In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln. Four million American slaves were granted freedom by this document. While most slaves received this news with abounding joy there were some who did not rejoice over their new found freedom.
Some of the slaves had grown accustomed to a certain comfortable existence in their lives. Their lives were far from perfect, but they knew what to expect in their daily living. Fear of the ominous unknown seemed riskier than remaining in the known. Many “house slaves” willingly chose to remain in the bondage of slavery because the risk of freedom didn’t seem worth it to them. Their slavery status had become a security blanket of sorts.
While at first glance, that might seem ludicrous I wonder if there are some areas in our lives where we choose to remain in the bondage of slavery instead of receiving God’s freedom?
About twelve years ago I was topping the scales at 240 pounds. I knew that I needed to lose weight for the obvious health reasons, but I kept procrastinating about making any effort to remedy the situation. One reason was that the idea of having to loose over 100 pounds seemed an impossible task that would require way too much effort on my part! The other reason was that I had grown accustomed to being “invisible” to other people.
When I was in public I avoided eye contact with people which appeared to be perfectly fine with them. I got so good at being “invisible” that people would actually bump into me in public which is ironic since I was not a small woman at 240 pounds. For the first time I didn’t compare my body to other women’s bodies. I felt like I was so heavy that nobody would ever find me remotely attractive. Therefore, I didn’t have to live up to anybody’s expectation of how I should look. My heaviness became my defensive mechanism to avoid having deal with the underlying root problem of my life long battle with low self-esteem. It became my security blanket that I literally carried with me everywhere I went!
Then I started coming to the Healing Service on Tuesday evenings. By this time I had lost some weight, yet I still felt like there was enough of a remnant of my weight security blanket that it was “safe” for me be in public. Sitting in the pews I tried to remain invisible at first, but then a soft yearning to have people see me just a little bit began to creep in my heart. This “soft yearning” was stretching me outside of my comfort zone. However, I kept returning to the Healing Service every week. Slowly, I began to participate in the Passing of the Peace. Even as I began to step outside of my comfort zone I still had to daily fight to let go of my weight security blanket. I had lived as “invisible” for a long time becoming visible to people was a scary proposition.
I, like the slaves, had grown accustomed to my idea of a comfortable existence. A part of me still fought to remain a slave to my weight security blanket because the prospect of freedom was terrifying to me. I was scared that if I was thinner I would once again go back to comparing my body to other women’s, that I would once again have to starve myself to stay thin, or that I would finally have to deal with the root problem of my low self-esteem. I did finally have to deal with that root problem, but God and my Prayer Minister walked with me every step of the way! The enemy still tries to push my buttons when it comes to my self-esteem. Thankfully, those times are coming less and less. It is those days when I have fleeting thoughts of wanting to be “invisible” again that I pray that God would make me visible to someone who needs to know that they are loved by Him and that He sees them!