Have you ever been stuck somewhere for so long that you forgot what freedom even felt like?
Spiritually, this can be a huge hang-up for me, and I’m guessing for many of you as well. Jesus recently exposed the root of something gross in my heart that had been producing all sorts of “bad fruit” in my life. John 15 tells us Jesus is like a gardener, and he wants to weed out and prune out the things in our hearts that cause us harm.
This fear I was dealing with in my heart was definitely causing me harm. It was holding me back from loving people, from doing bold things, and enjoying my life. Talking to God one day I clearly heard him whisper to me in my heart that I should go to counseling for this fear. As I imagined my life free from this struggle, all the conversations I could have, all the things I could do, the way that it might make my emotions feel healed–I got ecstatic. The thing is though, I also got very afraid.
Nursing this wound in my heart, had, for the past 18 or so years of my life, kept me safe. By remembering the pain and choosing to be afraid, I could keep myself from entering into any situation in which I might experience that feeling all over again. It was my jail cell, and even though it kept me locked in, it also kept future pain locked out. Many of us live parts or all of our lives this way.
Imagine for a moment that you’re in a dark prison cell somewhere. You’ve been there for 17 years! You’ve survived off of bread and water and barely seen sunlight for thousands of days. Then Jesus arrives. He has the keys to your freedom. He even unlocks and opens the door. You can’t believe someone finally came to rescue you–but you hesitate.
“What if I get caught and thrown right back here? You think. Can my stomach even digest real food anymore? Will people like the person I will become once I’m out of here? What will I do? Who will I be? I don’t know what freedom feels like…this jail cell is at least familiar.”
I’ve been there friends, believe me, and here’s what I’ve found is the “key” to actually escaping–it has to be Jesus. Every time I’ve taken a risky step forward in my recovery, in my career, in my walk with Christ, I have to bank the whole outcome on who I know him to be. I will preach to myself: “If you died on a cross for me Jesus, and you say that this is a step out of darkness and towards your light, then I trust that you’ll be there on the other side to catch me; to teach me to walk in freedom–even if right now, for me, freedom is a scary place.”
I pray that you can pray the same. Borrow courage from my story. Take your next step!