I’ve been thinking lately about hoops–no not earrings–you know the kind through which circus animals jump? Sometimes others lay out hoops for us. And they expect us to fulfill our hoop-jumping duty or they drop us like a hot potato.
I know the drill. I grew up with it.
And truthfully? I became quite good at meeting people’s expectations. I was a blue-ribbon, hoop jumper. But then…well, then I wasn’t.
I can’t say when exactly it began. One day, I decided that perhaps I didn’t WANT to jump through the hoops anymore. There was a vein of rebellion there, as well. Why do others get to say what I do with me? For that matter, why does God get to say?
I thought that God, too, might drop me. But He never did. Not once. And the yoke of God is one that makes my cares and burdens light, not heavy. Oh what a Savior!
In that place, I discovered two things: 1) What God says to me is FOR me. I learned this the hard way (and sometimes I still do). 2) What people say, even people who believe they have the power to say over my life, is valuable, but not always something to which I must adhere.
For instance, years ago I had a friend. And this friend laid out expectations upon me of how I need to get in shape. And that is fine and good–of some value, the Bible says. But when I did not adhere to her method of getting fit, she dropped me. I have not heard from her in a long time. Her actions told the truth about our friendship.
And there are times, when I wonder…if I get fit and healthy, would she then be my friend again? Would I want her to be? It hurts to lose a friend. But I always hope for restoration.
In another, and truly more raw part of me, situation, our family was expected to stay in one place and not move. But we chose to move nine years ago–following God to Colorado. And in so doing, I lost the right to be a daughter to my parents. Our family tried everything. We visited. We called. We wrote. But it was not enough. It would never be enough. We chose to move. It seems really silly, simple even. But it is what happened. And now, there is no relationship at all.
And there are times, when I wonder…if we move back to Texas, will they be my parents again? Would I want them to be? It hurts to be rejected. But I always hope for reconciliation and said so in my last contact with them. I got no reply, but I hope still.
These are two scenarios. Both true. Both accurate. And may I say this loud and clear? Both scenarios have brought me healing. For I have yoked myself to One God–only One, who gets to say where I go, what I do and how I live. And in so yoking myself to the Living Lord Jesus, I have found that I am healthier in body, mind, spirit and soul.
I share this today, because it is the message I feel like God wants YOU to know. I have lived it. Walk it out and find that it is so FREEING to be in a place, where God alone is the One, to whom you are listening. He is faithful with your heart and life. He holds your days in His loyal and loving hands.
You see, sometimes we enslave ourselves to people and let them have sway over our lives. And in so doing, we begin to have out-workings that are wholly unhealthy. We may not even realize it. I know I didn’t.
But when we become a bond-slave to Jesus, we tie ourselves to an anchor that holds, a healer, who mends, a savior, who saves. He takes all my rebellion and sin, forgives me and places it as far as the east is from the west. He places my feet in a spacious place. And He gently leads me forward.
On those times, like today, when I look backward, I do so with forgiveness and love. I do so with hope for the future, that I will walk in full-disclosure with all people–I am tied to One and One alone. And He is the Only One, who gets to say…
I am no longer handing out my cup to others to ask I am good enough, because I did this or that. God says I am good enough! That is the truth to which I listen. That is the place, where I stand secure.
In your life, what expectations are being laid out before you–that if you don’t live up to a standard set by another, you might lose them (a friend, parent or even marriage)? Is there a place of healing that needs to happen in your life?
Start with you. Start now to find healing and forgiveness in God alone.
Perhaps you are like one friend of mine, who chose a sinful path that ended his marriage. I remember the day I told him that Jesus had moved his sins as far as the east is from the west, that Jesus forgives him and he could find a right footing again. He needed only to follow Jesus. Over the years, he has! I carry a picture of his baptism to remind me that AS FAR as the EAST is from the WEST, so has God removed our sins.
And so shall we also forgive others. With God’s help.
And we tie ourselves to Christ Jesus…or if we cannot or are too weak and too hurt, we ask Him to do the tying. His rope holds!