Prison Without Bars:
Though I had received much emotional healing to my soul, there was still much more needed in the areas of fear, condemnation and pride. I had also carried a lot of shame and guilt through the years. Jesus had forgiven me for my past but I had not come to the place where I had forgiven myself. I condemned myself as well as allowing others to put condemnation on me (Romans 8:1). I did so because deep down, I believed I deserved it. I have just described a lot of people in the Church today who are struggling with these same things in their walk with the Lord.
Also through the years, I had accumulated a lot of fears such as, fear of rejection, fear of people, fear of failing God and those who would get close to me. Fear of NOT being loved by someone, and fear of BEING loved by someone. I had spent a great portion of
my life believing that I was unacceptable and not normal according to other people’s standards. I would cry out and ask God, “What is wrong with me?”
It is not people’s standards that we are measured and accepted by. It is by God’s standards of love and grace through His Word and His Son. It is by His Spirit that we are accepted in the beloved Jesus (Eph.1:6). Even though I knew without doubt that I had been born again, still there were things of the past that kept me in a prison without bars. I was being held captive through fear and shame.
I had come through much ‘spiritual surgery’ whereby, I had gained new degrees of freedom that was such a wonderful experience. For a brief period, God let me rest while I endeavored to digest everything He had taught me so far. I guess you could say, I was allowed to go to the mountaintop and enjoy the view and be refreshed for a time. Little did I know I was about to go through the valley again.
Off and on for about three months, I experienced the feeling of being bound and tied down, like I could hardly move. It was a very frustrating feeling to say the least. Because of it, it sent me to Father God, crying out from the depths of my soul, ‘I want to be free! I just want to be free!’ Of course, this whole thing was being orchestrated by Holy Spirit to move me into position to receive more in depth revelation truth. I have said this before but it bears repeating, there is no freedom gained without there first being a revelation of God’s truth (John 8:32).
On November 12, 1998, I ran a tub of water to bathe before going to do errands. I used the time to pray. I needed to talk to my Papa God. I didn’t need a preacher to pray for me. I didn’t need someone to lay hands on me, although I believe in that. I just needed to get alone with the Lord and do like the old song says, “Have A Little Talk With Jesus.” All that morning I had felt this binding even stronger and now I cried out to God again, “I want to be free!”
As I closed my eyes in prayer, directly, I began to see a vision of a woman in a prison cell. It had no windows. It also had no door to keep her inside. She could walk out and into freedom any time but she remained inside as if the door was shut and bolted. As I looked at this woman, I felt such compassion and my heart immediately went out to her. Everything Holy Spirit had taken me through on this healing journey since January seemed to culminate in this vision.
As I look on, the woman is sitting huddled in a corner on a narrow bench. Her legs are drawn up off the floor. Her arms are folded across her chest and her head is bowed. She is nearly in a fetal position and as I watched her, I knew this woman was ‘me.’ The vision became an inter-active vision, in that, not only was I an observer but I was also to intercede for her freedom. In essence, I was doing spiritual warfare for myself and for my
At this point, I began to cry and pray for this frightened woman. “Oh, Father. Oh, Papa, I see her and I see how she’s so afraid. Help her, Jesus, to know that she has nothing to fear. That you’ve not given her a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Oh, Papa, let her feel your love. Help her to know how much you love her. Just pour your love out to her and help her to know that she doesn’t have to be afraid of anybody or anything.”
I continued to pray and cry at the same time as I never took my eyes off the woman. “Help her, Jesus, to realize that YOU’RE her Protector. Oh, Papa, help her to unfold her arms and put her legs down. Strengthen her, Jesus, to know that she can trust you with all her heart. That you want to heal her heart, not abuse it.
I stopped praying for a moment and let the tears flow on behalf of the hurting woman in the prison cell. I could see that she had not moved yet. She was still in the corner and in the same position. I began to pray for her again. “Oh, Papa, please help this woman. Give her the strength she needs to move out of that corner. Help her to believe that you love her.”
