Unlock Your Shackles

25 09 2013

“The key to freedom is not merely what is written in the bible,

it’s what’s written between our ears.”

{This quote comes from one of the 900+ posts I read last weekend. If it’s from you, please let me know so I can properly credit you! ;)}

As a twenty-something year old, my understanding of God was so skewed that I don’t even want to capitalize His name in this sentence. Whatever it was that I “loved” – it certainly was not YHWH!

It is unfortunate that we liken our heavenly Father to our earthly one. While there are some men who are excellent fathers, the majority are not.

Oh, in public, they’re the model of love and kindness.

Get them home and it’s another story. There they reign like a tyrant – selfish, demanding, and subject to outbursts of anger when they don’t get their way.

Others, sadly, appear to be spineless and impotent.

From these “living” examples, a child develops their concept of what God is like.

I was no exception.

My birth father – Mel – abandoned me, I was told for years. (I learned this was not true just a few years ago…thanks Aunt Katie!)

Abandoned? You must have been really bad if even your own father didn’t want you. That’s what a child’s mind does with this information. The identity issues this causes in a child aren’t worth the momentary pleasure a divorced woman derives from such a put down. This doesn’t inflict nearly as much pain on your ex as it does your child. If you are doing this, please stop!

I grew up believing that I was worthless because of this lie.

To make matters worse, I was adopted by my step-dad. He was the embodiment of all that is selfish, demanding, and wrathful. In addition, he was capricious. One never knew what the slightest disturbance might bring in the way of affection or anger. This isn’t the place to expose him – just suffice it to say that he was a very poor representation of our heavenly Father.

As if this wasn’t enough, the church I attended during my teen years was extremely legalistic; so much so that we didn’t even associate with other churches in the same denomination because they couldn’t “toe the mark!” The “god” these dear, devout believers taught about lurked around every corner; watching, just waiting for us to mess up so we could be punished.

Hmm. Not much different than my step-dad.

I pictured life with God like this:

He and I sat across from one another, a game board was spread between us. With a broad grin on His face, “God” said,

“Let’s play a game and have some fun.”

“How do we play?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m not going to tell you. Just make what seems to be the right move. It will be fun!”

I looked over the various parts – the board, markers, dice…I know what to do!

The dice were scooped up and I tossed them onto the board.

Without warning, “God” reached across the table and slapped me hard enough that I fell to the ground. Red with rage, He said, “That was the wrong thing to do. Try something else.”

A smile lit his face, and He brightly said, “Isn’t this fun?”

I made some other move, and all was well…

…and the game went on.

This was my understanding of “God.”

Perhaps now you understand why He’s provided so many “freakin’ miracles” in and around me. He was determined to show me that He was nothing like what I believed Him to be.

To say that He is patient is a gross understatement. He loved me with an everlasting love, therefore He drew me to Himself with lovingkindness.

He has a great sense of humor, too. Remember the church I mentioned? Well, they had a library. Among the books there was one by A. W. Tozer entitled, “The Knowledge of the Holy.” An avid reader, I checked it out and brought it home. God used that book to begin to break through the lies I believed about Him.

Thanks to a high school English teacher who had a classroom full of foul novels…and a “speed reading” machine in the back corner of the room, I can now read somewhere around 700 words per minute with 85% comprehension. (I asked if I could use the machine instead of reading novels and turning in book reports. He graciously consented – anyone else see the fingerprints of God here? ;))

Despite my reading abilities, after three weeks, I’d read only 26 pages in Tozer’s book.

Well, read isn’t the best word to use. Eaten would be a better choice. I had several versions of the Bible, a dictionary, and a notebook. I spent eight or more hours per day absorbing every word that was written. This influx of information, combined with my Fearful Flight, served to greatly alter how I saw God.

In fact, the entire year was one of a rapid transformation as God used His lovingkindness to continue to renew my mind concerning His character.

It was the year of Problematic Food, and How Can You Say You Understand?

The Bible states, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:32). By the time that all this took place, I’d read my Bible cover-to-cover no less than six or seven times. I “knew” truth…knew about it, but did not know it by experience until God stepped in and began to reveal Himself. When He said, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart,” (Jeremiah 29:13), that’s exactly what He meant.

