Is This Your Year of Freedom?


We’re continuing our series on becoming free…

I recognize women who have tried to protect themselves by denying the truth of their past sexual abuse, domestic violence or a spouse’s sexual addiction. Denying the lie they are living and the part they play. It’s excruciatingly painful to face the truth head on. To acknowledge the depth of dysfunction, and the stuck place we can’t seem to get out of. But the cost down the road, if we don’t, is so much greater than our current pain. Europe 228

I wish I could tell them.

These women see the consequences of their broken lives in themselves and in their children and are in despair, but they are afraid to look at the truth. How they got there and why they stay. They are lost in a hurting, hopeless world. I know.

I was one of them.

I believe the woman in the Bible, the one at the well, was one too. But when Jesus sought her out and spoke truth to her, she glimpsed a glimmer of hope.

‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’” (John 4:19-20)

She believed he was a prophet. Maybe he could untangle the mess that was her life.

Was she ready for that?

I wonder if she was trying to change the subject, or if she was trying to prove how “good” she was by telling him what she knew about religion. Often, when the Lord whispers some truth about our lives that we aren’t sure we want to deal with, we focus on a past or future circumstance – well, it was like this… – or another person’s issues instead. Maybe we bring up someone else as a comparison to alleviate our shame, or to evaluate how good we are based on how bad they are.

And how many times do we respond based on what we think God (or someone else) expects?

Or maybe this woman wished she could have a relationship with God, but because someone told her there was only one way and one place, she felt excluded. Besides, the shame she felt was enough to make her exclude herself from any kind of worship. Don’t we often deny ourselves from connecting with God?

How could he want someone like me?

Jesus declared, ‘Believe me, woman…true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.’”

The truth is, Jesus is happy to have us come to him any time, place and way, if our hearts are sincerely directed towards him.

The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’” (verse 25)

This woman clung to what she knew. Someday Jesus was going to come and explain everything. That was her hope. I can imagine her wistfully looking towards the mountain, picturing how Jesus would make everything in her life right again.

Someday.

Can you imagine her astonishment when Jesus said,

‘I who speak to you am he.’?”

The same shame-filled woman, who had earlier avoided the crowd, now went eagerly to find them. She couldn’t wait DSC_0020 (2)to share how simply being in the presence of Jesus had transformed her life.

And God has the same for us.

When we worship, when we take in his words spoken to us through the Bible, when we engage with Jesus, he transforms our life. No matter what it looks like. No matter what we’ve done or what’s been done to us.

So, what if this is the year we face our life? What if this year we let him transform us?

Do You Want to Get Well?


Sometimes our pain and brokenness feels safer than the prospect of healing. 

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There’s a story in the Bible about a crippled man. He spent his life reclining next to a pool of healing, but had never been able to make it into the pool.

“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been in that condition for a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”   John 5:6

I think Jesus asks us the same thing.

It may seem like a foolish question to which we would answer “Uh, of course,” but frequently we choose to remain in a state of unhealthiness. Perhaps:

  • We don’t realize that we’re unwell.
  • We may not understand how we became unwell.
  • We don’t recognize that we’re the ones keeping ourselves in that state.
  • We don’t want to let go of the patterns we have learned to live with because even though they’re not healthy, they are familiar and comfortable. We feel a certain security when we cling to them.
  • We hold on to unhealthy ways because they keep us the center of the attention we crave.
  • We recognize we’re sick, but have no idea how to go about getting well.

Most of our unhealthy patterns of living come from our childhood; we imitate the patterns our family members lived. Or in our determination to survive dysfunction (including abuse) in our families, we’ve adopted warped ways of functioning. We carry these dysfunctions into our future, and they become like leeches sucking the life out of us without our being aware they are attached.

When Jesus asks us if we want to get well, it isn’t a rhetorical question.

He asks because he has a plan to heal us. If we are willing, he will reveal the truth about the things that keep us sick and will lead us into health. But we have to be willing to listen to him and do what he says.

It sounds easy; so why don’t we simply get well?  

First of all, if we don’t realize we’re sick, will we go to a doctor? Once, I had been feeling ill for a number of weeks. When I finally went to a doctor, she sent me immediately to the hospital! I knew things weren’t right, but I had no idea I was that sick. So sick, in fact, she expressed her surprise that I was alive. I was used to living as a survivor—one who survives in terribly adverse conditions by the will to get through one moment at a time. That isn’t life; it’s simply not succumbing to death. In that mode, it’s no wonder that we don’t realize the extent of our illness, physically or emotionally.

Secondly, are we willing to ask for help?

Many of us are reluctant to go to a doctor with physical ailments. (Or a counselor for emotional issues, right?) Don’t we fear pain, embarrassment or the guilt of having neglected our situation or selves? We may feel shame which insists we suffer in silence rather than uncover ourselves and get well.

Finally, healing is painful, and we don’t want to face the time it takes to get well.

As a child, one of my daughters broke her arm badly. Of course, she was taken to the hospital where the doctor informed us she would have to be anesthetized and have her wrist set. Though the bone had not punctured the skin, her wrist was deformed. Obviously, she was in tremendous pain. It was in the middle of the night (she had fallen out of bed), so she was tired and frightened about the impending surgery. She also feared missing an upcoming sports tournament due to her broken arm.

What if, in order to save her from more pain and fear, I had decided not to have the doctor fix her arm? Anyone would think that decision ridiculous. The outcome would have been a permanent disability.

We are no different if we allow ourselves to remain deformed emotionally because we fear the pain that comes with whatever it takes to heal us.

God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”  Psalm 32:8

He has a plan for our healing if we are willing to ask him to show us what steps to take. Do you want to be made well?

How has God healed you? Are you struggling with the fear of healing?
 
If you would like prayer or help, please comment below or feel free to contact me privately at: laurabennet14@gmail.com