As I continued to watch this woman, I saw her move to put her legs down, feet on the floor. Her arms also unfolded. Slowly, she moved out of the corner. “Oh, Father, thank you, for helping her to move out of that corner of isolation.” She now sat on the edge of the bench with both hands gripping the edge. Her head remained bowed. I felt her shame and guilt. I felt her pain and it broke my heart for the woman, causing me to cry even harder.
When I could speaks again, I prayed, “Oh, Jesus, please help her to lift her head. Help her to know that you took her shame and guilt and she doesn’t have to live under it anymore. She’s free. Let her know that you’re her glory and the lifter of her head. Oh, Jesus, help her to lift her head and look fully in your face. Help her to only see you and know that she’s not under anybody’s condemnation anymore. Not even her own.”
I watched as the woman struggled to lift her head. She would lift it an inch then lower it again. “Oh, Papa, she’s struggling to lift her head and set her eyes totally on your face. Help her, Jesus, to do that. She wants to and she’s trying. Oh, Father, help her to forget everything else but you. Please, give her what she needs to lift her head and look fully at you.”
She struggled a bit more and then finally, she raised her head and looked up. But instead of peace, there was fear on her face. All the while, I’m crying, watching this woman and praying for her victory because I knew that my total victory and freedom depended on what she did. Now, as I saw the fear on her face, I began to pray yet again. “Oh, Papa, please speak peace to her and let her know you accept her. That you love her regardless. That you believe in her. Help her, Father, to realize that your love is greater than any fear she will ever face.”
The woman’s lifted her face up toward heaven and in a few moments, I saw her face soften. “Oh, Father, thank you for helping her.” As I looked at her, I saw that her hands were still gripping the edge of the bench. My heart went out to her and I began to pray again. “Oh, Papa, she’s still struggling. Help ease her struggle. Help her, Jesus, to let go of the bench and raise her hands to you in surrender and praise. Help her to let go completely and trust you. Help her to let go of the belief that she must do everything herself. Oh, Father, strengthen her faith to trust you and not herself.”
I watch as the woman struggles to let go of the bench and raise her hands. Her hands would raise halfway up, then they would fall back to her sides. This happened several times until finally, she raised her hands all the way up. “Oh, Papa, her hands are raised to you. Help her, Jesus, to totally surrender her will to your will. Help her to know that she doesn’t have to fear you being in control of her life. Give her the strength to let go.”
At last, though hesitant, she let go of the bench. As she does, I know the struggle going on inside of her to surrender her will completely. “Oh, Father,” I prayed, “Help her stand to her feet. Give her the courage she needs to be able to stand, no matter what and not fear.” I see the battle continue inside the woman but finally, she stands to her feet and raises her hands in praise, her face upturned toward heaven. Then, I see a smile spread across her face and I see a sparkle appear in her eyes (His glory). She stands like this for a moment but then, her hands come back down in front of her and she pulls them in close to her body.
“Oh, Jesus,” I prayed, “Help this woman to know in her heart that you’re capable of holding her securely in your hands. Help her, Jesus, to know that she can put everything in your hands and rest (I Peter 5:7). Help her, Father, to open her hands and raise them to you. Help her to give her all to you to hold in your hands.”
After a bit, I see the woman raise her hands to the Lord in praise again. Her face is glowing. She’s smiling and her eyes are bright. Watching intently and rejoicing with the woman, I see that when she stood up, an old dark form that had been attached to her back (the past) remained on the seat. “Oh Father, please take away the picture of her past. Help her to be able to forget it and go on to do what you've called her to do."
This form was dark, actually black looking, but as she stood in front of it (her back to it), she was in the light. Directly, the black form deflated and fell over on the bench. It was a lifeless and dead thing. The past was dead. As I looked at this deflated form, the Lord spoke to me and said, “That’s how your past is. It’s lifeless and dead. It has no power. It has no life. It can’t ever hurt you again unless you allow it to.” In the vision, I saw that the woman was beginning to realize that she was really free and has been all along.
Even though I saw the woman getting the revelation truth of how free she was, it still wasn’t enough. I knew she was going to have to take a big step of faith and so I began to pray for her again. “Jesus, she’s got to go out of that door! Please, help her to have the courage to walk through the door of that prison and on out to total freedom. Father, please help her. She’s got to go out that door!”
