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Day 39: Remember Your Chains

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This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Alone in a hotel room, I hear a banging on the door. Startled I open my eyes and check my phone. 1:30am. It must be a mistake. Maybe I heard it in my sleep?

Bang! Bang! Bang!

My heart is pounding. Nope. Someone is really here. I glance at the ‘security lock’ to be sure I had swiped it over. Yes. Thank goodness.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

The noise continues. I get out of bed and have the courage to look out the peephole. Stumbling around, I see someone, drunk and on the phone. He thinks he’s calling who is behind this door, not realizing he’s at the wrong room. He falls. Drops his phone. Stumbles back to his feet. Bangs again.

I call out, “You have the wrong room!” and he stumbles away. My heart is racing. I stumble back to bed. Thinking…I don’t have to do that anymore.

You see I was that girl just two years ago. I had many nights where I stumbled home, thinking it was just another fun party. Not giving it much thought.

Until I had a brief moment of clarity behind the wheel of my minivan and saw the pattern for what it was. Not a random slip up, but something I had done hundreds of times over the last two decades. A pattern that I noticed was becoming progressively worse and more regular. Escaping from reality. Checking out. Numbing out.

And I’m forever grateful for that moment. That life-altering moment. That grace of God moment that gave me the chance to say YES to a change and avoid all the YETS that hadn’t happened…YET.

Looking out the peep hole I felt a wave of compassion. I felt love extending out to someone who was sick and suffering. I remembered my chains. This song came to mind and I wanted to share it with you too.

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

Look back but don’t stare. See your past with eyes of gratitude. Heck, it got you here. Know where you came from AND then be willing to move forward.

I share this intentionally because I know I’m not alone. We all have a human tendency to want to avoid the tough stuff. Maybe we work too much? Sleep too much? Eat too much? Exercise too much? __________ TOO MUCH. Or we isolate. Ignore. Act indifferent. Whatever it is, we feel alone and disconnected and we try to fill the void with other shit. It’s easy to see it in others and often not so easy to see in ourselves.

If you don’t know or you feel confused. Ask someone trusted. Be vulnerable. See if they can see it in you.

And the good news is that when we can identify it, we can awaken in a split second. We can make a decision to create a new future. All it takes is asking some simple questions and having a bit of self-honesty.

What if I keep doing this?

Where will I be in one-year? Five years?

What consequences could I suffer if I continue?

Who would I hurt?

Conversely, we can look at the positive outcomes that will also be available if we intentionally create a new future and commit to changing what is not working.

What if I don’t keep doing this?

Where will I be in one-year? Five years?

What positive outcomes would I experience if I changed?

Who else would benefit?

Most importantly how would I FEEL? Would I have more self-confidence? Would I feel more in alignment with my beliefs and my faith? Would I open the door to new opportunities? Would I meet new people? Experience new feelings?

You see God doesn’t want us to remain the same. Life is a journey of continual awakening and returning to God. Returning to the love He has for us. Removing the blocks we’ve put in between and experience all He has for us.

We’re coming full circle here. Back to where we started on the first week of our challenge. It is a return to Love. We love Him because He first loved us. It is our moral obligation to use the gifts He’s given to the best of our ability so one day we may hear, Well done my good and faithful servant.

Day 39 Lenten Love Prayer:

Thank you for another day. I want to hear You say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” And I’m willing to change what needs to be changed. It’s just that sometimes I don’t see it. Let me see with clarity. I ask you to show me patterns that I’ve had for years that have not served You or me. Help me to see the mountain I keep circling and have the courage to change. Let me humbly be open to the feedback of others who have my best interest at heart. Let me receive suggestions with an ear to listen to the Holy Spirit and the conviction it might bring. Give me the courage to change. Release me from the prison of judging and help me to see others as fellow journeymen looking for answers on their own path back to you. Let me love them and extend compassion. Thank you for your long-suffering and protection, even when I was unaware and not seeking You. I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to live out Your mission for me in this world. May I rise powerfully to the great calling you have for me. Amen.

Day 39 Scripture:

Do not remember the former things,

Nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I will do a new thing,

Now it shall spring forth;

Shall you not know it?

I will even make a road in the wilderness

And rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43: 18-19