I’m convinced that we remember things for a reason. Our memories serve as road markers on our spiritual journey. When I reflect back on certain memories, I can see that God allowed me to remember these mile markers because they are significant points on my journey with Him. As memories surface, He desires to reveal and heal. Often these memories are very significant. They can be happy; they can be sad. They can be incredibly painful at times.
My natural tendency has been to bury all of the “bad and sad” memories in my efforts to look forward and not stay stuck in the past. I’ve seen people so stuck in the past that they relive these moments over and over, a tool the enemy uses to torment them. There is sound logic in not staying stuck in the past, but there comes a time where God wants us to deal with those “bad and sad” memories from our past. This has been my year for resurfacing and dealing with these memories.
Left untended, emotional wounds fester in our hearts like a splinter. We may think, “better to leave the splinter in my heart and numb my heart to the pain than face the potentially worse pain of picking at that thing and waking up all of the sensations around the splinter.” The process of getting it out may seem very scary to us. Unfortunately, the more we numb ourselves to pain, the more we also numb ourselves to joy. Those unattended splinters in my heart caused me more long term hurt then the initial wounds ever did. Many of those splinters festered in there for years.
I reached a place in my journey with Jesus where I could see that my heart was hardened and so numbed to pain that I wasn’t feeling much of anything good or bad. I decided that walking around feeling numb and dead inside was worse then allowing myself to feel pain. Any kind of feeling had to be better then complete numbness. I had committed myself to loving others, being kind, etc., but I wanted to FEEL! I wanted to rejoice. I wanted to cry for the lost. I wanted my heart to beat with the love of Christ and break for what causes His heart to break.
Freedom Through Surrender
Little did I know that as I prayed these prayers it would start a chain reaction of God bringing things to the surface so that He could in turn heal them. Praise God for a dear friend He placed in my life. As I would find myself discussing my past as we often do with new friends, she was picking up on all kinds of clues for areas I needed inner healing. She was so sensitive to the Holy Spirit that she began to hone in with me on these areas and we would go to the throne room to ask for forgiveness of inner vows I had made. She would walk me through prayers for forgiveness of those who had deeply wounded me. I began to see just how much the enemy had kept me bound by these wounds and vows I had made in my vain attempts to protect myself. The Lord began to reveal area after area where I wasn’t trusting God and showed me how the enemy had come in over the years and imprisoned me in each of these areas of my life mainly due to my fears.
You see, as we are wounded and try to put up walls to self protect, these walls become the bars of our own personal, self-created prisons. The Word of God speaks very clearly on the results of self-protection and self-sufficiency. If Satan can convince us that our way is better, we will step out from the covering God offers us and into the torment of self-sufficiency. Jesus came to set us free from this torment (Isaiah 50:10-11). However, the freedom He offers only comes through our surrender. We can’t have it both ways – holding onto our self-sufficiency and receiving His freedom.
Recognizing Inner Vows
Our memories are the road signs to our prisons. As God brings these memories to the surface we can pray and ask Him to show us where we need to repent. Chances are very high that where you are harboring a painful memory, one that may have caused you to make inner vows. What kind of inner vows you might ask? These vows may sound something like this: “I will never let anyone hurt me again.”
What does that inner vow do? It locks us up in prison. It gives Satan the legal right to imprison us in an area. Now after we’ve made this vow, we’ve made ourselves Lord of our life in this area. We have said I will never. Let’s focus in on the word I. We are saying I, not God. Essentially, we are making ourselves Lord of our own life.
No amount of will or determination on my part was going to get me out of that prison on my end. I had to submit to God with humility and respect and ask forgiveness for my arrogance and humbly ask Him to set me free. This is what we all have to see. WE CANNOT SET OURSELVES FREE FROM OUR OWN PRISONS. However, I can tell you from personal experience he WILL set you free because He did it for me!
Lord, give us the courage to examine our hearts and be honest with ourselves and you about our pain. Help us to see where we have made vows that have led to bondage in our lives. When things are working their way to the surface show us what you want to do in our lives in the midst of the discomfort. If you are revealing it then we know you desire to heal it. Thank you Father God that you open our eyes to our past pain and areas of self-sufficiency so that we can be transformed into who you’ve called us to be.
Verses for Meditation
~ Isaiah 50:10-11
10 Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on their God.
11 But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.
~ John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
~ Luke 4:18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”