“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves
be burdened by a yoke of slavery.”
Freedom is something we long for and yet often eludes us. Many times we attribute our struggle to low self-esteem forged in our past that keeps us in bondage. I believe it runs deeper than that. As I have said to many clients over two-and-a-half decades,
It’s not your self-esteem that’s the problem.
Rather, it’s your esteem for Christ that will truly make you free.
1. The theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth.
2. A disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable. (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.)
Speaking from personal experience, I would add a third:
3. Perfectionism is a robber of joy when pursued apart from Christ Jesus.
After battling depression for many years, what freed me from that pattern of self-destruction came one night in a dream. (At least I think it was a dream, even though to this day it remains so very vivid in my mind.) In that dream:
I saw myself standing next to God on a mountainside, our back silhouettes enhanced against the setting sun. How did I know it was God? I cannot say, I just did. As we stood together I realized that we were looking across a landscape that represented my life. There were rolling hills and steep valleys, winding roads and straight. As I took in the sizable expanse that represented my life up to that point I recognized the pain of rejection and betrayal in many of the valleys as well as delightful paths I had enjoyed with others. As the sun continued to set and the light shifted, I saw beauty (and even hope) in the darkest places as I realized that He had been with me every step of the way.
I cannot tell you how long we stood there, God and I . . . but I can tell you that it was a transforming moment that warmed my heart as never before. I realized then, that having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, I could for the first time in my life say that I liked me! I gave thanks to God in that moment for both the dark and light places, because I realized that they all came together by God’s design to make me, “ME”.
As I reflected on all that I saw, I understood that I would not have the sensitivity to the pain of other people (having counseled for over twenty-five years) were it not for the pain of my past. In my having experienced the darker places–inflicted by others or by my own hand–I more readily embrace the sovereign goodness of God over my life. Only in the blood and saving work of Christ Jesus are we truly free!
To this day I continue to be encouraged by the impact of that dream, giving thanks to Jesus for freeing me to live for, love and serve Him with a glad heart. I share my story with you in the hope that, if you are in bondage to your past or to perfectionism, that you will embrace the only One who can make you truly free . . .
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because,
having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life
that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
“Now a slave has no permanent place in the family,
but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free,
you will be free indeed.”
John 8:35, 36
All to His Glory!