What is paralyzing your faith? What issue are you hiding from the rest of the world? What is the prison you’re hiding in so you don’t have to face others or yourself? The truth is, we all have conditions that cripple us. Some are beyond our control (like cancer), while others are a direct result of our sins and poor choices.
Perhaps you have been dragging around a heavy weight of insecurity for years. Maybe that insecurity is so deeply embedded that you are unsure who you’d be without it. Oh, sure, you hide the weight by always seeking to be the center of attention, but truth be told, when it’s just you and God, your thoughts about yourself are anything but pretty. Maybe you are being held captive by bitterness and resentment because of a wound that cut you so deeply you feel powerless against it.
Maybe you’re holding on to a regret you would give anything to take back, or maybe there’s a place of rage inside you that, if not kept in check, will cause you to make a fool out of yourself without a moment’s notice. Perhaps you’re imprisoned by some deep guilt or shame, an unhealthy desire, or a sense of mourning over the loss of a person or a relationship.
Maybe your heart is so weighed down by lust and sexual immorality (either in your thoughts or in your actions) that you have grown cold to the movement of God, and it is taking everything in you just to get out of bed and go to church. Perhaps you are so paralyzed by religion, tradition, and complacency that you are no longer moved by the words the preacher speaks on Sunday morning but simply stare off into the distance and hope no one around you sees through your religious masquerade.
We all have issues that threaten to disable us and paralyze our faith.
Most often those issues come from deep wounds in our past. Just like a physical wound, you know the pain is still bothersome and causing damage if when you touch the wound you yell, “Ouch!” It doesn’t do any good to minimize pain. Even a tiny paper cut on the tip of the finger can cause pain when there’s pressure against it. And so it is with the wounding’s of our hearts—even those we think are so tiny maybe no one will notice them.
If you can think about a person, place, hurt, addiction, or abuse that still stings, then you are dealing with an open wound. And it just may be paralyzing your faith right where it is. Our past pains are never fully forgotten, but God does desire us to have healthy scar tissue—to get to a place where we can talk about the wound and touch it without feeling the searing pain associated with it. God wants the wounds of our past to heal so we can live faithfully in our present.
For me to move forward in faith, I had to first be willing to rip off all those old bandages I had placed around my heart and look deeply into the burning, gaping wound of my heart.
When I finally did, I realized that my wound wasn’t cancer; it was fear. I was scared of everything—scared of what people thought of me, terrified to let other people down, scared to disappoint God in such a way that he would never even want to look at me again, scared that God wouldn’t prove faithful in his promises.
And in that fear, I was paralyzed where I stood.
I could pray all day long, I could talk a good talk, I could do all the right things, I could go to church every time the doors opened, but until I allowed God himself to reach down into my open wound of fear and press his healing grace into it, I would never be able to truly move on with my life—not spiritually, emotionally, or physically.
If you find yourself paralyzed by regrets or painful circumstances from your past, I want you to understand one thing: while Satan specializes in tricking you into believing that you are disqualified from God’s blessing, your Creator specializes in forgiving your sin and healing your places of pain. God delights in forgiving, cleansing, and healing the deepest of wounds and realigning them with his great purposes again.
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! —Psalm 32: 1
God takes sinners like you and me and makes us right.
He takes dirt and turns it into holiness. He makes crooked things straight. We love God, not because we are good, but because he is good and he delights in mercy. No record is so stained, no case so hopeless that he cannot reach down and bring faith to that person. God wants to free us from anything that takes his rightful place in our lives.
One day when I was sitting on my porch, I felt God speak a word of healing into my heart that snapped me out of my faith paralysis. He said,
“Kasey, you cannot live in fear of people and circumstances and live in holy fear of me at the same time. It just doesn’t work that way. You must choose—one or the other. Will you go forward trusting me, or will you stay paralyzed where you are? Will you believe that the blood of my Son is enough for you?”