There is a song by the gospel group Mary Mary, I believe their first single, called “Shackles.”
It goes “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance, so I can praise You.”
This song has been in my heart for the last few days, because God has taken the shackles of my feet and I am dancing! Dancing in my heart and sometimes physically.
Let me tell you why.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a male companion. When I was younger or at least in my 20s, I wanted a boyfriend, towards my 30s and now into my 40s I have desired a husband. This desire for male companionship has been the noose around my neck and the shackles on my feet. I did not know that fully until recently.
This desire, a good Godly desire, had become my idol. There is nothing wrong with desiring a spouse, God in His Word said that it was not good for man to be alone. We were created to be in a relationship with God and with others. But a good desire can become an idol when it takes the place of everything in your life – especially the place of God.
This idol had manifested itself in my life in several ways. I would sometimes compromise my standards and values by dating guys who we were not equally yoked (we did not have the same beliefs) so that I could satisfy my desire. Everything – okay let me not exaggerate – but most things around my life became about finding a spouse.
If I would enter a coffee shop for example, and saw a handsome tall man, the first thought in my head would be “is he eligible?” and the second thing would be to scan his left finger for a ring. If no ring was present, my hopes from that second on was that this particular gentleman would speak to me. Any gathering – weddings, work events, lunch and dinners, and of course church – became a potential venue for meeting my spouse. My friends and family became my match makers, if they would ask me if I was dating, I would retort and ask if they had found someone I could date.
My view of self was damaged because I did not see myself as a whole human being who is loved by the Creator but I saw myself as someone who was lacking something, I was incomplete. At times , thoughts like I am not good enough, I am not attractive enough, I am not desirable, among many others, plagued my mind.
Then a series of events led me to where I am today – Unshackled!
I am in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), and this is one of the best things that has happened for me in my spiritual walk.
BSF is a bible study fellowship which enables one to read the bible. The structure of the fellowship is as follows: through September to May each year, they assign scripture readings. For example this year we are going through a series called “The People of the Promised Land” and as we explore this series, we are going through the books of Joshua, Ruth, Samuel among others. BSF supplies you with questions that aid you as you go through the scriptures; you then meet at a specific venue once a week (you can find a class wherever you are in the world). In a group of at least 10 people at the specified venue, you discuss the answers to your questions, you then meet as a larger group in the same venue, where there is a teaching leader who expounds on the lessons learned and they then give you comprehensive notes that explain the scripture for that lesson.
Sorry I digress but just in case you as a reader need an in-depth bible study, please consider BSF.
Anyway, as I was going through the book of Samuel, I came across the story of Hannah, which I know so well. She was barren and, after many years, cried bitterly to the Lord and He answered her prayer and gave her a son called Samuel. This story has always been an encouragement to me as I have always believed that if God could do it for Hannah, He could do it for me and in my case give me a spouse. But this time when I read the story, I had a different feeling, I was sad and I just remember crying out to the Lord. That ugly cry where snot runs down your nose and tears profusely roll down your cheeks – that was me, it was ugly. I questioned God why He was not answering my prayers, I asked Him how a good Father could watch their child cry over the same thing year after year and not have mercy. It was ugly and raw.
A few days later, I read 1 Samuel chapter 8, in it we are told the story of the Israelites who at this point in their history, were demanding a King. They stated that the reason they wanted a King was because 1) they wanted to be like other tribes 2) they wanted someone to fight/lead their battles for them 3) they wanted someone to judge them – 1 Samuel 8: 20.
So as I meditated on these verses, I passed judgement on the Israelites. I asked myself why would they want an earthly king yet they had all these things that they wanted in the Divine King? God was their King – He is the King of Kings, He was their judge and He miraculously fought for them their battles – battle after battle He gave them victory over their enemies (please read the account in Joshua chapter 10 where God literally stopped the sun from setting so that the Israelites could win a battle –the sun stood still – think about that).
Anyway, God allowed this passage to speak to my heart. He, through the help of the Holy Spirit, allowed me to see that I was no different from the Israelites. God showed me that just like the Israelites, I have Him and in Him, I have EVERYTHING I need. He showed me how He has been with me all through my life, through the good and the bad. He showed me how He had helped me overcome so many obstacles in my life. He showed me how I had received so much joy through answered prayer. He showed me how He continues to lead and guide me as I make decisions in my life. He showed me how His Son died on the cross for my Sin. He showed me how the Holy Spirit guides me and enables me to desire His Word and understand it. He showed me that He is enough for me and because of that then I am enough. I do not need anything or anyone, for that matter, to complete me. I have HIM and that is all I need.
Now some of these things we hear often, especially if you are in Christian circles but for the first time in my life, this truth became real in my heart. I believed with all my heart that God is ENOUGH FOR ME.
It was from that moment on that I felt the shackles being lifted of my feet. I realized that I do not need anything or anyone as long as I have King Jesus. This idol of marriage immediately stopped being my idol. I realized I do not need it. Now if one day God blesses me with a spouse it will be fine, if He does not that is fine too. Now my outlook is different. I don’t feel like I am lacking anything in fact I have everything.
I am not in a constant quest to find a spouse. I am no longer finding my worth in whether I have a spouse or not. My worth is found in Christ alone. I am not defined by my marital status. This revelation has opened my eyes and the veil has been lifted. I feel like a new person. The shackles of marriage idolatry have been lifted and I am dancing literally and figuratively.
My desire now is for God to use me as He wills. I am free! And the sweetest thing about all this, is that I did not will myself to be free but the word of God set me free.
Jesus said that “if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free – John 8: 31,32. Praise God, Amen!