Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Finally Free

I didn't write while I was on vacation. I didn't really care about any of that.

I didn't write for a week when I got home either. Apparently, I still didn't care.

There was something that just felt...I don't know...like it had been left somewhere. Like a lost glove or something.

Apathy.

Lethargy.

Slothfulness.

Winter.

I felt like Solomon, who says in Ecclesiastes 2:11(NLT) 

But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless-like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

I like the NKJV, which calls it vanity instead of meaningless.

I kind of felt like everything I do, everything I write is meaningless, pointless. Vain (Even this post...it's all about me...it's so vain). Who cares? And I felt like that about everyone else's blogs and writing as well. I deleted every blog post and devotional that was emailed to me without even reading them. It all seemed pointless, meaningless and...well...yes, a bit vain. 

I just didn't care. So I didn't write. What was the point?

I also didn't commune with God. At all. No bible reading. No prayer except for the occasional grace before meals. No quiet time. Oh, I had quiet time. I played games on my tablet, read books, and watched a Tyler Perry marathon. 

It snowed. And snowed again. And snowed some more. 

And the more I ignored my writing and my God, the more apathetic, lazy, and depressed I became. And the guiltier I felt.

Until one morning as I lay in bed, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper,

Why are you avoiding me?

That got my attention.

I didn't know the answer.

Then,

Why are you mad at me?

Am I?

I didn't know the answer to that either. 

But I know that God never asks a question because He needs to know the answer. He already knows. He asks so that we will ask ourselves.

There is no insightful spiritual answer here. Sorry. I never did discover the answers...at least to the second question. I didn't think I was angry with God (but I'm still asking myself).

But I did know that I was avoiding Him. Why, I don't know. But I do know that once I started avoiding Him, I felt guilty. And that led to feeling ashamed to come into His presence, so it was easier to continue to avoid Him.


I didn't really ponder this whole thing. I just kept going through my day, bored and restless. Sad and lazy.

Then I got in my car and selected the playlist of an artist that I'd recently discovered...Marshall Hall. 

And this song came on...Finally Free (if video does not display, click on link).

Here are the lyrics:

No chain is strong enough...
No choice is wrong enough...
No mountain high enough that He can't climb.
No shadow dark enough...
No night is black enough...
No road is lost enough that He can't find.

(Chorus)
So if the Son has set us free, then we must be free indeed!
Let the chains fall away starting today.
Everything has changed...
I'm finally free!

No pain is deep enough
No heart could bleed enough
Nothing but Jesus' love
Can make a way (to chorus)

I experienced freedom from guilt, shame, fear, etc. years ago. I lived in bondage to what people thought about me, perfection, and much more. I spent years in "recovery" and therapy and came out on the other side. I typically live a life free from all of that. 

Something happened when I heard this song. I'd backed myself into a corner by avoiding God. I was living in the shadows of shame and guilt. I made choices and then started believing the lies that I wasn't a "good Christian" because I was not "doing" all the things a "good Christian" should be doing.

And because I'd stopped writing, I believed that I wasn't really a writer. After all, a real writer writes every day. I wasn't serious enough about my craft, so I'll never make it.

As I listened to the song, I felt the chains fall away once again. 

The chains of feeling like I have to perform to be accepted, acknowledged, and loved. The chains of feeling like I have to "do" Christianity. If I don't do the prescribed things, then I'm a hypocrite and don't deserve to wear the badge of Christianity. 

The chains of performing as a writer. If I don't write so many posts a week, and link up and create memes yadayadayada...then I'm not going to make it. I don't deserve to wear the blogger badge either.

The chains of feeling like I just don't measure up. Like I'm not good enough. Like I have to "do" to be.

Nothing is too far for God to stretch out His hand and pull us back. Nothing is beyond His forgiveness, mercy and grace.

The freedom that came told me that it was okay that I took a break from writing. I am still a writer if I decide that's what I want to be. I do it for me. Not for anyone else. I get out of it what I decide to put into it, and no one can tell me what is right or wrong. 

It was also okay that I "took a break from God." Now, that might not sit right with a lot of you. Let me explain what I mean:

It's not necessarily okay to actually "take a break from God," but it was okay that I did. That's what grace is all about. Forgiveness. Acceptance. Not having to strive. Messing up and being loved anyway. Anyway. No matter what. Even when we turn our backs on God, He is still there. He never turns His back on us.

Just when I thought I had my act together, I got blindsided!

Even if we have experienced freedom in Christ in a major way through deliverance, recovery, therapy, etc. we must always be aware that it is so easy to slip back into our old beliefs and habits. It often happens insidiously and without our knowledge. We feel like something is "off" but don't really know what it is...or we know and we just don't care.

And if we are too prideful and self-righteous to realize that we have fallen prey to those silent chains, we will never experience true freedom. When we will tell ourselves, "Oh, I've done all that. I worked through my issues," we allow ourselves to be deceived into thinking that we are done with all that stuff.

