There is a jail that I would reason a guess exists in every nation around the world, it is a jail that allows us to roam freely among society, live in the home of our choice, have a car, and earn a paycheck to spend as we wish. It is a jail with no visible bars or barbed wire. There is no warden or parole board, it is a jail that no one has sentenced us to but ourselves, and every prisoner is free to leave whenever they want all they have to do is walk through the door, it is the jail of our own making in our mind and thoughts. I know many people, past and present that have sentenced themselves and are currently residing in this jail, some are living in the cell block of condemnation some are in the addiction and self medication ward, while others are across the yard in revenge and unforgiveness. I try to visit them as often as I can, holding the door open behind me a few extra minutes when I leave just in case one of them wants to walk out the door with me. Some have come close but then dutifully turn around preferring to be in the comfort of the familiar than the bright light of the unknown that promises wonderful things, and that makes me sad.
I lived in this jail most of my life, I could not forgive myself for not being able to be thin enough to deserve being loved, I could not forgive myself for not being able to make myself pretty enough to deserve being loved, I could not forgive myself for being born with a learning disability and not being able to be smart enough to deserve being loved, I condemned myself for not being able to be perfect enough to deserve being loved. Warped, but oh so true, what I did not know at the time is that God created me to be way I was meant to be.
I don’t want to make it seem like I have it all together because I don’t, I still put myself back in that jail cell from time to time when I don't live up to the unreasonable expectations I place on myself. I have a learning disability that has no has not always served me well, I have always had to work twice as hard to keep up yet most of the time I still fell short, I came from a physically and verbally abusive home where I was always trying to be perfect enough for my father to love me but still falling short, I still struggle with how could I possibly think that someone else could find something about me to love if my own father didn’t, and that is when I put myself back in that jail and have to remind myself of who I am in Christ, I am beautifully and wonderfully created by a God who loves me just the way I am.
I am created by a God who brought me into this world knowing the struggles I would have, and He was always there never letting me fall too far, even when I didn’t know it, but never letting me get too comfortable. He knew one day I would get tired of the constant struggling to make life happen on my own and I would come looking for Him for a way out, and that way out is available to anyone who wants it.
I will let you in on a little secret, you are beautifully and wonderfully created by a God who loves you just the way you are, He wants to free you from the bondage you have put yourself in and a bondage He never intended for you to have. Confess whatever it is that keeping you in jail and let Him sort it out, He will and He will work it out for your good, trust me, you cannot fix anything better than God can.
When you live your life putting God first it having something on the inside of you filled up, a place you may not have even known was empty until it was full. It is knowing that whatever storm of life you are in or is headed your way you don't have to handle it on your own. There is a peace in knowing that whatever happens is under God's sovereign control, and He already has a plan.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
For your listening pleasure today I have included some Josh Wilson, Before the Morning.