The woman didn’t make a move toward the door of the prison. It was then that I saw someone appear in the prison cell with the woman. It was the Lord Himself, the Deliverer and an ever present help in time of trouble. I saw Him take hold of the woman’s left hand in His right hand to lead her out of the prison cell. He is so gentle and patient with her. Meanwhile, she’s still afraid. She’s somewhat resistant and she struggles, pulling backward with her arm stretched out fully.
At this point, I automatically started binding satan on behalf of the woman. I came against him in the name of Jesus, applying the blood of Jesus. In a few moments, I see the woman’s arm bend slightly. But just as quickly, it straightens back out fully as Jesus continues to hold her hand. Her arm goes back and forth like this for a few moments as I continue to come against satan’s interference.
Finally, the struggle is over as she bends her arm totally and straightens her body in surrender. Jesus then pulls her forward slightly and as He turns around, the woman moves herself to His back. She becomes glued there as if they are ‘one.’ Following Jesus, they move toward the door opening of the prison cell to go out.
As Jesus walks, so does the woman. They walk in unison. Her steps are exactly like His. “Thank you, Jesus, for helping her to get to where she is. Help her, Jesus, to walk on out. Help her to know that she doesn’t have to see everywhere she’s going with you. Help her to trust that you know and you’re always with her, leading her to go and do the right things. Help her to follow your lead instead of her own.”
I continued to watch as Jesus led the woman to the inside of the door opening. When they got there, she stopped. It was obvious that fear was trying to attach itself to her mind again. I started praying again for her, binding satan’s attack in the name of Jesus. After a bit, she finally followed Jesus on out the door. She was completely out of the prison cell now. She was free of the past. She had been all along since accepting Jesus as her Savior. She just needed the revelation of that truth to become real in her spirit and soul. Now, it was.
“Oh, thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus! She’s free! She’s really and truly free! Now, help her Jesus to never come back to this prison cell. Please, get her away from that door. Help her, Jesus, and lead her on into the destiny you have planned for her. Help her to always follow the Spirit’s lead.” I watch as Jesus and the woman move on from the door opening of the prison cell and down a hallway and out of sight. At this point, the vision ended. (I saw later where we went but that’s for another time).
I had been in the tub for a little over an hour. The water was cold by now but I had not even noticed. It didn’t matter because I was praising God and rejoicing. I felt such a tremendous feeling of freedom like I had not experienced before. A real touch from the Lord had come to me on this morning and in a tangible way through the vision. Seeing this degree of revelation truth of how free I was of the past was the final breakthrough I had needed. Praise God! He is so good.
The Responsibility of Freedom:
Once we have gained new levels of freedom from the history of our past, we are responsible to maintain that freedom. Many people will want to remain in ‘Egypt’ because they have gotten comfortable there and its just easier ‘making do’ rather than having to move to a place of responsibility that freedom requires. While others are more than willing to be responsible and move on to their land of promise flowing with milk and honey.
Freedom is not free, it will cost you something. It will require your belief and faith in God that He will walk you through any ‘desert’ you may have to cross, and where you may have to engage in warfare to hold on to your new found freedom from past memory tyrants. The Holy Spirit will lead you and keep guiding you into new revelation truth of your freedom in Christ Jesus. He will also give you the wisdom to know how to appropriate and experience the manifestation of the revelations. He will take you on through the valley of the shadow of death.
In light of that, I feel the need to say again, that in order for us to gain freedom from our painful past and responsibly maintain it, we have to be brought face to face with truth about God, ourselves and others. We must examine circumstances that involves other people and how we have perceived them, righteously or unrighteously, plus what our actions were. Did we react in anger and retaliation toward them, or did we respond in the love of God and with forgiveness? If we want to go on with the Lord to fulfill our purpose for the Kingdom of God, then with Holy Spirit’s help, we must learn to process the pain and leave it behind. Amen.
