On June 6, 2014 at 3:00 am, the Lord gave me a dream. My son woke up shortly after I had the dream for a feeding. As I was feeding him his bottle, the Lord gave me the interpretation to the dream. I couldn’t wait to write the dream and the interpretation in my journal. This has been monumental truth in my life! I pray that this will encourage you as well!
In the dream, some other girls and I were kidnapped. I won’t go into the details, but I could tell that we had been with these kidnappers for quite awhile because we got used to them and after awhile we were looking to them to take care of us and protect us–even though they were still evil.
This is what I wrote in my journal at 3:30 am:
We are held captive for so long that we become friends with and trust our captors. We begin to rely heavily upon their “protection” even though they are harmful to us. And when we are actually free to run away or get help, we stay captive because we become like the elephant and think the rope is still tied to us–but we are actually free. We are actually strong enough to escape captivity, but being held captive is all we know. (I think it was Ginger that Heidi posted on Facebook about writing a book and she shared a story about how when they are training baby elephants to be in the circus or maybe the zoo, they tie a rope around one of their legs so they can’t go anywhere. As the elephant gets older, it stays in one place and doesn’t think it can move, but the rope has been removed a long time ago). It becomes a comfort to us. We get hurt because we are held captive, but we cling to our captors for help. It doesn’t make sense.
So this is what the Lord showed me–this is what I am doing with the diets and obsessive researching and thinking about trying to change things with what I am eating all the time. These are the things that held me captive for so long, and now I am free, but I’m like that elephant–I’m strong, but I am so used to being in one place and thinking that I am stuck in one place, that I haven’t moved. So even though the obsessive thoughts and diets have been harmful, it’s a comfort zone for me, so I keep on wanting to stick around. And even though in the dream I could have jumped out of a car, made a phone call, or cried out for others to help me get away from the kidnappers, I chose to stay because it was safer that way and didn’t cause me as much harm–even though these kidnappers could have harmed or killed me just like that and without even a care in the world. I have put my trust in my captors–in these programs, obsessive thoughts, etc.
“Prisons can be safe and comfortable. They can become a known life, a familiar way. Resignation is safe; dreaming is dangerous. Letting someone else control your life is easier than rising up to deny them control; the relationship will never be the same…The known is always more comfortable and less risky than the unknown…Not a one of us was created to live in captivity.”*
So I am free! God has thrown the prison doors wide open. The shackles have been removed. I can walk in freedom! I just have to choose it! “We will have to choose freedom and fight for our freedom as the Scripture urges…You pay too high a price to stay in chains. Freedom is what you are made for; freedom is good.”*
Just like I posted about Galatians 5:1, I have to LET myself be free! I’m still learning this. (Even the night before this is being posted, I’m still trying to keep myself from being free by giving myself another food rule; this has got to stop! I have to choose to stop it!) It baffles me that I would even let myself be held captive when I really am totally free! The prison doors are open, so why don’t I just run out? Probably because this has been 12 years of familiarity to me. And honestly, it’s sort of scary! I’m sure the Israelites felt the same way when they were out wandering in the wilderness. Egypt was slavery, but it was what they were familiar with. For some, it was all they knew. They had never lived a life of freedom before. So why is freedom so scary to us?
“A known captivity is more comfortable than an unknown freedom.”
How do we hold ourselves captive when it comes to our eating and body image? For me, it’s been opening links to before/after pictures of someone’s success with a particular diet or exercise program, it’s thinking critical thoughts of my body, researching different ways of eating, focusing on a body part that I’ve never really liked (but I’m learning to love), etc. It’s also been thinking I need to change the way I eat, do an exercise challenge, or thinking I need to be skinny (I will be sharing another post about this some time soon). These are all things that hold me back from experiencing the freedom God meant for me. Being critical of myself and my body holds me back from loving who God has created me to be. Reading about diets or thinking that I need to change my eating is me searching for some perfect set of boundaries. Thinking I need to do some intense exercise program puts my eyes back on me, me, me, me, me–instead of Christ. These are the things that trip me up. The excessive focus and the obsession with food, my body, and thinking I need to be ‘skinny’ is like slapping the chains right back on. Christ is like, “You’re free!” And I’m like, “I’m scared of this freedom!” Christ is like, “Follow these simple boundaries.” And I’m like, “But Lord, I know these other paths will lead me to where I want to be (worshipping the ‘skinny’ idol).” I put the shackles back on.
You see, I have been comfortable with those things that held me captive for so long. It’s become like a friend. I could run away, but this is all I’ve known for a long, long time. For some of us, being overweight has felt comfortable because it’s sort of like a wall we have put up, a defense mechanism to keep the people away that could hurt us. For some of us, driving through drive-thru after drive-thru is comforting because we get to eat and numb ourselves. For some, not eating brings us comfort because we are in control (even though it’s completely out of control). I don’t know your particular reason, but I know that Christ wants to free you from those chains. The devil has spewed out his lies upon you long enough. It’s time to bruise him under our feet (Romans 16:20) and throw off those chains and RUN out of captivity!
Shake off your dust;
rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
Daughter Zion, now a captive.
Sometimes, I think, in a humorous way, that the Lord must slap His hand to His forehead in disbelief that I’m doing it again. But there I am, looking back at Egypt. “Those leeks and onions sure look good! What is this manna anyway?”
So how to I stop being so stubborn and free myself? I am already free, so how do I walk out that freedom? This is probably going to come as a big surprise to you (not really):
I need to renew my mind!
Big shocker there, right? *wink*
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
What’s God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for me? FREEDOM!
How will I be transformed and be free from the pattern of this world? RENEWING MY MIND!
What is the pattern of this world? To be selfish, proud, serving other gods, envy, greed, lust, etc.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the “pattern” of this world. I’m tired of the world telling me that I *have* to be skinny, that I *have* to eat a certain way, that I *have* to bow down to the gods of this world if I want to be happy and blah, blah, blah.
Can you tell I’m getting feisty?
So I’m doing it! I’m taking off the chains and taking those steps in my newfound freedom! I’m renewing my mind every time I am tempted to go back to captivity. I’m going to choose not to open the books or sites on the internet that would trip me up. I have to keep my eyes on what Christ has asked me to do, not what the world is beckoning me to do. It also might mean excusing myself from conversations that would only ensnare me.
I’m going to fix my eyes on Christ!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
Are you with me on this? Are you ready to release yourself from what has held you captive for so long and live your life in freedom? Freedom from diets, from being critical of your body, from counting, weighing, etc.? We can do this together! Let’s throw off those chains and RUN to Jesus!!! Let’s renew our minds together and watch the beautiful transformation take place!
*Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge