It takes faith to enjoy your life wholeheartedly. I recently read those words in one of my devotional books. Wow. It’s true. I had never thought of that. We know the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And one of the things he wants to steal is our happiness. Often, even when things are going well, we’re waiting for “the other shoe to drop.” We may be having a great day but still have a nagging thought in the back of our minds of “What if…” or “I should…”
This underlying angst can originate in childhood. My stepfather drank for most of my growing-up years, and my mother as a codependent was controlling. Fun was “meted out.” If I was allowed to have a playdate with friends, I learned not to ask again for a certain period of time because I had had enough fun. I received this message from early childhood until the wounded part in me that coped with this assumed the guilt. In other words, I didn’t have to be made to feel guilty for having too much fun; the guilt came from within me.
This was reinforced in my first marriage. My former husband was an alcoholic, and his moods varied greatly. During the seasons of active drinking, I walked on eggshells to not set anything off when he was in one of his darker moods, just as I did in childhood with my stepfather. I had learned to stay “hidden” and subdue my own desires and opinions about life so as not to upset the apple cart. Although the Lord met me where I was and I continued to grow spiritually, I was not at the place where I could let my guard down and truly live freely.
I just celebrated ten years of marriage with Mark. When I was widowed, I told the Lord if he had someone for me, that he would have to bring him to me. I asked for someone that together we would be better for his kingdom than we could be apart. And he answered me. I have “become myself” in ways that I never dreamed were possible with this man who has made it safe for me and helped me with encouragement and unconditional love. Those deep places of pain, the broken parts, are for the Lord alone to heal. But I finally have had the safety for them to come forward, one by one, for healing.
Psalm 18:19 says, He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. The Hebrew word for spacious is ravach, and it means to breathe freely, to be revived, refreshed. This is the place where the Lord wants his children to live. The Lord has since given me Galatians 5:1 for my life verse: It is for freedom that I have come to set you free. Stand firm, then, and don’t let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. The spacious place is freedom.
I’m still in process. Aren’t we all? But I’m determined with God’s help to let go and trust him to wholeheartedly live my life. We don’t have to keep carrying our baggage as if we have to pay to earn the right to be happy. Jesus paid for that right. All we have to do is receive his grace and be willing to let him heal the inner children in us who are still in pain.
The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10.