Shackles, Thou Art Loosed

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Photo credit: the|G|™

I have found, time and again, that when things aren’t going to my liking, when my world feels upside-down and there’s nowhere to turn, when there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel alone, then usually my prayer life is lacking.

It means that I’ve been trying to run things myself, and that’s always disastrous.

Much of my youth was spent pleasing others, struggling with issues of self-worth, searching for personal acceptance in empty eyes and emptier promises, until all that changed in 1990 when, as a young adult who was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I cried out to God to relieve me of the pain, even if that meant death. I simply couldn’t go on anymore…did not want to go on anymore.

And in that moment, the shackles of heavy burden were loosed.

That’s not to say that I haven’t slapped them back on a time or two since then. Or three. Or three hundred. And each time, after the weight had pulled me down so low that I was coughing dust, did I finally remember to look up.

When I’m trying to run the show—you know, my life—without prayer, I’ve lost my humility. Somewhere along the path I got it into my head that I could do it alone, without God. It wasn’t a conscious decision to do that, mind you, but a revelation I would have after the fact. Wrapped up in all the worldly pleasures and demands, I lost constant contact with Him.

Listening to Christian music helps to keep my line-of-sight heavenward. It provides inspiration and guidance when I feel overwrought and lost, and promises hope and salvation during moments of doubt and insecurity. It reminds me that all my answers can be found in Him.

This is a wonderful music video by Big Daddy Weave called, “Redeemed.” I chose it specifically for the testimony of its lead singer, Mike Weaver, during the first minute-and-a-half, where he ends by saying,

Real humility is simply agreeing with whatever God says about anything. As a child of God, ransomed by the blood of Jesus, He looks at you and says, ‘Redeemed.’

Do yourself a favor and watch the video. Listen to the words. Your day of insecurity may just be redeemed.

Peace,

ML Swift

This post was written as a part of Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month to share our solutions to common difficulties, encourage other writers to meet their insecurities head-on, and seek supportive shoulders to tear-stain when we’ve received one too many rejections. If you’d like to join the group (and we’d love to have you), follow the link to Alex’s site, grab a badge, and add your name to the list. I’ll see you next month!

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43 thoughts on “Shackles, Thou Art Loosed

  1. Very cool look for the new blog. What made you make the transition to WordPress? I thought about it, but then it required effort, so I said eh. I am building a blog for my readers (kids and YAs) and I’m doing that on WordPress. So far that’s involving a few swear words.

    Good to see you’re having a week of peace – mine was a bit ugh, but staying grateful for all my awesome friends (like you!) who can cheer me up just by the mention of their name 🙂

    Looking forward to Save the Cat! reviews.

    1. I tell you, the effort has almost made me throw in the towel…I’ve had that “Eh” feeling many times. Had I not paid for the domain, I probably would’ve, but I’m starting to figure things out now. It was just a matter of getting my feet wet. Still much to learn, though. I changed for future reasons. WP has the ability to expand more than Blogger, and if things go as hoped, I’ll need that!

      Loved your post today.

  2. Found the new blog! And yes, changed the link on the list.
    Amen, ML! Yes, when we try to do it our way, we hinder ourselves. It’s not always easy to do, but God really does need to be in charge. After all, He knows what’s going to happen.

    1. Glad you found the spot, Alex! Yes, agreed. God knows what’s going to happen, so why not let him lead? I really hope that people watch the video. The lyrics are quite beautiful

  3. Faith is a very important thing in life and key to overcome obstacles that otherwise would throw us down to the ground (or six feet under). Doing whatever it takes to remind us of that faith is the wisest and best thing we can do for ourselves.

    1. Exactly, Al. Glad you found the place…make sure to hit the follow button up top, or follow by email…I want you to stick around for the long haul. Also, be sure to add your name to the PBC for Save the Cat!

  4. Great post, Mike and such a solid reminder of the source of our strength. You know I’m right there with you . Never heard of this singer before– what a great voice. Very inspiring.

    1. I loved the whole six minutes of this video. I truly hope that people give it a listen the entire way through. The testimony is excellent without being all in-your-face, which I hate, and the lyrics (and you’re correct—great voice, too) are quite meaningful.

    1. Thanks for coming by, Nutschell! It is a great pick me up, I agree…maybe that’s why they call it “inspirational.” I’ll be stopping by your place, soon.

  5. Mike, I so love this side of you. And you are so right on every level here. I, too, find my prayer life is lacking or I’ve gotten out of line with God when I take over my life and scoot God out of the driver’s seat. That’s when all hell breaks loose. Like you said, it’s not a conscious decision but a revelation after the fact.

    LOVE. THIS. POST!!!

    1. Yay! I’m redeemed. (This length is about where I try to keep it)

      Thanks, D., for stopping by. So many times after I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off (have you ever witnessed that? Freaky) I stop and say, “Mike, slow down and talk to God! Give this to Him to hold…even if just for a day and He gives it back tomorrow…do that everyday.”