Bit by tiny bit, God has been replacing what was written between my ears!

How I love Him today because of His patient teaching. He never gave up on me – even when I was maligning Him and accusing Him of many atrocious and cruel actions against me. In the process, He’s shown me how deep His love is for me.

If He can love me like this…

…Oh how much He loves you!

What we believe about God will determine how we live our lives. If your concept of Him is anything like mine, ask Him to show you the truth.

Like me, you will learn that:

“The key to freedom is not merely what is written in the bible,

it’s what’s written between our ears.”

You’ll hear the sound of shackles falling to the ground – like a gentle spring rain in no time at all as He replaces those old lies with the glorious truth of Who He is.

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20 responses

29 09 2013
Toni Sprandel

Great post! You are truly inspiring! I can’t get through the 70+ I have to read this weekend! I am not a speed reader, sure wish I was! 🙂

29 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

me too. I’m back up to a couple of hundred. I spent the weekend at the coast – got to meet Elizabeth from His Eye is on the Sparrow. What a wonderful sister!

\o/

29 09 2013
Toni Sprandel

Oh that is so neat! I sure wish someone lived close to me! Brother Rob Barkman is in NE Ohio about 4 hours away. But I truly love the ones I haven’t gotten to “see”. It will just make heaven that much more enjoyable! Seeing Jesus and all my brothers and sisters in Christ! Have a great evening! 🙂

29 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

In case I haven’t invited you, we’re all having a “meet and greet” at my place in heaven. It’s a potluck, so bring your favorite dish …but nothing corny like “Angel Food Cake!” 😉

\o/

30 09 2013
Toni Sprandel

I will be there! I bring the “nuts”, myself that is! 🙂

27 09 2013
Anonymous

Your God story sounds so much like mine. My father was powerful and mentally ill at the same time, so this is what the beginnings of my god relationship looked like. But He rescued me from this by all the miracles He wrought in my life. The biggest one being introducing me to Jesus Christ. I think I’ll also write a story about what happened to me, on my blog.

27 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Be sure to give me a link when you do. I love to hear how God won others’ hearts!

\o/

26 09 2013
God is Good

I love the fact that you wish to credit the original author … Now that’s honouring one another 🙂
Bless you!
PS: wasn’t me 🙂
God is Good!

25 09 2013
journeyofjoy

Glory to His Name!

25 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Amen! 🙂

\o/

25 09 2013
journeyofjoy

I’ve heard the saying: “When God intends to use you greatly, He often allows you to be hurt deeply”. It’s amazing the truth in this. Most people being greatly used of God, have been hurt so deeply. The ministry birthed out of them however is priceless. Glad He found you and (accurately) introduced HIMself to you!

25 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Oh, me too. He certainly had to do a great work to get me to trust Him. My blog is full of stories about how He intervened in very unusual ways to win my heart.

Today I’m delighted to call Him “Father.” 🙂

\o/

25 09 2013
Jacquie A. Bradford

Tami, thank you for this, I especially appreciate your statement about mind renewal, “Bit by tiny bit, God has been replacing what was written between my ears!” My prayer is that this message will reach each one from the north, south, east, and west that need this life-affirming truth.

Blessings,
Jacquie

25 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

You’re welcome.

Ooh! Me too, me too! 🙂

\o/

25 09 2013
vonhonnauldt

Amazing, isn’t it. The difference between the God of the Bible and the god of modern thought – or not so modern! Thank you for this post. (I would like to have had one of those “speed-reading” machines. 🙂 )

25 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Really knowing God has made all the difference in the world.

The speed-reading machine…love it! At the time I was so frustrated with the teacher. All he had in the classroom for us to read & report on were sleazy novels. I was glad when I spotted it – and he agreed to my alternative. God certainly had a hand in that. I read TONS of books!

\o/

25 09 2013
vonhonnauldt

I can read pretty quickly, certainly not to your level, but I think my comprehension is about 8.5. 🙂

25 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

{belly laugh!} 😛

\o/

25 09 2013
Valerie Rutledge

Love this…I too had a very misconstrued idea of who God was based on my earthly father. Thankfully His loving kindness is better than life and He used that to draw me closer to who He truly is!

25 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

His patience with us blows my mind! 🙂

\o/

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