I just returned home after attending the Writers on the Rock Conference 2017. I knew from the previous conferences that today would be powerful and that at the end of the day, I would have a renewed passion for writing, for pursuing Christ in my calling, and for using my gift to reach those who are broken and hurting. Those were my agenda items, and without a doubt, every single one of those was checked off of my list. However, as is always the case when the Holy Spirit moves, God had bigger plans for me. He used the gift of another author to not only inspire me, but help me break free of the chains that keep my bound and unable to write, but that also bind my ability to function freely in the way that God has created me. As a writer, it is easy to come up with ideas, especially on the topic and passion that you have identified for yourself. What is not so easy, is the execution of the plan and the understanding of why the struggles exist in the first place. Today I found that answer, and not only am I angry that I could not see this before, but I am free and emboldened to smash through the barrier thrown up by the enemy of my soul and which I have allowed to stop me from pursuing my life’s calling for far too long.
See, I entered the conference today, completely free in Christ, in belief only. I have desperately been fighting the chains that are binding me to the hollow life in which I have existed for too long, but have resisted the true freedom that comes from a relationship with Christ. I know all about spiritual warfare and how the enemy desperately wants to keep us alone, broken, and in pain. Even with that knowledge, I did not truly understand how to break free from the chains of my past. I know that the moment I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, I became a new creation. The sins of my past, present, and future were forgiven and I was set free from the chains of the enemy…However, I did not live in that truth. I have often chosen to get sucked into the lies that the enemy craftily devises to convince me of my lack of worth, of my failures, of my hopelessness and that fuels my shame and self-loathing. Today I met a writer who showed me how to change this.
I innocently entered her discussion entitled “Writer, Thou Art Loosed” thinking that this would be a great conversation about how to break through writer’s block, motivational issues, and stumbling blocks. I had no idea what God had in store for me. From the moment she began speaking, I was laser focused on what she was saying as if she was speaking directly into my bones and marrow. Turns out, God was going to use this woman to free me from the chains that have bound me for years. This conversation encompassed the excuses and things in my life that prevented me from fully and wholly embracing what God has been calling me to do for years….to tell my stories. I was hearing myself and the excuses that I had for why I was having a hard time finishing my book, and I was enthralled by how she related those struggles to the chains imposed by the enemy to keep me from finishing what God has ordained me to do. Towards the end of the class, she picked me to come up to the front and participate in an activity…she’s a legit retired army drill sergeant, it’s not like I could have said no! Then she began to lead me through a declaration of “I am loosed from…” and I chose the word fear. That in and of itself let out a torrent of emotion and release, but she had more in store for me. Responding, I’m sure, from the promptings of the Holy Spirit, she then grabbed my list of things that are keeping me shackled and chained in my life and proceeded to repeat the process with each one of the things that I wrote down. To say I had no idea what was coming is an understatement.
Most of my life, I have spent bent over and in pain of some sort. Emotional and psychological pain has led to significant physical pain, including the development of an autoimmune disorder. I am in a constant battle between what I know to be the truth in who Christ proclaims me to be, and who the enemy claims I am. What I didn’t fully understand or realize until today is that this is a battle that does not need to be fought. This battle was already won many years ago, yet I continue to revisit that battle that Christ died to win, over and over in my life. Every time something happens in my life, and there have been numerous excruciatingly painful traumas and tragedies, and every time I experience a setback or roadblock in my pursuit of the life that God has called me to live, I have reacted in predictable ways that tightened the chains around my heart and soul rather than in a way that removed them from my life. The beauty of other people embracing and using the gift and calling that God has placed in their life is that they can be used by God to speak truth and bring healing into another person’s life. This is my experience at the conference today. God used a woman who has fully embraced her life and calling and successfully defeated her past and loosed her potential in Christ, to free me from the chains that bind me.
Declaring freedom from the chains that have devastated me for so long is a powerful, intensely emotional experience. I believe that at that moment, I broke free of so many of the things that have sought to keep me broken and in pain. But I know that the work doesn’t stop with moments like these. At that moment, when the physical weight of what I had been carried was removed from my bones, I decided to begin to declare this freedom in my life every time I begin to feel burdened by my circumstances. The chains that have long bound me were not necessarily overtly obvious. Yes, I have suffered from depression, PTSD, fear, shame, pain, etc., but I just thought that was my destiny with the life that I have lived and with what has happened to me. I didn’t truly grasp that I could actually be free from these things. Not surprisingly, the enemy has successfully, up to this point, capitalized on my pain and suffering, especially in the last few years, and has attempted to destroy me. This realization coupled with the reality that the enemy has not just tried to keep me quiet, to keep me from embracing my gift and calling, but that he has specifically tried to end my life and the life of my loved ones many times, awakened a beast inside of me that has been dormant. So from this point on, I declare through the power of the Holy Spirit that I am loosed from fear, from pain, from infirmity, from depression, from shame, from brokenness, from hopelessness, from misery, and from everything else in my life that has kept me bound in chains. I will no longer accept these chains as a part of my existence, and I will no longer be devastated by the tactics of the enemy. I am free.