Now that I have been filled with the Spirit, I am experiencing levels of freedom I have never known before. I am enjoying physical freedom in the wearing of scarves. For me, the scarf represents a final release from bondage that has lasted more than 25 years. But there are also other bonds that the Spirit is releasing me from – ones I didn’t realize I even had.
My first husband made it very clear that he didn’t love me – never loved me. And living in that reality day in and day out, I learned to build walls around my heart to survive. I told myself that I didn’t need love, I was fine without it. It didn’t matter. I was tough. I built the walls high and fortified them well. The problem is, as humans, we need love. Without it we may be alive, but we don’t live. We wither. Our hearts grow cold. What I didn’t realize was that in all my efforts to protect my heart, I built walls so thick that I made it difficult to express my own love. My emotions became stunted, my outlook – cynical, my humor – sarcastic and my first reactions to anything – defensive and angry. These walls ended up trapping me in a dungeon of my own making.
Since love is one of our basic human needs, is it any surprize that God is described as love? (1John 4:8). A relationship with Him is one of our basic human needs. Without it, we never fully live. We were designed to be loved by Him. That love becomes the rock that we cling to in the storms of life and the cornerstone that we build our lives on. Without it we are in a constant free fall. Ungrounded. Sinking into chaos. Being able to fully experience God’s love and express that love to others is part of the work of the Spirit. In order for that to happen in me, the walls need to come down. No matter how many gifts or fruit of the Spirit I may be given, without love, they are useless (1Cor 13:1).
The Word tells us that “who the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36). I have already been freed from my self-made prison. The habits of cynicism, sarcasm, and anger are fading. But I find myself at a loss. While I am free to love, I am not sure I know how. How do I tell you that I care? How do I show you? I feel like a teenager at my first job – not knowing how to do anything. How awkward! The love I feel is genuine, but I am so inexperienced in the delivery of it. I have started though with the advise of James, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (1:19). As well, with the direction given to the Ephesians, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (4:29). That in itself with be a challenge! But I draw strength from the Lord each time I sit at His feet and am flooded with peace and experience the depth of His love for me. I am no longer withered, but blossoming. I am free to love and be loved!
I have been getting inspiration for this part of my journey from TobyMAC and his song, Speak Life. Have a listen: