Prisons in your mind
by Teresa A. LeNeave
Monday began just like any other day of her vacation. Anna bounced out of bed with plans to spend a day relaxing at the pool, enjoy a little shopping in the downtown shops, play a little golf, maybe read a Lee Child novel before retiring for the night. Either way, she decided, shopping would be the first thing she did that day.
After a brisk walk from the motel to the outdoor shopping mall, she stepped inside a cool shop filled with all the usual souvenir trinkets. In the far corner she noticed the largest selection of purses she had ever seen. As she browsed through the piles of multi-cultural purses she caught a glimpse of a white limousine driving down the strip. It looked like it was half a block long. The limousine was filled with young kids leaning out the windows and it was pulling a wagon filled with kids.
Intrigued by the sight, she stepped outside to get a better look. The store clerks had also stepped out the door. A clerk noticed Anna had one of their purses on her arm. When Anna realized she "appeared" to be stealing the purse she quickly stepped back inside.
Filled with feelings of fear that she would be hauled off to jail for shoplifting, she found the shop owner and explained the situation.
He was busy and didn't pay much attention to her. She decided to just wait around until he could talk to her. Several times during the day Anna tried to get his attention so she could explain and he could tell her she wouldn't be charged with shoplifting. She never left the shop.
Finally, the sun went down and it was time to close the shop for the evening. Again, she tried again to get him to listen, instead everyone went home but, to her amazement, they left the door unlocked. She was alone in the shop with the door unlocked. Anyone could come and steal anything. She was scared. She didn't know what to do.
Looking out the window and trying to decide what she would do, she noticed the shop owner, outside, walking across the street to another building. He didn't even look her way. She thought, "He's not concerned in the least bit that the door was left unlocked."
The building across the street was filled with chairs and in every chair was a person. She could see a man standing in front, apparently. having a diamond auction. Suddenly, like a light bulb turned on inside her head, she thought, "Why am I staying in this store when the door is obviously unlocked? Why have I wasted my entire day here? I'm the one holding myself here! I put myself in my own prison. I've been free to go all day. Instead, I've spent the day trying to explain why I had the purse. And, no one but me, even knows why I'm hanging around here."
The moral of that little story is this: That's what people do with guilt. They hold onto it. They spend their entire lives holding on to something that keeps them restricted in one place when they could be enjoying life; serving God; winning others to Christ; and enjoying family and friends. Instead of freedom, Satan convinces them they are guilty and not worthy of freedom.
Our "perceptions" (what we think people think) often keeps us from growing in Christ. We are our own worst enemy. We imagine that someone doesn't like us. We imagine that people are talking about us. We imagine that we aren't good enough, smart enough or talented enough ... and the list goes on and on. Holding on to feelings of guilt, shame, remorse and embarrassment serves to keep us tied to those feelings when all the time we are free. We imprison ourselves by the thoughts we allow to stay in our minds.
When you accept Jesus into your life, He sets you free. But, YOU will have to be the one who lets the guilt and shame go. Put it down, walk out of the store and go on with your life ... doing good, edifying and building up those you meet.
Jesus said the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23) - That if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in our heart that God has raised him (Jesus) from the dead, we shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9). Don't struggle to stay in your imprisonment, but relax and give it to God so you can enjoy life as a child of God.