I was walking this morning thinking about my sabbatical from writing, beating myself up trying to find a reason, a sufficient excuse, besides my previous claims to shame. And I realized I feel strangled.
In my foggy head appeared a picture of a vine tightly wrapping and winding its long tentical like stems around its huge trunk. Moving methodically around the branches, squeezing and suffocating every possible piece of bark, leave and root.
Ever feel so attacked you can’t breathe? Ever feel like no matter how you try and rip out your roots and replant yourself, or produce a little fruit, or just breath a little. You can’t break free from the tight grip of the vines wrapping around your throat? The harder you fight, the harder I fight, the tighter they get.
It’s disturbing how the enemy works. It starts with a small vine, slowly creeping and seemingly harmless, almost beautiful. It starts with a, “you can’t do that,” and as it grows, it morphs into, “you can’t do anything.” The vine whispers, “you don’t look as good as her,” and then screams, “you dont look as good as anyone.” It slowly tickles its way up inticing you with, “you should get that,” and then scratches you until you feel you need everything to feel better.
And before you realize it, you are staring at a reflection of a soul, gripped with incapacitating fear and self hatred. It smothers you from properly breathing, not only in your everyday living but even more importantly, in your spirit. As the vine tightens you lose your hearing and the capacity to concentrate on, or even hear the voice of, the only one who can save you.
It is only in a fleeting moment of desperation where you find the courage inside to give. With a small raspy voiced cry for help, just praying He can hear you. And he does, he always does. But the vines are tight, the damage is done. They may no longer tighten, but they don’t magically disappear. It is your job to remove them, tentacle by ugly tentacle. Unwrapping, unwinding, cutting them off from their power and control.
And as you strip them away, you will soon find yourself, standing in a vulnerable nakedness of soul and spirit fearful of something new and excited that the old is gone, trusting only in the God who saves.
There is the truth that is the most important, God- who saves. He’s the only one who can save you from your strangling marriage, the only one to free you from the grips of shame. He is the only one who can give you rest from the struggle, whatever that struggle is. The quicker you cry out to Him, the sooner the enemy stops suffocating. Not you, your self help book, your friends, your beer, your affair-none of it can give you a true escape from the grips of soul death…only God-who saves.
What are you looking to to save you? Why not God?