Thursday, November 15, 2018

Relief is not Redemption

Often I’ve sought relief, reprieve if you will, from uncomfortable circumstances. Having dealt with difficult circumstances for long periods of time, I just wanted out. Make the pain, fighting, discomfort, etc. stop. Just a moment seemed like a welcomed escape.

It always worked, temporarily.

Relief, it was my drug of choice in my 20s, do anything necessary to get a respite. It felt good momentarily, but whatever I was escaping was always there when I returned from my temporary sabbatical.

As a maturing adult, I’m learning that emotions, situations and difficult circumstances are really gifts. A present, to be present. To address issues that need to be dealt with, strengthen my endurance and grow through difficult circumstances. Dare I say even make me more like Christ.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16

As a forty-something I can honestly report, I don’t often seek relief in these short-lived ways. I still deal with the temptation of wanting out, wanting instant gratification and freedom from feeling or experiencing pain of any kind.

But relief is not freedom, it’s a counterfeit.

Perpetually seeking relief kept me from growing, maturing and experiencing any real or lasting joy. It stunted my growth.

Those who sow with tears    will reap with songs of joy.Those who go out weeping,    carrying seed to sow,will return with songs of joy,    carrying sheaves with them. Psalms 126:5-6

I was anti-pain, so relief was my go to, but I’ve learned you must experience all emotion for lasting health, change and joy. Seeking relief kept me imprisoned.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brene Brown

Relief kept me from having to be vulnerable with others or myself and produced no fruit, no love. Fear kept me running from solutions, but I found the courage to deal with fear head-on.

We can't let temporary solutions keep us from lasting joy. Redemption is ours, but we must be present to receive the prize. Only in running toward the solution, no matter how scary, can we discover truth.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Redemption is at the heart of everything I do, so I can no longer seek relief. If He is to be glorified in my life I need to allow Him to do His perfect work in me and seeking relief allows no room for that.

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