Slavery From Blessings

Tears spilled down my cheeks as I choked out, “I’m just so tired.” My writer friends encircling the table didn’t exactly know how to respond at my sudden outburst. I’m sure from all appearances I seemed as though I not only held all the proverbial plates at once but spun them with the skill of a circus performer.

But the truth became evident as my eyes grew red. I was crumpling underneath the weight of it all. What is “it,” you ask? Well, that’s an interesting story.

Before I even bought my first training bra, I had a desire to serve in ministry. Back then, the only options seemed to be missionary or pastor’s wife. Fast forward ten years and I completed my first women’s Bible study. That was the moment it hit me — this is what I’m made to do!

But even at the age of twenty, opportunity didn’t come knocking. I pushed back my desire, finished my college degree, and spent eleven years in the workforce. Like geysers beneath the surface of the earth, though, my desire continued to bubble, waiting for the right time.

Finally, years later, I found myself writing my third Bible study — Journey to Freedom. I knew without a doubt what a blessing this was — to be able to finally give myself fully to the calling I felt God awaken in my heart from a young age.

So why did this blessing feel like a burden? I’m not one to shy away from hard work, so it wasn’t exhaustion alone. Something else was amiss.

My blessing had become my bondage. Pouring myself into this passion of mine with no healthy boundaries in place catapulted me into a place of slavery.

Slavery to production, to-do lists, and perfectionism. In the tearful fog of it all, I found myself struggling to see my present state as a “blessing” at all.

The Israelites found themselves in a similar predicament. God had promised them that they would be increase in Egypt, and he fulfilled that promise in a big way — they became “fruitful” to the tune of 8 children per family!

But soon this very blessing — the blessing of children — stirred Pharaoh’s heart to fear. Because of Israel’s growth as a people, he began to oppress them harshly, even demanding the murder of infant boys.

Just like the Israelites’ slavery resulted from God’s blessings — promises fulfilled — we can become enslaved as a result of the very blessings of God.

In my case, I had let my blessing take over my heart and life for a season, shackling and crippling me. With a pure heart and healthy boundaries, this blessing could flourish. But without those things, it morphed into stealing my joy, my strength, and my ability to use the blessing for God’s glory for a season.

What blessings in your life have the potential to enslave you? Or perhaps you’re like me and find yourself already in bondage?

List possible areas of bondage that could result from blessing. I’ve included a few to get you started.

 

Blessing                      Bondage

___________  ____________________

(Well-paying job) (Materialism)

(children) (Finding identity in motherhood)

Jill McSheehy