      1. Good lordy, don’t make me relive my childhood while visiting my grandmother in Mississippi. We’d walk down the road to my aunt and uncle’s farm and witness the “freaky chicken with his head cut off” deal.

        My uncle yielded the ax, placed the chicken on an old tree stomp, and whack! Fried chicken for dinner (supper). Freaked me out. My brothers and sisters liked watching him do that, liked watching the headless chicken fly around the yard. I only needed to see it once. Never again. Except for the repeated image of it in my mind.

      2. What’s really gross is that we didn’t even use an ax. My grandfather and uncles would grab them by the neck and swing the chickens round and round, leaving the heads to dangle and flop while they ran into the side of the barn. It was heartbreaking to watch, but so tasty, later. My job was to dip them in the boiling water and pluck the feathers.

      3. OMG my uncle did that, too. I totally forgot how they’d also break their necks by swinging them around. I never witnessed that version but heard them reliving it at the supper table while I picked feathers off my fried chicken that had not been thoroughly cleaned off. Gross.

    1. Well, thanks for coming anyway, Stina. It’s always good to see you. The song is very soulful and inspiring. If you want to bypass his testimony, the music starts at 1.30.

  6. On my laptop I have a gorgeous pic of a river that says “stop directing the river’s flow” and it reminds me how ridiculous it is to think that I’m in charge or in control. Good thing I’m not, I’d mess it all up big time! 😀
    Great IWSG post! Love the new site 🙂

    1. Lexie! Hey! You know…you have such nice inspirational stuff surrounding you. I like that river’s flow analogy. Fighting the flu…sorry to get to you so late. I’ll be by in a little bit, but think I’ll rest off this headache.

    1. Jules, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Are you new to IWSG? I’ll be by in a while to say hey and welcome. Thanks for coming by, and I’m glad you gleaned some meaning from the post.

  7. Big Daddy Weave’s cool, but my preference leans more toward Jason Gray and Brandon Heath. (Toby Mac goes without saying.) I’ve also become a fan of Dara McLean and Britt Nicole lately.

    And I found you using the Google Reader. The technique Laura mentioned on your Blogspot blog does indeed work! So many new possibilities now. Yippee!

    1. I’m a big Third Day fan, too, and there’s a version of the song “Creed” (it’s music set to the Nicene Creed) that’s a collaboration of the group with Brandon Heath. Very good…I like it much better than their original.

      I’m trying to implement all the various ways to follow. Always so much to figure out.

  8. Mike,

    Thank you for the inspiration. I like the sound of Big Daddy Weave.

    And it’s good to see that you made the cross to WordPress. We love it here. Repeat after me. We love it here, we love it here, we love it here…

    1. We…love…it…here. Actually, I’m getting used to it more. It grows on you, but still much to figure out to navigate through and develop this the way I want.

      I read your most recent post in my email and will swing by to add my ten cents.

  9. Wow, look at all these comments! Bravo! I wanted to say that I love this post so much! I needed to hear it this morning, it is just so darn easy to fall back into the habit of thinking I can do without HIS help. So silly!

  10. Mike, thank you for this post and the song. I recently (last 2 years) went through a horrible struggle in my life with looking for a job, coming to terms with my husband who is now disabled, issues with my kids. I prayed and I prayed for help, but it seemed the more I prayed, the worse things got until I stopped praying all together and actually began to curse God and my faith. One day about a month ago, I got on my knees and sobbed and turned it all over to the Big Guy upstairs. I simply couldn’t go on anymore. This time, the prayers came from the heart and the gut. Within 2 weeks I had a job and the process was so smooth, so easy, it leaves me in wonder.

    I’m reblogging this so others can find you and maybe some inspiration in their own lives. God bless.

    1. Jenny,

      I’m so glad this found a place in your heart today, and thank you for reblogging so that others may have that opportunity, too. It’s amazing how when we truly surrender, we wind up victorious. Thanks, again, and bless you!

  11. Reblogged this on J. Keller Ford ~ Young Adult Fantasy Author and commented:
    This post means so much to me. We’ve all been there. If you are one of the millions struggling with something in your life, may you find peace and inspiration through this post. I know the Lord is walking by my side. As long as I keep Him there, I’ll never fall again. Thank you, Mike, for this post and for the music.

  12. Gosh, yes, I know what you mean. If I don’t stay in constant contact with Him, things gradually start falling apart. It happens in a way that I don’t even realize it’s happening–me inching away. Like you, listening to Christian music touches me in a way like no other. Redeemed is one of my favorite songs. The lyrics are so true. Thanks for this beautiful post. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Celeste!

      Back in the day, Christian music was like monotonous funeral dirges, dragging on, verse after verse after verse. The words would be lost in the drone of the music.

      Today’s music is much more “hip.” It presents life’s struggles in the language of music that is more appealing to the modern man. That way, it has the chance to actually reach and speak to people.

      Thanks for coming by.

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