Do you have chains? Because I have them, too. My chains might not look like yours. They might not even be visible from the outside. Truth is, I want to explain them away, justify them, or better yet: bury them– especially so that you can’t see. I am going to tell you a funny story about when I was in college. Before I had them under control (and even sometimes still), my allergies would flare so badly that my skin would become red and flaky and painful. I never did anything about them though, just kind of suffered through until they passed– until the rash crept up around my eyes. Suddenly, I needed to see the doctor immediately. The thing of it is– I only sought treatment when people could see my condition, when it was visible, when it became an object of conversation. And so I say today that must of us if not all of us are shackled by something we keep invisible– something that wounds our soul, something that stagnates our journey, something that simply holds. us. back. And those things we’ve tried to bury deep down inside of us in the shadowed and cobwebbed corners so that nobody can see. But when we don’t address those chains they squeeze tighter and wound deeper. What we don’t realize is that we are slowly being choked from the inside out, and that is no way to live.
For the longest time and even still I struggle with this: I thought that there was shame in imperfection. I didn’t realize that there can be fortune in my failures. Even opportunity! Because when I fail, when I am weak, when I am sad is when I run straight to God. I have a conversation with Him. Sometimes we can’t grasp how much He actually loves us, how deeply He forgives us from the inside out, how much He loves us in spite of us, and that– through it all– He is for us. The chains that bind us, the ones that weaken us, are the same ones that fastened Him to the cross: He let those chains scar His body so that He could heal us. He chose to be shackled so that we could be freed.
If you believe– truly believe that He loves you and He is for you–truly believe that your sins are forgiven as far as the east is to the west–truly believe that when God sees you He sees the blood of Jesus and not whatever you’ve done in your past–then your chains– the ones you’ve been wearing out loud and the ones that you’ve kept secret–they have been destroyed. “No guilt in life; no fear in death. This is the power in Christ in me” (“In Christ Alone”, Passion).
I am, You are, We are– Set Free.