This leads us to ask, how do we go about processing the emotional pain we’ve accumulated along our journey in life? How do reconcile righteously those wrong choices
we made along the way? Following is what I have learned on my own journey with Jesus about many of my wrong choices made because of trying to cope with emotional pain. Its not an exhaustive list because it is an on-going process where you’re constantly learning some new revelation to help you move forward in your journey.
Face truth brought to your attention and acknowledge it
Take responsibility for your part of the past and for your future
Repent and receive forgiveness for your own offenses
In faith and love, forgive those who hurt you
Release any anger and trust God to set right what needs to be
Receive healing and restoring love of Father God
Give love away to those who are in need of it
Pray for those who despitefully use and abuse you
In our journey to wholeness and freedom, the process will not be free from pain as Holy Spirit exposes those areas of wounding that have not been healed yet. I would like to be able to tell you that if you snap your fingers three times, the journey will be a breeze. I can promise you that if you will set your mind and be determined to press in to touch Jesus, your Healer and Deliverer, the end result will be worth any pain you may experience. It will be worth it to gain more degrees of freedom and wholeness to your spirit and soul because someone ‘out there’ needs YOU to be well so you can help them come to the same place of freedom and wholeness. Amen. Once you have freely you have received, you have to turn around and find someone in need to freely give to.
Again, real freedom carries a responsibility of truth with it. Plus, we are responsible to maintain the ground we have gained and exercise the right to occupy it in freedom. Our responsibility to God’s truth about ourselves and our situations is to own it. That is, accept it in humility, making no excuses for yourself but repenting of any sin you may have picked up along the way. You can’t walk down a dusty road without getting some of that dust on you. But you can wash it off (with natural water) with the washing of the water of the word of God (Eph.5:27).
Our heavenly Father is a loving and merciful Father, Who wants His children to walk and enjoy the freedom that the blood of Jesus was shed for. He doesn’t want us to be captured by fear nor the bitterness of woundings and unforgiveness. He doesn’t want us to be held captive by the shame and the painful memories of our past.
Our Father God wants His children to be free to love Him with all our soul and strength, and love our neighbors as we learn to love ourselves. He desires for us to live an abundant life in the glory and praise of His presence, learning to forgive others their trespasses as He has forgiven us our trespasses. To take responsibility to do this in loving obedience is crucial to the successful outcome of our journey with Jesus. Amen.
My prayer is that the following will help you to identify the possibility of ’shame’ and the ‘fear of rejection’ in your life. I pray that healing, wholeness and freedom becomes a reality in your life and relationships through revelation truth and in the name of Jesus.
Adam responded to God in the garden and said, “I was afraid (fear) because I was naked (shame), and I hid my-SELF (control).”
Shame---It is like internal bleeding. It is an inner turmoil of the soul that sends out the message, ‘there is something wrong with you.’
Shame---It will cause you to examine and scrutinize everything you have ever done wrong.
Shame---It will cause you to become your own judge and jury. You will build a case against yourself. You will become the ‘voice of the accuser’ and condemn your own self with charges such as:
2-Words spoken in anger
3-A lost opportunity
4-Encouragement and affirmation withheld from loved one due to bitterness
5-Refusal to forgive when prompted by Holy Spirit (and the list goes on).
Shame---It is associated with and accompanied by a loss of respect from others, which leads to a loss of respect for yourself.
Shame---Hinders intimacy with God because you will feel worthless.
Shame---Brings about misery, discouragement and emotional pain.
Shame---Moves into a persons life at an early age. Due to a painful event, it will establish a base of operation, creating what is called, a shame-based personality. This means that your life and relationships will be affected by it from then on until revelation truth and freedom comes.
Making It Personal:
Shame-based people will relate most everything to themselves. It will constantly cause a person to compare themselves to others and always come up short. Shame will distort your thinking and give you the wrong perspective of God and others. A person may think, ‘why can’t I ever get things right? What is wrong with me?’ Then the self-condemnation, ‘you’re stupid, you’re nothing but a failure going somewhere to happen.’ (this is the wrong self-talk)
A shame-based person will constantly rationalize their behavior. They excuse and justify themselves and their actions so they don’t have to confront the truth of their shame. They may even try to do a lot of good works to silence the voice of shame.
