I’m excited today, to introduce my beautiful daughter, Bethany! Bethany has an amazing walk with God. She is an incredible wife and mother and has a huge heart for adoption. Bethany and her husband Chris are in the process of adopting our new little grandson. (Steve and I can’t wait! He is due in late December /early January.) Bethany works with me in the ministry. She does quite a bit of editing for me, runs field test groups for me, and helps me connect with different organizations working to get girls out of sex trafficking. You’ll love her writing voice. Leave a comment, I’ll be choosing another winner who will win a free copy of The 30 Day Praise Challenge.
Trapped inside a tunnel at a McDonald’s play area for kids. Claustrophobic, scared, unsure of how to get out. Big 1st grade bullies teasing, rushing by. Head spins. Can’t breathe. Think I’m gonna die.
No, unfortunately, I’m not referring to a childhood trauma. This happened last year. I climbed to the top of a McDonald’s play structure to help my toddler son, was able to successfully pass him out to my sister, but then realized I was stuck myself. That’s when panic set in with full force.
Stuck. Afraid. Paralyzed.
Isn’t this what happens sometimes in our emotional and spiritual lives? We feel trapped in an addiction, held captive by a shameful past, stagnant in a healing journey, bound by anxiety or depression, confined in the same sinful patterns and temptations, or stuck in a spiritually dry season. We’re fearful that we’ll never overcome, never move beyond, never get out of the current situation. Rather than our fear propelling us forward toward freedom, it’s debilitating. And so, the “stuck, afraid, paralyzed” cycle continues, and we stay in the tunnel that restricts us from being all God has called us to be.
Have you ever felt this way or is it just me? Do you ever feel claustrophobic as the struggles in your life close in around you? Are you feeling hopeless, trapped, unsure of your next move? Are you at an impasse in your emotional or spiritual journey? Are you longing for a breakthrough?
Let me offer a suggestion. Try praising the Lord, despite your situation, despite your feelings, despite the terrifying tunnel that you’re stuck in. Praise God that “we are not consumed” (Lamentations 3:22). Thank the Lord that He “has not deserted us in our bondage” (Ezra 9:9). Worship Him because “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Praise the Father because our “hope comes from him” (Psalm 62:5). Declare that “he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6). Testify that He will lift you “out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire” (Psalm 40:2). Just as the physical chains fell off of Paul and Silas as they worshipped in jail (Acts 16), so the emotional chains fall off of us as we praise God for His freeing power.
I’ve found that as I worship, I feel less trapped, less fearful, less paralyzed. As I exalt my Savior, I’m empowered to face my difficulties head on, rather than cowering back in fear. As I praise my God, I break free from inertia, and I begin the (sometimes long) journey towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
FREEDOM. COURAGE. MOVEMENT.
If you’re finding yourself stuck in an excruciatingly long, scary tunnel of shame, fear, pain, apathy, sin, or grief, choose to praise God that He will carry you through. Then watch and see how He fills you with freedom, courage, and movement.
PS – After completely freaking out, I finally worked up the courage to slide down an extremely narrow tunnel slide and made my way out of the play structure at McDonald’s. My son and I immediately left the restaurant, and I cried on my way home. I’ve since recovered (I think), but from here on out, I’m going to stick to the 3’6” and under play area height restriction!