I endured abuse in my teen years. For the next 5 decades of my life it left my mind in a state of always feeling less than; I found I could not rise above the feeling that I had no value. Like I was, many are captives in captivity.
I learned to work around my low self esteem, making it a part of how I processed counsel or constructive criticism, even Scriptures and words of love. It was like I was too afraid to actually SEE my own worth or to love myself or to let others help me. When I tried, I would retreat back into my little familiar refuge of self loathing. WHY? WHY would I choose to constantly allow negative, abusive memories to rule my mind set? It.Felt.Familiar. I was like the proverbial moth – drawn to the deadly bug zapper – fatally attracted to what could ultimately destroy me. This is crazy, right? And true.
SECURITY IN BONDAGE
I won’t lie – I have not totally mastered this whole concept; I am ever a work in progress trying to leave the past behind, and decipher between what is truth and what is lies. I am really trying to understand why I used to think in that certain self-loathing way so I don’t do it for the rest of my life. AND so I don’t pass it down through the generations below me.
Abuse, war, jail, homelessness, abandonment, and illness are just some of the many oppressive things people have faced. They can break you down, change you, and become places in your life where you get stuck. They legitimately could have been injustices, or consequences, or 100% ludicrousness. And if it happened long enough and affected you deep enough, it could be a place you are comfortable remaining. It really isn’t because you like it, enjoy it, or wouldn’t want to have something better or different. It has just become all you have known. It can feel safe without actually being safe at all. It is that ‘security in bondage’ sad phenomenon.
We are each a sum total of our experiences in this life. We can even grow used to difficult/hard/painful/shameful etc and when released from it, return to it – why? Because we are used to it. It might be all we have ever known. We might have nothing else to compare it with. It is familiar to us; we recognize it.
We might have resigned ourselves to our own captivity. Captivity is “the state or period of being held, imprisoned, enslaved, or confined.” We can be very secure in our own bondage. I was taught this truth of “security in bondage”. I mean, remember the Israelites? How they had been treated so poorly in Egypt? God delivered them and when the journey out got rough, they wanted to RETURN to Egypt. What? Egypt – where they were forced laborers and had to make bricks from straw. WHY would they wish to return? Well, in their words – “We remember the fish we ate freely in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic.” (Numbers 11:5)
In essence, they were now just hungry on their hard journey out of captivity. Hungry. So they remembered the ONE part of their bondage in Egypt that had brought them security/pleasure – possibly joy – FOOD. Wow. We could laugh, but don’t we do that? I definitely have! We try to find an excuse to ‘go back’ instead of forging forward through the hard stuff, to get to the good stuff.
Do not let those chains define you. Do not let that captivity call you back into its clutches. NEVER retreat, NEVER turn back, NEVER be tempted to return to what almost destroyed you. God offers us freedom, NEW beginnings, a NEW song to sing, a NEW heart. Sometimes that freedom is scarier than the captivity itself.
Security in bondage? No thanks. I choose freedom over oppression. Psalm 119:41 – “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts.”
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