bound

Rock piled upon rock. Some smooth proving submission to a forming substance over a large amount of time. Others ragged and stubborn…all layered in a massive piled formation.

Varying colors of grey, dark grey, mottled brown and pieces of moss in places.

The shape takes form and it becomes alter-like.

On top lays a figure. Struggling, moving and desperate to be free.

IMG_0739A closer look finds wire…not just wire…barbed wire. Every movement pierces the skin. Tearing as each small point finds surface to impale. Over and over again.

Darkness closes in, so black that no light could ever pierce it. Screams flow out of the figure, yet bounce back as they hit the advancing wall of darkness. The pain and terror echoes as feelings of pain and the reality of being trapped start suffocating the figure.

Bound. Unable to move. No sight of freedom. Terrified of what happens next.

No…I am not sadistic. I am pondering a more spiritual image.

Of being bound by the things that are hurting our relationship with God and with others. At the core is usually sin and a refusal to acknowledge what is keeping us bound to it. But the layers…it is layer upon layer upon layer of the excuses we give to make something appear okay, while on the inside we are screaming.

How many times have you felt like something was holding on so tight to you that you would never be free of it?

How many times have you felt bound by something you have no control over?

How often have you felt shackled by the expectations of others that you have no hope of rising to succeed?

What has bound you up so tightly that you cannot possibly consider the possibility of being free?

Being bound is being so wrapped up in something that you cannot see beyond it. Life sucks? See no end in sight? No light at the end of the tunnel much less a tunnel to get through?

But there is…light busts in and Jesus’ love and resurrection become not only real but alive and active in this world. God does not desire his people to be bound to the sin in their lives. He does not desire that you would feel alone. He does not desire that you would feel there is no way out of a situation.

His desire for you is not of being bound so tightly that it will kill you to become loose, and feel as though you have no voice.

His desire is that you would be as delighted in his love for you, as he about his love for you since the beginning of time. That the freedom you feel from the ultimate sacrifice of his son would have you dancing, singing and praising all of the days of your life. Then in your freedom you would be his advocate, his witness…his ambassador to others. To be that reflection of his Kingdom that others need to see, because choosing to be bound takes away the reflection of God and the beauty of his love.

God’s love is not about being suffocated. God’s love does not revolve around what this world and its’ people put on you.

God’s love is sacrificial. God’s love is unconditional. God’s love is freedom in this life and the one beyond.

If you find yourself bound today by something in this world, shake the shackles off and embrace God’s truth…then keep repeating it to yourself, because this world will only try to convince you otherwise every single day.

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alone

Water swirls around me as I catch a breath then tuck my head back into the blissful quiet of the pool.

Stroke. Kick. Stroke. Kick. Breathe. Stroke. Kick. Stroke. Kick.

All alone.

When I am swimming it is one of the most peaceful times for me to decompress and clear my head. Second only to hanging out in God’s glorious nature. I may be outgoing, but God doesn’t speak through my outgoing moments. His presence is felt and he speaks through the times I am alone. Quiet. Dreams. Rest. I have to be disciplined to grab onto those moments, or suffer the separation from my Savior. Not good for me…ever.

This morning I woke up with a random song in my head, and while I was swimming the chorus was on a loop…breathing in and out of my soul as I was catching breathes between strokes.

Sometimes I need something to run like a mantra through my head for it to truly sink in.

I am set free. It is for freedom that I am set free.

I actually couldn’t remember the rest of the lyrics. But this mantra of my freedom associated with ‘it is for freedom I am set free’ was continuous.

As I mulled it over, losing track of laps…freedom to bring others freedom or freedom for me to rest in after being set free.

When we got back from the pool (and after the Duke game…priorities…) I hit the iPod.

You mend my life with your holy fire. You cover me with grace.

image

It takes time alone with God for me to feel that mending with his Holy fire. And oh how it can be a raging Holy fire at times…

What this freedom, and mending, means for me is to be free of the shackles of the expectations of others.

Freedom is not suffocating in the sin my Savior willingly takes from me.

Free of the chains holding me to a person I am not.

Freedom to proclaim what I am called to and what I am not called to, and being set free to be that person.

Freedom to bask in the Holy Spirit fire that guides me, restores me and draws me to the heart of God.

Freedom to grasp with my last dying grip to the peace that Jesus freely gave in John 14:27.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

It is being alone with God where I feel the most clarity in my spirit, his peace and where I see most clearly my past, future and the now. Free of distraction, and my mind empty for God to fill…a woman in process and mended by his Holy fire.

(Lyrics from ‘I am set free’ by All Sons and Daughters)