I used to think that bondage meant things like drug addiction, pornography, etc. I was totally blind to the fact that I as a Christian was blind, deaf and bound in so many areas of my life. We can be bound by things such as perfectionism, false responsibility, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, unforgiveness, fear, conformity and more. Jesus came to set us free from every bondage…even the bondage of religion. Where there is a feeling of torment, there is a bondage. He brought the amazing gift of grace. There is a lot packed into this post. Take the time to study these scriptures. Pray about what Holy Spirit wants to do in your heart. The video is long but very anointed. You do not want to miss what Jason Upton speaks about. May God bless you and set you free in every area of your life.
The Prison of the Vow
As a child I made an inner vow. When my daddy broke a promise to call I was bitterly disappointed and I vowed never to let anyone hurt me like that again. In that moment, I felt the pain subside and a strange numbness take over. When I made this vow I didn’t realize it, but I gave Satan access to my heart. My heart became hardened by my own vow. Over the years I came to realize that I had a pattern of either numbing my heart or hardening my heart to “protect” myself from feeling pain.
Over time I began to feel a frustration towards the diminished feeling in my heart, but didn’t know how to fix the problem. For example, I began to see that I couldn’t properly grieve when people I cared about died. The pain would get trapped inside, locked up with no way out and the numbness just continued to grow deeper and deeper. I eventually realized that I wasn’t feeling that much of the good stuff either. Anesthesia has a way of doing that – the Novocaine may block the pain of the filling when we have dental work but it also causes us to not feel the good stuff too. Have you ever used Ora-gel? It will cause you to lose even the enjoyment of delicious food because it’s anesthetized your taste buds. This is what had happened to me. Life just wasn’t tasting very good. Everything was just becoming bland and numb.
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.
As I ran into Target to buy last minute Valentine’s Cards and gifts for the kids, husband, family and teachers I was unprepared for the heart moment that was coming my way.
God speaks to me at the most unexpected times and today was no different. He really knows how to get our attention if we’re watching and listening for it. Today, he spoke to me through the cries of a little child.
Heading to the candy aisle in the back of the store, I passed moms chatting to each other as they loaded last minute items into the cart. It was hustle and bustle back there, with all of us picking through boxed hearts filled with candy, stuffed animals, valentine’s cards, etc. You know the drill. In my mind I was ticking off the people I was buying for and trying to find suitable items in the short amount of time I had. I always manage to wait until the last minute!
The Cry of a Broken Heart
My thoughts and calculations came to a screeching halt as I heard a whaling toddler boy coming my way. He was with another lady who was clearly not his mama because he was making a bee-line for a young lady who most definitely was. His cries of “mama, mama” left no doubt in my mind. He was obviously in distress but she seemed very distracted and absentmindedly patted him as he danced up and down crying and lifting his arms up to pick him up.
God desires our hearts. He actually pursues us and our hearts which is why, in His love for us, He gives us free will. When I finally surrendered and gave God all of me (at least at this point I think all of me) my heart began a transformation process. During this process I began to pray to God and I would find myself praying for, “Open heart surgery God – give me open heart surgery and transform my heart to the heart you intended for me.” This prayer was straight from the Holy Spirit. As I prayed this, my heart was softened.
I found myself beginning to pray, “Break my heart for what breaks yours.” This is beginning to happen more and more, and my heart now breaks for the lost and other Christians like myself who were walking in darkness in areas of their life. Freedom, love and grace are my new passions.
As I am growing in maturity in my relationship with the Lord, my heart is being transformed. Out of my deepened love for Him I desire to do His will – not out of a focus on perfection but rather coming from a place of desiring to do what the Father’s heart desires. It’s truly as if He has given me a heart transplant, transplanting my old selfish heart with the heart of Jesus.
Jesus is coming back for His bride but will we be a bride that is running to Him or away from Him? We’ve all seen the movies where the groom is standing at the alter, so handsome in all of his finery, with the sanctuary decked out in glory for his bride. Beautiful flowers and perhaps candles adorn the alter and he eagerly looks down the aisle in anticipation of the moment his bride will walk forward and join herself to him in Holy matrimony. She’s beautiful, dressed in her gorgeous wedding gown, and she’s walking toward him. You can see her conflict. She knows this man is amazing, but she’s having to force her way down the aisle toward him. She’s afraid and it’s written all over her face.
This should be her happily ever after moment, but it’s not. “He loves you,” you want to shout at the screen in front of you. “Don’t break his heart! What are you afraid of!?”
As she turns and runs, all you can do is hurt for this groom. You see her conflict, the fear that’s driving it all, but the groom always breaks our heart. He knew she was a risk, but she was worth the risk. She’s lovely and amazing and he knows he can make her happy. The problem is that her fear of relinquishing control and getting hurt is the very thing that drives her into the arms of further heartache. As we watch this, we gasp – the poor groom. He’s left to sift through the heartache and rejection he feels after his bride to be flees from fully surrendering her heart to him. This is the woman he loves. She’s so amazing, but she can’t even see it, and she can’t see he isn’t a risk at all. She’s running from all that he wants to offer her. She’s running from him. As we watch, we can all almost physically feel his pain.