It was just going to be a quick trip hopping from one store to another.
As I zipped into my seatbelt and turned on the radio I heard a familiar voice come through my car. Recognizing the song and the artist, I instinctively started singing along believing on my best days that my vocal abilities can hang with this American Idol Winner (Hey, just because I believe it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true, but I often give it my best shot.)
Until, I realized the words I was singing and thought, “Well, that’s just not true” and changed the radio channel to something a little more edifying.
What were the words? I’m sure most of you have heard them before.
“Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk, Because of you I’ve learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt….because of you I’ve learned to trust not only me but everyone around me….because of you I am afraid….because of you.”
Now granted, vocally, this song is AMAZING!!!
But as I was singing along I realized that this song is simply not true of my life.
In fact, because of Jesus, my testimony is the complete 100% opposite.
You see, like the person who wrote the lyrics, I have definitely gone through some hard things in my life.
Like the song says a large majority of the pain that I suffered and the hard times our family went through were the direct result of other people’s bad choices. This song could have very easily been my story and I could have been listening to the lyrics picturing my father and remembering all of the damage he did to me, my Mom, and my brother.
However, because of Jesus, that isn’t the case.
Instead, in that 2 minute car ride I realized that over the years God has done such a revolutionary work inside of my heart that the pain of the past really doesn’t stop me or my brother from doing anything. The past isn’t dictating our present or our future.
That is only because of the delivering, healing power of Jesus.
As I thought about the lyrics I realized that because of Jesus, we not only leave the sidewalk, but we are consistently jumping into the ocean of faith following wherever God leads us.
Because of Jesus, we aren’t always making our decisions based on “What if I get hurt like I did before?” but we’re trusting that the same God Who guided us through the hard times will be there for every day in the future. If we get hurt, He will heal and make something beautiful out of the pain.
Because of Jesus, our hearts have healed to the point that we have lots of people in our lives that we love and trust. We’ve learned to judge each person by their own character rather than think that everyone is going to be like those who hurt us in the past.
Because of Jesus, we are not afraid.
That is the power of God at work! Because of Jesus, everything is different!
The good news is that the same thing can be true for every person who honestly wants to overcome their past, be healed of their issues, forgive, and move on in life.
You don’t have to spend the rest of your life living under the burden of “Because of whoever hurt you.”
You can be delivered and healed and set free to live an abundant life “Because of Jesus”.
How do you get started?
Quite honestly, you’re going to have to make a decision that says, “I want to be free.”
You see, the reason that so many people spend their entire life making decisions out of fear or pain of the past is that they never pursue healing or even choose to accept it when it’s offered to them. Emotional healing isn’t just going to sweep over you like fairy dust one day making everything all better. Instead, it has to be pursued.
How do you pursue it?
Spend time in prayer honestly pouring out your heart to God about the pain in your life.
Open your heart up to Him and be vulnerable about how you feel, who you hate, what you wish would happen to them, and how angry you are about what happened to you. Be honest and real. (Why not, He knows how you feel anyway.) As you open up your heart to Him, all of the pain will come pouring out allowing the pain to finally begin to heal.
Choose to forgive.
The old saying, “Choosing to forgive is letting someone out of prison…yourself” is true. As long as you choose to harbor bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness, you are hurting yourself. When you forgive, you set yourself free to love, to live, and to enjoy your life again.
Talk to a Biblical born again counselor.
There’s no shame in going for counseling and it certainly isn’t a waste of time or money. Instead, it’s an investment that you make in yourself. Don’t just go to a counselor, but be honest and open when you get there, then follow their advice.
Read and study the Bible.
Let God’s Word into your life and see if it doesn’t transform you. Instead of basing your entire world view on what you’ve experienced, start living on the foundation of what God can do.
Find a friend who challenges you.
One of the biggest things that helped me overcome my “because of you” tendencies was having people in my life who told it to me straight. They didn’t coddle me or feel sorry for me, but they spoke truth into my situation and challenged me to step beyond my pain and choose health and freedom. Whether this person be a friend, a pastor, a life coach or a counselor, find someone who won’t just let you wallow but challenge you to pursue freedom.
Choose to live outside of the walls of your pain.
I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t confess that there were many times when I “strayed from the sidewalk” in fear and trembling. Honestly, it wasn’t always easy. But looking back, every fearful step was worth it.
Every time I determined that I wanted to be normal, I wanted to be healthy, I wanted to live in the freedom God provided rather than walk around in bondage to someone else’s choices, the end result was always worth the risk.
Today, if you find that you living too much of your life based on the pain of your past, then I want to encourage you to stop living “because of your pain” and start pursuing freedom.
Don’t just ask for healing but do everything within your power to get it.
Don’t spend one more day living afraid. Because of Jesus you don’t have to.
One step at a time you, too, can gain freedom until one day you, too, look back and say, “Wow! That doesn’t even apply to me anymore. Because of Jesus I am free!”