Each day, one by one, I call the children in my classroom up to my desk to read aloud. Happy to have a break from their seatwork, they eagerly await their turn. As I finish with one student they all look up expectantly with hopeful little faces to see if they will next to be called. Upon hearing their name they smile, scoot their chair out, stretch, and wiggle their way to take their place.
It never fails however, that only moments into the assigned reading, the initial excitement and energy quickly fades into an all-around fidgety state of being. The wall behind us begins to draw them like a magnet to a refrigerator, causing them to lean back against it as their feet wander aimlessly, usually and eventually finding their way to the base of my roll-y teacher’s chair. As their posture falters, so does their aptitude to read aloud well. I find myself gently and repeatedly reminding them to “stand up straight,” “get off of the wall.” Each time they stand up straight their reading improves dramatically, however, their tenacity to continue to stand, straight and still for any length of time remains a challenge.
It can be difficult to stand firm.
For most, it is easy to recognize a place within our lives where it is necessary that we stand firm lest we be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Though the variety of yoke varies from jealousy to fear to addiction, the burden of slavery does not. According to Webster, the definition of slavery is “Submission to a dominating influence.” What we submit ourselves to…what we obey; it is that influence which becomes our Master.
Paul put adequate words to the way all of us can relate to feeling sometimes in Romans 7:15. He says… “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” It sounds crazy, illogical and nonsensical and yet I’ve been there a million times. How is it that we find ourselves doing those very things that we do not want to do, those very things that we repeatedly hate, regret and feel guilty about later? It is because we have allowed something to become our master.
I can relate to that. For years I struggled with an eating disorder. Motivated by fear and need for control, I intentionally and repeatedly abused my body. Even after I came to a place where I was ready to be finished with that which I had initially chosen, it was a long journey to recovery. Choices which I once ran to and embraced as comfort had become my unrelenting Master and would not easily relinquish the control they had over me.
Being free for years now, I’m still surprised when hints of that which once was will find their way to the door of my heart and try to sneak in. I still have to choose to stand firm by being mindful and conscious of choices that I make, situations that I place myself in, and even how high I allow the stress level in my life to get.
Instead of leaning on the wall of our own understanding, we must choose to lean on the Lord and the truth of His Word which reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “I am a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come!”
Father, help me to choose to stand upon the truth of your Word in all areas of my life so that I will be able to walk in the freedom that you have provided for me.