by Gennean Woodall
As young women, I believe we often feel the need to look a certain way, act a certain way, and be a certain way. The pressure that society places on our shoulders is insurmountable and ridiculous; highly desired and yet relatively unachievable. I'm not referring to the physical expectations, as prevalent as they are, but more so the behavioral expectations we feel we must live up to.
When I was in high school, I had very successfully formed the image of "having it all together." I had a great group of friends, was involved with extracurriculars, and did well in school, but on the inside I was kicking and screaming. I was reeling from the delayed emotional attachment I made with my parents divorce, which was something that I had never discussed with another person, let alone my closest friends.
And so I turned to my "only solace": self-injury. I began scratching, burning, and cutting myself to deal with the inward pain that I was feeling because I felt I was unable to share with those around me. Things in my life seemed and looked great, and I acted like everything was okay due to the pressure I felt to keep it all together... but so much of my life was out of control.
I was consumed by the thought of needing to appear okay all of the time despite my inner turmoil. I let it control me, and then my addiction began to control me at the same time. I was being held captive both to unrealistic expectations and to a heart-breaking addiction. I was imprisoned and confined, and had absolutely no idea how to get out.
Praise God for His unceasing pursuit of my heart at that point of my life! He truly rescued me from the pit and set my feet on the rock of salvation (Psalm 40:2). Ladies, we were not made to be held captive. We were made to experience the immeasurable love of God, and we have been graciously given perfect freedom through the blood of Christ.
Have any of you ever feel the need to "have it all together"? What about the resulting pressure to "keep it all together"? I strongly believe that the Scriptures never tell us that we need to strive to be perfect, and if we're being honest, we know that we cannot be perfect apart from Christ. We are called, rather, to be free.
Jesus Christ Himself tells His followers that, "He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the captives..." (Luke 4:18, ref. Isaiah 61:1). I challenge you to reflect on the following verses, and allow yourselves live in the freedom that is so freely yours.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
"In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and He answered by setting me free." Psalm 118:5
"But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." Romans 6:17-18
"Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name." Psalm 142:7
"For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that He has died as a ransom to set them free..." Hebrews 9:15
Has anything in your life ever held you captive? In what ways has Christ freed you from that captivity?
Gennean is a twenty-something college senior striving daily to live a life pleasing to the Lord in all that she thinks, says, and does. She loves reading, writing, speaking, and encouraging others through sharing the life and love of her Savior. She regularly blogs at Loved, not Lost about thoughts and revelations on her personal relationship with Jesus Christ.