Untied

I was recently re-reading my retreat booklet from my first year of training with FOCUS and re-savoring the graces received at that retreat. Jesus had blessed me by freeing me from a very painful relationship, and as I re-read my journal from that specific prayer time, tears pricked my eyes. It was a beautiful image, and as I sat with it, I realized that it might be helpful for others who desire freedom from something or someone. Maybe it’s not a relationship, but maybe it’s an unhealthy habit, a possession, or a lie. Maybe it is a person that has been held on to for too long. Whatever it may be, the freedom that Jesus offers is truly the only way to let go and begin to heal.

A few days ago, I was talking to a close friend about this, and she asked to read it. After reading it, she encouraged me to share it, so here I am… sharing a prayer experience that changed everything and set me free.

[Context: this began with a guided meditation while on retreat. The parts of this that are from the retreat will be put in brackets. In the meditation, I am walking on a road, arms laden with heavy burdens. I have realized that the burdens are memories of this person in a giant box that I’m carrying. On the road, I have met Jesus, and He has invited me to tell Him about the burdens that I have.]

“Jesus, I can’t drag this around anymore. It hurts too much.”

I glance down at my feet and notice long ropes that drag out behind me and slow me down, but I can’t even see what they’re connected to. However, I know that they’re connected to this person. I think about this person and what they thought of me. I am filled with a fear of who I am without this person.

“I can untie that,” Jesus says.

I resist because I just can’t give it up yet.

[He invites you to lay down your burden and take up this one: “Come to me, you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).]

Jesus slowly, gently bends down to untie the ropes.

I ask him to wait, like when I was little and I didn’t want my sliver pulled out or a band-aid ripped off.

But He’s gentle, so gentle.

His voice soothes me as I start to freak out.

“Can I give you the box first?” I ask.

“Let me untie you first. Can I untie you first?”

It’s a question. He’s not going to force me.

“Jesus, I want to let you, but I’m so scared of what I’m giving up, that I’m giving up the best I’ll get.”

“Do you realize what you’re saying?”

“I’m scared to be free.”

“Don’t you trust me? Do you think I’m going to punish you for giving this to me?”

“I trust in you…”

He looks at me, lovingly, gently, with a question in His eyes, but doesn’t say anything.

“Why can’t you take the box first? Why do you have to untie first?”

He looks at me, and in that look I know that the wounds in the box cannot be properly healed unless I first am untied.

“Untie me.”

He bends down and unties the knot on my left ankle, a knot that seemed impossible for me to untie.

He kisses the spots where the rope was, where my skin is calloused and worn and run down.

He then does the same to my right ankle.

I am free.

“What do I do now, Jesus?”

“Run.”

“I can’t. Not with this box.”

I am still in amazement and shock. Nothing feels different yet everything has changed.

“Walk with me.”

“What do you want to do with the box?”

“Let’s keep walking.”

I know Jesus wants to take the box, too. I offer it to Him with the knowledge that we will need to open the box, eventually.

There’s mountains and meadows of flowers and a lake. He takes me to a house with a huge front porch, one with a porch swing.

He sets the box down and gathers me in His arms on the swing.

“Let’s talk about your heart.”

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