Shame is like the proverbial needle stuck in the groove of a record, it is an accusing voice that says, “You should have…” If only I had…”
Blame is a cover up for shame. It is a way to pass shame onto others. ‘If YOU had or had not done this…!’ This reduces your own feelings of shame by belittling and putting down the other person. By criticizing them it sends the message, “You’re less. You’re stupid. You’re inferior. Be ashamed.” Thus, people say such things as, “Shame on you. You should be ashamed of yourself.” Even if passed off as a joke, the person on the receiving end doesn’t receive it as a joke. Its personally damaging.
Extremely sensitive people are defensive. They are sensitive to criticism and the suggestion that they are to blame for what ever the problem happens to be. They are argumentative and they usually insist on being right.
A defensive person will try to exonerate themselves (absolve of guilt). If they can’t, then they will be forced to admit to their own short-comings. Instead of confronting the shame and dealing with it righteously, the person will defend their actions, speech, position and reasoning.
A shame-based person will keep from exposing and making themselves vulnerable to someone else (especially, if the other person has caused prior emotional pain). These defenses will hinder a person from looking at themselves honestly in the light of God’s truth. They will also be prone to try and control the other person in a relationship, or situations so as to keep their own shame under cover.
Holy Spirit’s Work Versus Satan‘s Work:
HOLY SPIRIT works to show your worth and value to God and how He desires your fellowship.
SATAN works to deceive and convince you that you’re so bad, God doesn’t want anything to do with you.
HOLY SPIRIT works to show you there is forgiveness, regardless of how bad the sin is.
SATAN works to deceive and convince you there is no forgiveness, you’ve committed the
HOLY SPIRIT reminds you of God’s word to give you hope and assurance of God’s forgiveness.
SATAN works to deceive and use God’s word out of context to convince you there is no hope for you.
HOLY SPIRIT works to build faith, hope and love in your heart, so as to increase your confidence and assurance of salvation.
SATAN works to deceive and create doubt (no one as bad as you could really be saved), resentment and anger at God, His word and His people.
HOLY SPIRIT works to show you that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).
SATAN is a thief and a liar--no truth in him (John 8:32).
The Fear of Rejection:
A shame-based person is also dealing with a spirit of rejection. Examine yourself by the following and see if you can identify areas of rejection you may be experiencing but have not been ware of.
A person dealing with a spirit of rejection will automatically expect to be rejected by others. A harmless remark, one meant to help, is often received as negative criticism. You may think the other person is trying to hurt you.
A normal exchange of conversation can easily be interpreted as a personal attack, when in fact, the other person may be trying to understand you. At this point, your emotions can cloud your perception.
A person experiencing rejection will often be opinionated and express a prideful view and come across as a ‘know it all.’
A person with a spirit of rejection believes they must always be right to validate themselves. Therefore, they will be argumentative and ‘fight to be right.’
Any person can experience what is called, mood swings. That is, you can quickly move from anger to joy and happiness, from quietness and withdrawal to being very vocal and the center of attention.
Already wounded, a person can become overly sensitive. They are easily hurt and protective, therefore, they will tend to withdraw and isolate themselves. A person with a spirit of rejection may have a tendency to over value someone’s praise of them. On the other hand, simple criticism can be emotionally devastating.
All of God’s children have, at some time or other, had emotionally painful experiences in their lives. So much so that you have wanted to get in a corner somewhere and pull the proverbial covers over your head so you won’t experience being hurt anymore. We talked about good news earlier, therefore, today is a new day for all of God’s children. That is good news and means, you don’t have to stay stuck in the past through painful memories. There is truth, there is faith, there is hope and there is the love of God where He will wrap you up in its protective covering where that wicked one touches you not
(I John 5:18).
From this vantage point, we gain a new perspective as we begin to see things through the eyes of Father God. We can now see and receive His truth that breaks the bonds of shame and rejection off our lives. It is one truth at a time---one step at a time--- equals another degree of freedom in the Holy Ghost. Hallelujah! The good news is, Jesus has truly come to set the captives free. Amen!