'There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus."
This week I began treatments to remove the top layers of my skin on my chest and part of my right arm. Years of exposure to the sun has left me with pre-cancerous and cancerous cells over too wide an area to cut out. For three weeks I will be applying a cream that will gradually burn my skin, removing the top layers and the cancerous cells that have taken up residence.
To be honest, I have been dreading this! I have heard stories of how painful it can be. Even my doctor has warned me that it's going to get very uncomfortable. I wish I could avoid the discomfort and remove the unwanted cells another way. But the truth is, I can't. I have to endure the pain in order to address the problem and be freed of it.
I can't help but notice a parallel here. I think of things from my past that clung to me ~ things I would have preferred to forget. But ignoring them did not make them go away. Just like the cancer cells on my chest and arm, they stuck around and multiplied until I was willing to deal with them. Because I wanted to be freed up from the toxicity of these bad memories, I had to do some hard and painful work. I needed to stop hanging my head whenever they came to mind...open up and let light shine into these secret places of darkness from my past...say no to the shame and embarrassment, and exchange them for freedom and healing...put to death the power they had over my life...stop allowing them to affect my self-image and self-worth...set them at the cross and let God deal with them as He saw fit.
How about you? Are there things from your past that cause you to feel shame? Why not take the path to freedom? I know it may sound frightening. The things we keep hidden in the dark we tucked away for a reason. But it's not a healthy choice or one that is based on truth. When we avoid these things, we actually empower them to grow and take over more and more of us and our lives.
There is NOTHING hidden that will not shrink as it is brought into the light. There is NOTHING so bad that it deserves the right to remain locked away inside of us, wreaking havoc. We have nothing but shame to lose, and everything to gain ~ healing, wholeness, freedom, joy, and peace of mind. I know the process may be a painful one, more so for some than for others. But it is worth it! You are worth it!
These verses have blessed me immeasurably. I hope they bless you, too!
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
~2 Corinthians 3:17
"But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves led out to pasture."
"The people God has ransomed will come back on this road. They'll sing as they make their way home to Zion, unfading halos of joy encircling their heads, welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night."
~Isaiah 35:10, The Message
"I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them, I will comfort those who mourn, bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far," says the Lord, who heals them.
"I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed. I remember it all ~ oh, how well I remember ~ the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It's a good thing when you're young to stick it through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-force. The 'worst' is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won't ever walk out or fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense."
~Lamentation 3:19-32 The Message