When we allow the chains of pride to blind us, 
those same chains will be the ones that bind us.

We are never done. If we were, we wouldn't still need a Savior. 

We are not done, but it is finished.


Jesus has made a way for us to be free. Without His sacrifice, we cannot claim true freedom. With Him, we have victory over the chains that continually threaten to bind us.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)




16 comments:

  1. Oh I love that song! Thank you for introducing it to me! I could so relate to this, friend... I have been known to give God the silent treatment and not really know why... I've been known to veg out and try to find rest elsewhere... and I've been finding a bit of scary freedom in not letting my blog be the boss of me! If I need to post less, I'm paying attention and giving myself the grace to step back! I just read Holley Gerth's new book and highly recomment it! It's all about how we are freed from striving for perfection... and how we can rest in knowing that we are loved - No Matter What!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Karrilee. I have Holley's book on my wish list. Don't know why I haven't just ordered it! I think a lot of women have the problem of thinking that we need to be all and do all.

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  2. When were you feeling this way, Mary? Recently or is this from years ago? I sure hope you haven't been this low recently. You always seem so up and encouraging. But I have been there myself from time to time. In fact, there's an area of my life currently that I'm in a "grieving mode" over and coming to terms has been painful and often discouraging. But God! I move back to Him and He encourages and lifts me up into His arms and I remember that He is busy redeeming the hurt. Sometimes I must wait to see that redemption, but that doesn't mean it's not in process. I love the song and I love your vulnerable heart here, my friend! It is not a prideful thing you do, but a humble one--being God's vessel of challenge and truth. Hugs to you!

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  3. Beth, sadly, this was recent. I tend to get depressed during the winter, and self-diagnosed myself with S.A.D...and all the snow we had on top of the bitter cold prevented me from being outside, which I thrive on! Then we went on vacation and I kind of left God at home...the rest is in the blog...thanks for the kind and encouraging words!

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  4. Oh, I TOTALLY get this! There was a time in my life that I couldn't read my Bible. Prayer was very difficult. I did listen to worship music, but that was the extent of it. It was terrifying for me. Years later, it lasted about 3 years, God showed me that He was rebuilding my faith and it would be stronger than ever. I pray this will be the case for you as well. And we had a very LONG winter when that season of my life started - it did not help.
    Thank you for your honesty here.

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    1. Thanks for that, Aimee. It's just a slump. Nothing serious. I'm back on track (sort of) with Spring coming.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your heart here. It was beautiful to read. I used to feel very stressed about my blog as well. So many voices telling me you need to post this many times a week or you will loss readers! I'm lucky if I get one post a week out! But that one post is from my heart and if God is pleased with it, then I'm content. My blog is for Him, the One who has set me free. : )

    God bless. I'm visiting from the Blessings Counter link-up.

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    1. so many voices everywhere it seems, doesn't it, Cathy? Everywhere, everyone seems to be telling us what's best for us. It's so easy to get distracted and drawn away from the Lord, who alone will tell us what's best. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. Yay! So glad you're back pouring out your heart through words. We all struggle . . . thanks for voicing what so many of us fight. I too love the song. Beautiful! Thanks so much for joining the party at CMB. Blessings and hugs!

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  7. This post. I don't know where to begin with the amens. It resonated with me. It challenged. And it pointed me back to my Savior and King. What greater aim could a writer have than that? Thanks for writing and especially for this post. {{Visiting from Grace and Truth :) }}

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  8. Thanks so much for that Arabah. Sometimes it's a daily struggle. Sometimes, it's no effort at all...funny how life is...

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  9. Oh dear Mary...I can so hear your heart. And it truly is okay. And grace does indeed abound. I struggle with a bit of SAD but was much better this year which may in part be due to taking omega 3s daily since November and we were gifted with a Lux lamp. But sometimes you just gotta ride it out...and our God is so faithful. He always comes looking for us!! :) I wrote this post last year which may bless you.. http://sheilakimball.com/2014/02/04/when-apricots-made-me-laugh-and-10-tips-to-combat-winter-sadness-plus-a-recipe-for-blues-battling-chocolate-pudding/ Glad I clicked on you at Laura's. Blessings and hugs!

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  10. Sheila, I actually read that post! I wanted to make that chocolate pudding and never did. I'm going to re-read it. I take extra Vitamin D, which seems to help. I'm very glad that Spring is on its way! Thanks for the visit and the encouragement

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  11. Sheila, I actually read that post! I wanted to make that chocolate pudding and never did. I'm going to re-read it. I take extra Vitamin D, which seems to help. I'm very glad that Spring is on its way! Thanks for the visit and the encouragement

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  12. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly with us and I am so glad that you are back writing and living life. Spring seems to be coming in your part of the world and I pray that it brings more new life and new writings and new adventures. Thanks for linking up at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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