My head is spinning! I am willing to bet your head is spinning as well. Changes in our lives seem to be going at warp speed these days. I won’t list all the ways life has been turned upside down because you are experiencing the same circumstances and questions as I am. However, I have realized more and more lately that my life can become “bound up” in all the stress, the worry and uncertainty, fear of things I never would have imagined would even be an issue in my life, and watching tragic events happening in my family and friends lives. My mind focuses on this until I’m tied up in knots. The definition of bound up is tied or secured physically and emotionally; occupied.
When I was a little girl, it was the style to wear dresses or skirts that were full and made with a lot of fabric. Then we would wear several full body stiff petticoats underneath so they would flair out. I think the idea was to make our waists look small. I loved feeling pretty and feminine. However, when it was time to take all those petticoats off, it became quite a feat. First, I tried taking them down over my feet, but I couldn’t get them past my waist. Then I tried over the head. Eventually I would get them to a point that I was literally bound up with these things between my chest and head, with my arms stuck and no way to move them up or down. There was a price to be paid for looking cute and pretty. Time after time, my mom or my sister would have to pull them over my head to free me from my tangled mess. Sometimes it would take both of them to free me.
Just in the last couple of weeks I have watched families being distanced both physically and emotionally due to differences in opinions; listened to a young woman who can’t believe she is lovable or acceptable because she never heard the words I love you from her mom, or heard she was beautiful and worthwhile; listened to a heartbreaking story of a family burdened with a family member who is deep into drugs; heard reports of serious illnesses that require long term care or a terminal diagnosis; saw hopelessness to the point of not wanting to live; talked with adult women who are so confused over what they are being told and watching play out in the culture that they feel paralyzed on how to proceed in their lives; heard of marriages falling apart because of no commitment to the covenant of marriage, but more commitment to just wanting to be “happy”; and children not getting to be children because of outside pressure on deciding their “true identity.” The latest was my daughter stopping at a dollar store to buy some cards. (which she never does) Should have been an easy and quick trip, but due to covid, the line was long to check out. There was a couple shopping behind her and the man began screaming, berating, and calling the woman every name you could think of, and for no apparent reason. He was not trying to keep it between her and him. He was loud and obnoxious and did not care who heard and watched. By that time the woman was bent over her cart sobbing. That was enough for my daughter and she intervened and told the man to stop. Exchanges between them were not pleasant on his part, but my daughter stood firm saying this poor woman did not deserve that treatment and to stop. At one point she felt the man would hit the woman, so she stepped in between them. I’m not sure what she thought she was going to do, ☹️ but felt God calling her to come to this poor woman’s aid.
This was all in about a ten day span of time. One day I woke up feeling bound up by emotions, sadness, fear for the future of those I love, and helpless to free myself. A feeling of being enslaved to circumstances around me. I was tied up emotionally and physically and my mind occupied. That day I listened to the Revive Our Hearts message for the day and this comment spoke clear to me: “So often we face the possibilities we fear by trying to walk through them without God’s grace.” How many of you can identify with that statement? I know I can. When our view of God is small, people or situations seem big. When God is elevated, men and situations look smaller. We do not need to be “bound up” because our lives are wonderfully, eternally bound up with Jesus himself. God has given us His grace and therefore we can move forward in this life with confidence. Colossians 3:1-2 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not earthly things.”
My friends, we do not need to be “bound up” with things from this world. That does not mean we will not feel grief and pain, and sympathize with those we love, but it does mean we are not to be tied up in knots where we are no earthly good. We are to be salt and light in this world and go into the culture taking Jesus to the hurting:
1. Remind the woman who craves to hear I love you, that God loves her and He can and will fill that longing in her life.
2. Bring words of encouragement to the family facing addictions. Many times, just one small word brings a sense of peace in the midst of their fear.
3. Let those facing long treatments or scary diagnoses know you are praying for them as Jesus calls us to do. He is the God of comfort.
4. Reassure the woman who is confused in her life that her identity is in Christ, not man. To keep her eyes focused on God’s Word to be her guide.
5. To those grieving, just listen, love on them, and cry with them.
6. Pray for marriages everywhere. Family values and marriages are being destroyed by Satan and they have become his victims.
7. Pray for and walk alongside those parents who are raising children in a culture that is aggressively trying to influence and confuse them. Give them encouragement and support, and if you have raised a family already, impart some of the lessons (good and bad) that you learned along the way.
8. As for stepping out to defend someone who is being abused or hurt, I am not sure I would recommend stepping in the middle of it. 😊 However, the same day I listened to Revive Our Hearts, I also read this: “Sometimes God will lead you to patiently endure and other times to boldly confront evil. God can be trusted to help you know what to say and when. If God appoints you to call out evil, are you willing? Can you trust God to know your part and find your voice when He calls you to action?”
We serve a God who goes beside, in front, and behind us every day. He knows what we have ahead of us at every second of our life here on this planet. Psalm 139 tells us this:
O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2. You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3. You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4. Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
5. You hem me in–behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
(from New International Version)
Ladies, we can UNBIND OURSELVES and cut the chains of fear, untie the ropes holding us captive to concern over the future, be set free to serve as Jesus did, live the gospel before those in our lives, and worship King Jesus with joy, waiting for His return.