I’ve been getting a lot of hints from God lately that I’m entering a transitional time. Moving from what was into what will be. There have been suggestions of leaving the past behind, looking forward and newness coming. Jesus had given me a glimpse of what He was calling me to and I could feel the pull of change. Change. Newness. Purpose. Calling. These were words that I had been desperate to hear for 5 years. Words of redemption and meaning and hope. And as much as I was eager to step into the newness, I was struggling with how to leave the old. Especially when the old hadn’t entirely left yet. I was carrying my baggage from my sufferings and couldn’t figure out how to let them go. Literally and figuratively. I was longing for freedom, I believed in freedom but I was holding on to my bondage. Lord, help me leave this and move out into your freedom. Yes and amen.
Visualization. This concept has become a freedom-vehicle that Jesus has been using with me. It’s so fascinating to me what He uses to bring His freedom. Through the sessions with the psychologist at the health clinic I’ve been at for the past 3 weeks, I was challenged to visualize myself with my burden. My backpack of baggage. So I visualized myself wearing a huge army-style backpack, packed full. I had to name what was in the backpack…fear of continued suffering, anxiety of my capabilities vs what I needed to accomplish on a daily basis, stress and exhaustion of constantly analyzing my health, frustration and anger at having to deal with being sick, fear of being misunderstood or people not understanding, overwhelmed, anxious, heavy and fearful. My backpack was full.
I could see myself wearing the backpack and wanting to take it off. But how? How do you let go of something you’ve had to carry for so long? And it’s not like I’m completely healed so most likely even if I could take the backpack off, I’d have to put it right back on again soon. Impossible. That’s how it felt. So in the session I’m praying. JESUS! I know you want me to let this go. To trust you and walk light and free. I need you to help me! I can’t do this and I’m so desperate for it! PLEASE
!---Here the psychologist interjects and asks me to see if I can take the backpack off.
I try. No, I can’t. I want to, but I can’t.
---Ok, she says, where is the backpack now?
I focus again and see that the backpack is no longer on my back, I’ve taken it off and am clutching it in my arms as if my life depends on it. Half my body is screaming, “Get rid of this backpack! I don’t want it!” and the other half is screaming right back, “No way! I HAVE to carry this! I’m just going to have to pick it up again anyway. I can’t let go”.
Jesus. My heart cries. I need Jesus.
So I visualize Jesus standing with me. I cry out to Him, ‘I need you! I can’t do this, You have to help me.’
---The psychologist interjects again….where is the backpack now?
I try again to focus on it. Wait, where is it? Where am I? Where’s Jesus? My visualization isn’t working (how is that possible when I’m the one visualizing?! I have no idea).
“ I can’t see the backpack.” I say
.---The psychologist asks if it is gone.
‘Is it? I don’t thinks so,' I say, confused by my lack of clarity.
Suddenly the scene returns into perfect focus. There I am and there’s Jesus. I look and no, I’m not wearing the backpack. I look at Jesus, He smiles at me and then turns around. There on HIS back is MY backpack.
I lose it.
I gasp and bolt upright and start sobbing.
He took it. I couldn’t take it off and He knew I couldn’t so He did it for me. And then, knowing I would be worried about where the backpack was and if I’d have to put it on again, He put it on His back. Like so many other of my burdens, my struggles. He took them. He bore them.
It was too much. Too much love. Too much grace. But…perfect. Of course He took it. Of course He’s wearing it. A constant reminder that I’m not carrying it anymore.
Love. Oh the deep deep love.
Freedom. Inexplicable, undeserved freedom. I once was burdened, but now I’m free.
Freedom was fighting for me, and Freedom set me free.