What Are We Enslaved To?
1.20.20 The major story of the Old Testament is the Exodus story which takes 5 books of the Bible to tell. It is the story of God leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt through a long stay in the wilderness and finally to the Promised Land, Canaan. God would do the same for us, if we were willing to follow His lead. But first we have to understand what enslaves us.
For the most part all we know about ourselves is the conditioned self, the parent-taught, the teacher-taught and especially the culture-laden self. It is like they hold up a mirror to us which limits what we can be. And we believe what they show us. We believe in our flaws more than in our goodness. We don’t even realize that there is a deeper, truer self which holds the promise of fulfillment and connectedness to God. This deeper self lies dormant within us until we begin to pay attention to it, begin to hear God’s Indwelling Spirit, which has been with us since our creation. So, just like in the Exodus story, we have a long journey in which to discover who we really are. Throughout this journey we depend upon God to lead us, to highlight our rebelliousness, to show us what we were designed to do, and to bring us healing of all that enslaves us. Then and only then are we ready to enter the promised land, the kingdom of God, to be our own true self, resting in God.
So the questions for us have to do with what enslaves us. Here are some of the things that have enslaved me as prompts for thinking about your own life and what enslaves you.
- The hell-fire-and-damnation church teachings about a capricious, vengeful God.
- The idea that women are secondary to men and don’t have careers or purposes in their lives.(I was a product of the 40’s and 50’s)
- My mother never got who I was, so I was trained to be poised with good manners in any situation, but had no idea of a deeper, truer self. What enslaved me was my own anxiety and doubt about myself and how I measured up to others—poorly.
- I was taught above all else to be on time—it still haunts me to this day, even when I am clearly early.
- Our culture’s emphasis on quick fixes instead of in-depth causes.
- Christianity’s emphasis on belief rather than on the whole person loving God.
- The dominant white culture gave me a bias for white people when all are God’s people.
To balance the above list, I’d like to show what brought me joy even before I began to realize who I really am.
- Playing outside as a child.
- Athletics in high school, all intermural, but I played every sport all four years.
- Majoring in Art History in college—a field I knew nothing about.
- Sewing and various crafts.
- Having a daughter and twin sons to raise: all I ever wanted to be was a mother.
- Being loved by my husband.
What brings me joy today:
- Dyeing silk scarves.
- Making pillow covers, other sewing projects.
- Being outside. Seeing the landscape, especially the trees here in North Carolina.
- Writing my blog, three plus books, being so connected to the Holy Spirit through my writing.
- God directing my life; he’s the pilot of my life and I am his more-than-willing co-pilot.
- Being with my kids and grandkids.
What would your lists look like? What needs to be healed in you? What brought you joy then and now? How does God fit into these scenarios for you? Can you imagine what your life healed would look like? The freedom? The gifts? The blessings? The purpose revealed? The fulfillment?