an entry written for “knowgodknowlove.com”:
elephants are very powerful creatures. left unrestrained and free to wander, the collateral damage they are capable of doing is massive. surprisingly however, in places like india, these animals are secured by a mere piece of twine tied to a wooden peg in the ground… and that’s it.
how are the owners so confident that a feeble piece of string is all that is required to make sure their behemoth of a pet doesn’t wander astray?
well, when the elephant is just a baby, it is actually secured to the trunk of a tree with much more durable metal chains clasped around its ankle. given the strength that it possesses in its infancy, there is no way for the baby elephant to break free, no matter how hard it tries. it may scream, it may fight, it may try its hardest with all its might… but eventually it realizes the futility of finding freedom and stops trying.
it accepts that it cannot escape.
this effect is so psychologically powerful that even when the elephant becomes an adult, heavy chains aren’t even needed — simply twine will do. for in the moment the elephant feels even the slightest resistance, it will stop trying to escape (even though it is perfectly capable of doing so). the fully grown elephant believes that it is being secured by unbreakable chains, even when this is not even the case.
Given this incredible metaphor, let us now apply it to you, dear reader. Is there something in your life that feels like an invincible iron shackle around your ankle that you can’t break free from?
Lingering brokenness from a past relationship? Guilt-laden lust? Perhaps a perpetual feeling of insecurity that comes from constant reminders of your inadequacy? Maybe nobody understands you… and it hurts that they don’t.
These come to mind because I have personally dealt with all of these issues.
when spring 2009 ended, a very intense relationship came to a bitter conclusion also. during the “getting over her” process, which was laden with severe pangs of deep depression, I felt like I too was tied down by heavy chains, much in the same way as an elephant.. I felt there was no escape. in fact, the very prospect of ever feeling better or of ever feeling happiness anymore felt like a goal I could never accomplish again no matter how hard I tried. the helplessness was an awful experience, and the thoughts that came with it brought me a great deal of insecurity.. after all, who could possibly love a person who’s so obviously broken? it was just too soon for me to even pretend to be okay.
it’s odd.. those who have experienced a powerful encounter with Jesus ought to know that he is able to deliver you from practically anything, if you just come to him. but when you are in the middle of your darkest storms, the circumstances seem to prevent you from doing so. the perceived hugeness of the problems you are facing may even trick you into thinking that he is not near at all.
this is a terrible and deceitful lie. because you CAN come to Jesus. and he is near you.. always. and he will reveal to you the truth, and as John 8:32 reads, “… the truth will set you free.” Jesus revealed to me the psychological power I was giving to my circumstance, that what was actually twine I treated like metal chains. and the minute I realized that truth, I knew I could overcome, find my optimism, and restore my confidence.
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God– through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25)
through a renewal of my spirit that stemmed from me returning back to a focus on Jesus, I was able to see my circumstances with greater clarity. Slowly, as I prayed and continued to ask for his strength, I was able to get over just about everything. i’m happy again. the perspective and lessons i’ve gained helped me see things a lot more clearly, for what they were.. but the memories of what and how i felt in the beginning of the summer can come back to me vividly.. and while the issue was practically nothing more than twine around my ankle, it felt so much stronger. but i have long since stopped giving those memories any power over how I live my present.
stop being a prisoner to your past. stop dwelling on those shameful memories. For as long as you are in Christ, you are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17).
in Christ, we are no longer slaves to anything, for we serve a God who is greater than all storms, all troubles, all problems. never be reluctant to call on the name of Jesus. He is there. He will deliver.
“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us.”
(2 Corinthians 1:10)