Is there anything in your life that causes you to slump? Maybe not physically…but emotionally?
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 would say, “I’m going to buy you a back brace from Sears.” I don’t even know if Sears made back braces then, but it sounded like a pretty good threat to me.
Then I had a son who seemingly grew to six feet 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’ heights on the dining room door frame. My 77-year-old father-in-law, who was about five-foot ten, stood with his back against the doorframe. Then he took a deep breath and extended his curved back to its fullest upright position. We marked him at six-foot three.
I watched Steven’s eyes grow wide as Papa grew tall. He saw firsthand the difference it made to stand up straight. From that day on, my son stood straight and tall. I have never seen him slump once since then.
There was a woman in the Bible who slumped…not because she wouldn’t stand up straight, but because she couldn’t. Her story is recorded in Luke 13:10-17. “On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God” (NIV).
While we might not be able to relate to being bent over physically, most of us can relate to being bent over emotionally. We see feet…people passing by going about their busy lives. We see dirt…the mistakes we’ve made through the years. We see trash…the pain inflicted on us by others and many times by our own poor decisions.
Bent and bowed. The weight of the world on our shoulders. Little by little. Day by day. Bent and bowed because of our color, gender, age, marital state, family history, or financial lack.
Crippled by shame, fear, pain, disappointment, depression, poverty, insecurity, inferiority, inadequacy, broken dreams.
I was crippled for many years. I listened to words from my past telling me I was “ugly,” “not good enough,” and “worthless.” Inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy were my three closest companions. I didn’t like these three lurking shadows, but they followed me everywhere I went. They stalked me, yelling taunts and accusations that no one heard but me. The more I listened to them, the more emotionally bound I became.
Then one day Jesus called me out of hiding just as surely as He called the crippled woman from the women’s section in the back synagogue in Luke 13. He placed His nail-scarred hand under my chin and lifted my eyes. It was as if He said to me, “Sharon, you are free from your infirmity of feeling less than. Because of the finished work I did for you on the cross, and My spirit in you, you are more than enough to do what I’ve called you to do and be who I’ve called you to be.”
That’s what He’s saying to you today. No more slumping in self-doubt or hunching in halfhearted conviction, but instead standing up to the full stature of a confident woman who knows she is equipped by God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and enveloped in Jesus Christ. A daughter of Abraham by grafting. A child of God by choosing.
Is there something in your life that is crippling your spirit? Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Resentment? Guilt? Sorrow? Worry? Regret? Comparison? If so, cut it loose, cast it off, throw it away. Whatever has been holding you back from lifting your head…Jesus has come to set you free! Lift up your head, dear sister. He has called you by name. You are His.
Dear Jesus, thank You for setting me free! Today, I choose to walk in that freedom and to never be held captive by emotional chains again! In Your Name, Amen.
What is Jesus calling you to be free of today?
Read the entire story of the woman with the bent back in Luke 13:10-17. What impresses you most about Jesus’ interactions and reactions?
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