Posted by: Kris Lindsey | June 22, 2013

Another Roadblock to Joy

I jetted out my front door into the brisk morning air, pausing on the driveway only long enough to stretch-out my calves. Then I stepped onto the asphalt and started pacing down the street, arms swinging.

As I passed by my yard, I noticed my pink daisies stretching their faces skyward to catch the first rays of warm sunlight. A chorus of bird songs drifted down from the treetops. My neighbor, decked out in jogging shorts, smiled at me as she plodded by.

Thank you, God, for another beautiful day. Thank you for legs to walk, food to eat, family and friends to love. I have so much. So why is it still so hard for me to rejoice?

I tried imagining what it would feel like to flail my arms open wide—free as a child. Woman Standing Outside With Arms OutstretchedBut a knot of resistance in my chest warned, “Don’t do it. Keep those elbows tight to your side.”

Lord, please remove this defensiveness so I can feel joy again.

Suddenly, in my mind I pictured a scared little animal that had been captured, and then set free. Although back in its familiar environment, it sat huddled and shaking, afraid to move. “It’s okay, little fellow,” my heart said. “You’re safe now. Go run and play like you used to.”

Then I saw myself as that animal. I, too, had experienced traumatic times that were now over. And here I was, afraid to come out and enjoy.

I looked to my right and left—nothing threatening here, just neatly kept houses all in a row. I took inventory of my current status. Health—good. Finances—stable. Family and friends—doing well.

Come on, Kris. What more could God do to show me I’m safe? He’s provided me with everything I need, including family and friends who encourage me daily. Just let go. It’s okay.”

I struggled and struggled to will away my achy chest-knot, envisioning how much I wanted that scared little animal to be happy and free. Finally my guard slipped down—for a second. Ooo, it still felt scary, so I tightened up again.

Wow, how strange. With all the support I have, what was I afraid of? Stray airplane parts falling from the sky? Getting run over by a bus? All I knew was I felt a general mistrust of the world. Unwarranted? Maybe. But real, none the less.

Then I remembered, my life is in God’s hands. Maybe I could let my guard down, trusting myself to God’s care.

Dear God, please help me rest in Your loving arms.

I pictured God’s concerned face as he encouraged this scared child to let go and trust.

Then I imagined myself surrounded by an invisible force field of God’s protection.

The knot in my chest disappeared. I did feel safe in God’s presence—with God all around me, what did I have to fear? The sky above me seemed to open up, as if a lid on a cage opened, and I felt a freedom I haven’t felt in years.

It’s been over a week since I took that walk, and I still feel like that layer of defensive armor is gone. I feel about 80% freer to open up, raise my hands and praise God. This journey to joy I’m on is a process, but I’m encouraged by the work God is doing in me.


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  2. […] don’t know how I got here—why I’m anxious, tense, defensive, or depressed—and I don’t know how to get out. But God sees the maze from above. He sees those […]

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