Have you ever taken the time to visualize what it must feel like to have real shackles and chains holding you down in a prison? The thought of this terrifies many people, but I want you to see yourself in that situation.
It is very hard to understand this concept, but most, if not all of us are walking around day after day, with shackles and chains so heavily attached to us, that we have become numb to the fact that we are captive to our own struggles and failures.
Every day is just another punch of the clock. Life has lost meaning. Our relationships are failing. We have no drive to become better because the thought of what that entails drains every ounce of energy that we don’t have in the first place. The weights of our failures keep us stagnant.
The shackles and chains of addiction, abuse, neglect, control, pride, anger, selfishness, greed, jealously, negativity, etc., have consumed us.
If you are reading this and are nodding your head, and I know most of you are, listen closely as I reveal some hard, yet hopeful truths about the bondage you are struggling to break free from.
Vulnerability, Honesty and Truth
Why are we conditioned to keep so many aspects of our lives private? Why is the thought of someone finding out who we really are so nerve wracking?
I have a saying that I just love…THEY CAN’T EAT YOU!
For real y’all! Is it your reputation you are so concerned with? Is it the fear of being rejected by everyone around you? What if the freedom you have been searching for is all in revealing who you are and loving that person?
I have never been more accepted or loved than when I accepted the truth of who I am and what my struggles are, but the biggest freedom has been in me revealing my faults and victories to the world.
Vulnerability is the key to human connection
You can have a thousand relationships, but I bet you consider your best friend someone that knows something deep and personal about you. Why is this? When we become vulnerable, we often see that the person we are sharing with will break their walls down and share as well. This creates a bond of trust and love, and this is when you can begin experiencing fulfillment in human connection.
It is impossible to be honest with others if you have not been honest with yourself
Honesty, like real ugly honesty, seems to be rare these days. We think we live a fulfilling life by hiding all of our secrets, yet we discover that we turn to addictive behaviors to mask the problems we have. Why do you think accountability is such a strong mechanism to staying on track? If no one knows what you struggle with, it is ten times easier to self sabotage!
You don’t have to agree with everything here but know that these few changes I have made have changed who I am and how I navigate each day.
As many times as I have shared my story, I still can’t believe that I become so vulnerable, but I keep sharing because I know what my openness has done for me and thousands of others.
When I was a child, I remember having to have everything perfect; from the placement of my hamburger meat on my bun, to the way I did my school work. Perfectionism was my life and the moment things didn’t go my way, I flipped. Like, complete meltdowns…
I continued this way of thinking and behavior into my teenage years and adulthood. As many of you, I made more than my fair share of mistakes as a teenager and young adult. Those times were full of guilt and self-doubt. I have always been a very confident person, but back then that confidence was more on the surface than what was deep inside of me.
I sometimes compare myself to Robin Williams. His dynamic personality and ability to draw in all kinds of people was astounding, but how could someone that “happy” possibly struggle with debilitating anxiety and depression the way he did?
I lost a very good friend and first boyfriend when I was 17. My anxiety and depression spiked at that time and I honestly never remember being quite the same. My trust in God was shaky and I really had no idea who God was.
I was brought up in church. We went every Wednesday night and twice on Sundays, but I mostly knew God as a dictator that would be ready at any moment to strike me down if I disobeyed Him. I felt very different and misunderstood in a huge room of believers that “seemed” to have it all together. This was not necessarily a fault of the church people, but regardless, I constantly had a tug in my heart that there was something more I needed to know about this all mighty and loving God.
My childhood was amazing and I truly have the best parents anyone could dream of having, but this was not an issue with my parents, this was an issue with religion. You see, religion forced me into a corner with rules and regulations and made it almost impossible for me to embrace a loving, gracious, merciful and forgiving God. Have you ever been there? Yeah, I hear ya.
So, I rebelled.
Rebellion’s sidekick is named Control
I struggled to control my life and everyone else’s life around me. Is control an illusion? It absolutely is and a very dangerous illusion at that. The false sense of control that I had, and still struggle with to this day, consumed every day of my life. My feelings were all that mattered. I had closed ears and a mouth that was wide opened and ready to tell you how I was right about all things.
My compassion and love for people was indeed genuine, but only until it crossed paths with my number one priority…me…
And what follows control is often times stress, more anxiety and anger. This is because you never truly have control. The world will always throw you curve balls and not everything will go as you plan. Plus, there is no need for a savior if we have everything figured out, right?
My anger was dangerous. My short fuse and superior attitude was a true recipe for a huge disaster.
From a failed marriage in 2010, that I mostly caused, to getting lost in a lifestyle of poor choices, I became more controlling and more angry. If control equaled power and a happy-go-lucky life, then why did I not have either? Just as eating pizza leads to drinking coke and drinking coke leads to laying on the couch and so on, so does making one bad choice lead to another bad choice.
My shackles and chains have been broken because I am learning and willing to listen to what God has been telling me all of my life. I have always known I was made for so much more. I am nothing in the big scheme of God’s plan, yet I am as valuable to Him as the most precious piece of gold.
That same pulling I felt on my heart as a child was the same feeling I had when I stepped out into faith of God’s plan for me about a year ago.
I have so much more to share with you, but that is for a later time! Stay strong my friend! Not because you control your strength, but because there is no other way to be truly strong without the power of Christ Himself!
Do you truly believe you are all alone in your struggles? If you do, I understand. We are conditioned in our society to put on a happy face and act as if there is nothing going on behind closed doors.
The hard core truth is that there is not one single person in the world that does not struggle with something! Even the preacher of your church has issues and sins that they deal with.
One step in this journey of self discovery and healing is to put your pride away, open up and find people that need your honesty as much as you need theirs! Our lives become fulling when we become vulnerable and real and not when we pretend to be happy.
We want to be that safe place for you! We want you to know we struggle every single day but we refuse to let those struggles define who we are or where we are going.
Join us on this journey!
Stop the madness of hiding who you are!
If you still have no idea how to hand the keys over to God and let him help you navigate every day of this life, stay tuned. We have exciting learning and growing tools coming your way soon!
Much Love Y’all!
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