“You unravel me, with Your melody, Your love has called my name…”
Though not the exact lyrics to this beautiful, freedom declarative song, I sang the words of my heart’s cry.
“I’m no longer a slave to f–ear! I a–m a ch–ild of God!”
Over and over this morning I (correctly) repeated this chorus out loud.
Fear. Fear of many things throughout my life. More recently fear that I will never get better, fear that I will never live in the healthy, mobile, whole body I once possessed, fear that the cause of my exasperating physical agony would remain unknown; fear that healing would never come, at least not in this shell of a body or life.
Fear that has shown up through the years in the forms of anxiety, panic attacks, and irrational thoughts. Fear that transformed a girl who had no fear to think twice before speaking, acting, or stepping out in faith. Fear that took away the freedom I had to jump off stories high cliffs into the crisp, refreshing waters of Castaic lake. Fear that made me pause before tasting the wild edibles that my Turkish field guide offered as we trekked through the remote, rugged, and alluring landscape of the Taurus mountains. Fear that stole my laughter and turned it into mental lists of cautions and caged desires.
Fear that began to take root when a little girl’s innocence was stolen. Fear that robbed that same little girl’s oblivion to the outside world as she unashamedly ran, and played, and let her lungs bellow with the vocal roars of enthusiasm and zest for life. Oblivion to the gaze of others, of what they might think of her as she audaciously dashed through sprinklers in full Native American attire, who challenged boys twice her age to race her to the end of the street or hold out longer hanging on monkey bars. Who had spunk, and fire, and fervor for life before she even knew the gravity of just how precious it truly was. Who instinctively lived for each moment that invited her to savor living, for each lick of the drumstick, each swingset launch into the air, each jump from level to level of her hilly backyard, each opportunity she could take to dance upon tables or spring from bed to bed. Fear that took naivety and joy and put in place calculation and confining self-awareness to the point of imprisonment. Fear that crept in when that very little girl was coaxed into a closet and then robbed of her purity. Fear that almost keeps me from sharing what I’ve kept covered in shame for so long.
This fear that has always bound me to my pole of perceived safety and has stolen my ability to freely be that spunky, brazen, Pocahontas pretending, princess of the most High God, who always spoke her mind, the truth, and love, and didn’t give a second thought to what the world might think.
For this reason, because of this fear, for years I have been restrained from being myself; muted, subdued, confined. Kept from singing when I wanted to, from dancing when I felt my soul respond and leap to the music surrounding me, from living true to my deep and longing desires of freedom. But I’ve been set free from that fear; my Jesus has broken those chains over the course of these last several years as I’ve given Him more and more of myself, surrendering my brokenness, shame, and sorrow. And most recently in my newfound freedom I have longed to dance, though I’ve never innately had that rhythm, and I’ve prayed and pleaded for the day my body could allow what my spirit now has been let free to perform.
As I went up for more prayer for an affliction that just won’t seem to relent, I was reinvigorated to contend even more fervently. Still no miraculous, on the spot release of healing, but a word from the one whose hand lay upon my head which spoke of a vision of dancing.
I’ve seen the beautiful women over the course of this year dancing before the Lord in worship, offering up their praise in active form as the Scriptures so beautifully depict, and I felt the Lord whisper in my ear, “You’re a dancer too, and you will dance before me.” Something that all my life I’ve wanted to be as I watched a mother who so effortlessly did so and wondered why I couldn’t have inherited that too. It didn’t make sense, but something deep within my being resonated emphatically in agreement, “Yes, YES!! I will dance before you my Lord, my King!”
Today, my morning song was yet again our church’s last emphatic declaration before the Lord. We shouted and praised, and my spirit soared.
I came home, divulging in some of my favorite comestible gifts of creation: fresh figs and honey, buttery walnuts and bitter chocolate, all swirled into homemade coconut ice cream, and switched on this same song from my morning worship as I partook. Then I did something I hadn’t done in years. I opened the back door and took my full volume music outside, set the phone on the table, flung off my shoes, and began to carefully move my hindered body to the adorative gesture to the Lord, unhindered by the neighbors voices and activity around me. On the same feet that just a few months earlier had been crippled by pain, I began to alight onto my toes. In the same body that has been moving in cautious robotic motion, I began to twist and twirl in the sunlight. And under the beautiful, leaf full trees I began to dance and sing, and I danced almost uninhibited by the pain and the restriction of body that has had up until this brief, unfettered moment, kept me from living fully alive.
Today I danced despite my pain, despite this osteoporotic spine, despite fear, despite the limiting confinement of my condition. I danced because the Lord put this song into my heart and told me to declare it to Him and to declare it to you too, because doing so gives Him great glory. And I write to tell you that you can dance too. That you can dance in the midst of your joy, of your pain, of your sadness, of your fear, of anything that may be keeping you from letting your own childlike fancy unleash.
We were never intended to be slaves. At the crux of everything that “is” in this life, the truth is that we all have that gift of adoption available to us. His intention was never that we would be orphans, but instead, adoptive children and heirs.
I am not a prisoner any longer. He has delivered me. He has rescued me. I am chosen. And I am His child.
So again my friends, when against all odds and realities, I was able to whimsically dance all over my backyard today, I knew in that instant I needed to make this declaration to the world and to you:
I’m no longer a slave to fear,
I am a child of God.
I’M NO LONGER A SLAVE TO FEAR,
I AM A CHILD OF GOD.
He split the sea so I could walk right through it. My fears are drowned in His perfect love. And now before you I can stand and sing, I am a child of God.
Uninhibited, unrestrained, unafraid. Pure in heart, pure in mind, pure in deed. Not shy, or apprehensive, or ashamed, but sure in the confidence of His love. Endless, unrestricted, unbiased, unearned, overwhelming, overcoming, unmatchable, unstoppable, unquenchable love.
He split the sea of my fears so I could walk through to His promise of freedom. He gave me the faith to fight, and still gives me the strength I need to pursue this enemy in battle. To stand upon the truth of the word He has spoken and to wait in expectation of the day it will fully be manifest.
He restored me to life even amidst whatever boundaries my body has placed. I am found in Him and I am free, and I sing and dance and praise amidst fire and flood and know that He has all power to deliver from whatever may keep us bound.
For it was for freedom, complete freedom, that Christ has set us free, so let us walk, or crawl, or however else we declare to be free, free indeed.
All glory be unto you, my Deliverer, my Defender, my hope, my sweet, sweet Savior.
Listen to this song and let the lyrics become your declaration as well. ❤