March 12, 2018

Caged by Fear

Rejection wounded me as a young girl, and the fear of rejection accompanied me into almost every relationship afterward. This fear held me captive in an invisible cage where I hugged the sides and whimpered at the thought of escaping into the spacious world of friendships. My heart was guarded, the walls were up, and friendships were hard to come by. I am thankful for girlfriends who pursued me during this season of life. Had it not been for their pursuit and commitment, loneliness would have been the victory cry of fear. But just as God sent friends to pursue and love me, He also sent a knight in shining armor to free me from the cage. His name, Jesus. Let me tell you how!

While preparing a message for a women’s conference, I read the story of Mary Magdalene. Before she met Jesus, her life was a mess. She was possessed with seven demons (Luke 8:1-3) and, I imagine, she cycled between the different characteristics and behaviors brought by each demon. In the midst of her torment, she made her way to Jesus where she found healing and freedom. Demons no longer occupied her spirit. Jesus did. Out of gratitude, she committed the remainder of her life to serving Jesus and others.

The Choice: Fear or Freedom

Her choice was freedom. Had she given into fear and crawled back into the cage, her life would have returned to what was familiar, welcoming the demons, dangers, and risks that accompanied her in the cage of captivity. Yet, she continually chose freedom, life, and the unfamiliar. The path of risk, of the unknown, of following Jesus.

A fresh realization arose in me. Fear held me captive to keep me safe from rejection. Jesus not only held open the door of my fear cage; He put chains on the door to keep it from closing me in! Freedom was mine; I just needed to cast the fear away, refuse to crawl back into the cage and allow God to direct my steps into the big spacious world of risk, the unknown, and the walk of faith.

How about you? Does fear hold you back? Jesus waits. Call out to Him. Freedom is yours for the asking.

“He brought me into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”
2 Samuel 22:20

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Mary Ethel Eckard is an author, speaker and teacher called to encourage Christians in their faith journey. She is passionate about sharing Christ with all who will listen. Through her captivating testimony of relying on God's strength and guidance through the heights and depths of life, Mary helps others find freedom from the shame and pain of their past. Mary resides in Frisco, Texas and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

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