Stand Up Straight, Girlfriend!
Stand Up Straight, Girlfriend!
"Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God" (Luke 13:13 NIV).
Friend to Friend
When my brother was a teenager, my mother used to threaten him when he hunched over at the dinner table. "If you don't sit up," she'd say, "I'm going to buy you a back brace from Sears." Now I don't even know if Sears made back braces back then, but it sounded like a pretty good threat to me.
Then I had a son who grew to six feet seemingly overnight. He didn't know what to do with all that height, so he slumped. I tried my best not to say, "If you don't sit up, I'm going to buy you a back brace from Sears."
Then one night, my father-in-law took care of it for me. We were measuring and marking various family members' height on the dining room doorframe. (Yes, you read that correctly-the dining room. Some battles are just not worth fighting). My seventy-seven-year-old father-in-law, who stood at about 5'10", stood with the back of his head against the doorframe. Then he took a deep breath and extended his curved back to its fullest upright position. We marked him at 6'3".
I watched Steven's eyes grow wider as Papa grew taller. He saw firsthand the difference it made to stand up straight. Papa was huge, but his bent over frame hid his once strong healthy stature. Steven caught a glimpse of the strappingly strong frame that we once knew. From that day on, Steve stood straight and tall. Never once have I seen him slump since.
That's what I'm hoping for you. That's why I write devotions and books like I'm Not Good Enough...and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves and What God Really Thinks about a Women. My hope is that you will see women who have stood to their full stature and want to do the same. No more slumping in self-doubt or hunching in half-hearted conviction, but rather standing up to the full stature of a confident woman who knows that she is equipped by God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and enveloped in Jesus Christ.
There are many emotions that cause us to slump spiritually and become crippled emotionally. Worry wears us down. Regret ruins our confidence. Hatred hardens our hearts. Unforgiveness uglies our souls. Bitterness binds our hearts. Insecurity incapacitates our capabilities.
I was crippled for many years. Words from my past told me I was "ugly," "not good enough," and "worthless." Inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy were my three closes companions. I didn't like these three lurking shadows, but they followed me everywhere I went. Stalkers, that's what they were. They stalked me, yelling taunts and accusations that no one heard but me.
The more I listened to them, the more emotionally crippled I became. Then one day, Jesus called me up front. I didn't want to go, mind you. I had grown comfortable hiding in the back where I felt I belonged. I could hear just fine from my seat along the wall. The lighting wasn't as good, but it was enough to get by.
But then Jesus saw me and called me forward. It wasn't that He hadn't seen me all along. After all, He is El Roi, the God who sees. There was never a day when I had not been in His sight. But now the time had come for Him to set me straight in every way. So He called me up front where others could see what He was about to do. Jesus placed his nail-scared hand under my chin and lifted my eyes to meet his. "Sharon, you are free from your infirmity of self-doubt."
It wasn't long after that, words began to flow. From pen to paper, God filled me with words that overflowed to encourage and equip other sisters who needed to experience the same liberating freedom in Christ.
You know what? I'm sure some on-lookers gasped at my courage and glared at my audacity as I stepped out of the shadows onto center stage. "Who does she think she is?" they might have thought.
And I can answer that question. I am a crippled woman who Jesus set free. He calls me a child of God, light of the world, salt of the earth, bride of Christ, redeemed, holy, chosen, ambassador, saint, bride...and that's just for starters. And friend, if you know Jesus Christ as Savior, then that's exactly what He calls you too!
So here I am today and you are reading one of my devotions. A previously emotional cripple set straight and shored up by God.
Is there something in your life that is crippling your spirit? Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Guilt? Resentment? Sorrow? Worry? Regret? Comparison? If so, cut it loose, cast it off, and throw it away. God calls us sheep; and sheep are not pack animals. We are not meant to carry such burdens with these scrawny legs of ours. If we try, we will only bend under the pressure we were never meant to bear.
Oh friend, He is calling you right now. Whatever has been holding you back from being all God has called you to be and do all God has fashioned you to do...Jesus has come to set you free! Stand up straight! Do you feel the press of His hand on the crook of your back? Do you feel his index finger under the point of your chin?
There's no doubt in my mind that you are reading this devotion because Jesus is calling you from the shadows to join him center stage. He sees you, and now is the time. You've been sitting in the back, in your crippled state far too long. It is time. "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity."
Set me free from my prison that I might praise your name. Psalm 142:7
Now it's Your Turn
I want to go back and ask you the questions I asked in the devotion.
Is there something in your life that is crippling your spirit? Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Guilt? Resentment? Sorrow? Worry? Regret? Comparison? If so, cut it loose, cast it off, and throw it away.
Oh friend, He is calling you right now. Whatever has been holding you back from being all God has called you to be and doing all that God has fashioned you to do...Jesus has come to set you free! Stand up straight! Do you feel the press of His hand on the crook of your back? Do you feel his index finger under the point of your chin?
Let's chat. Write and tell me how God has set you free! www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes
More from the Girlfriends
Today's devotion was taken from Sharon's latest book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance through the Women Jesus Encountered. We tend to read the gospels with our twenty-first century eyes. But when we understand how oppressive the culture Jesus stepped into was toward women, we begin to understand just how radical Jesus' ministry, messages, and miracles were at setting women free. He risked His reputation to save theirs...and yours. To order this life-changing book, visit www.sharonjaynes.com. You'll fall in love with Jesus all over again.
By SIMPLY DIVINE LOVE on Wednesday, November 10, 2010