, our luggage is on wheels purposely designed to lighten our load and make moving faster and easier. Once we’re in the airport, every piece is transported by cart or conveyor, so we enjoy our traveling experience and come back in fine spirits. Emotional scars can be extremely burdensome and limiting; similar to travel baggage, they can feel bulky and heavy, minimizing our full potential.

In 1862 President Lincoln basically said the time had come; the Civil War was being fought, men and women were dying, family and country were dysfunctional, so he put his foot down and said now is the time to end slavery, and I won’t accept anything less! It took hard work and many difficult decisions, but his determination prevailed.

I’m encouraging you to put your foot down and say today is the start of your personal “emancipation,” the end of your being a slave and the start of your getting free. Quit hauling all the emotional baggage from one day to the next. Start dropping the bags one at a time. If they don’t improve your day or mood or outlook, drop them. What happened yesterday, last month or last year is in the past, which is a good place to leave it. Take a deep breath and let it go. Focus and put your all into the day; when you do, the day will repay your effort, giving you great results.

Start fresh and improve your body, mind and soul. Eat better, exercise, let go of the past and start reading the Bible. Emancipation!

Proverbs 3:1 says: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.”

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