Her weight and the fact that she had too much of it constantly ate at Beth. From as far back as my friend could remember she had been picked on at school and overlooked by guys. Her parents constantly told her she was beautiful, said those who bullied her were shallow and she believed them. At least when she was young. As she reached her adulthood, she just couldn’t take it any more. She was done with this rejection she felt, especially when there was something she could do about it.
For months, she worked hard. Nothing passed her lips that wasn’t healthy; her portions were cut in half too. Hitting the gym every day, sometimes even twice a day, the rush she received when she hopped on the scale was addicting. Finally, what she always wanted was becoming her’s. She was getting the body she dreamed of.
But her shape wasn’t the only thing that changed about Beth. Being fit and looking fine possessed her thoughts; determined her actions. The compassionate side, the part of her that accepted everyone just the way they were, began to fade. If she could do the hard work and change her “problem”, others could too.
Finally reaching her goal weight, Beth loved her “new you”. The sad thing, was like Sarai in the Old Testament, having it “all” didn’t erase her insecurity. In fact, to some degree, it increased. Fear she would put the weight back on whispered fear to Beth’s heart. She wasn’t free to enjoy her achievement; now she was a slave to maintaining it. Anything posing a threat or getting in the way of keeping it all together had to be forfeited. She had to guard her routine, stay on top of her diet, keep her dates with the gym. Friendships or pursuing other passions; those things now just got in the way. Eventually, so did Beth’s marriage. Beth became a slave to her insecurity.
Just as having her dream fulfilled didn’t fill up Beth’s heart, it didn’t Sarah’s either. Still allowing insecurity to rule, Sarah also felt she had to defend the realization of her dream. In Genesis 21, Sarah gets pregnant and gives birth to her son, Isaac, the one she spent her whole life hoping for. As Isaac grew into a toddler, Abraham decides to throw a big party to celebrate.
At the great feast, Sarah overhears Ishmael, Abraham’s son by Hager, mocking Isaac. In kicks her insecurity. Sarah blows up at Abraham, “…Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” (Genesis 21:.10)
Sarah’s threatened heart takes it’s fear out on Abraham.
I can be so like Sarah! Can you? Like those warning lights on the dash of my car, when I feel vulnerable in any way, all kinds of feelings sensors go off in my head and heart. The easiest way to stop the sirens is to spill what is brewing on to someone committed to loving me when it’s all over.
We don’t have to live this way! When we feel exposed or threatened, we don’t have to act like Sarah, over reacting and looking ridiculous to those looking on.
Years later, the Bible was still talking about the children of these two ladies, Sarah and Hager.
In Galatians 4, Paul the writer of this book, makes a comparison between Isaac called the son of promise and us. In verse 29 he says, “Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.”
Remember we read about Ishmael mocking Isaac at the party?
Skip to verse 31, “Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.”
What is Paul trying to say? (And don’t you sometimes just wish the writer would speak in plain English!)
Paul is saying, we, those of us who have been “born again” (John 3:3) as Jesus called beginning a relationship with him, when we started this new life, we were born as the promised child.
Ever heard someone call a kid “the golden child”? The favorite one?
Yep, that’s us! We are God’s golden child! We are the child of promise. So why is this a big deal?
Paul goes on in the next verse, which is the first verse of the next chapter, “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)
Do you get it? Before I go further, think for a moment. What do you think Paul is saying when he says, “Stand firm…don’t be burdened by a yoke of slavery”?
I think he’s saying: don’t do it! Jesus gave his everything, his very life, to see you set free. Set free from everything that is holding you back from reaching your fullest potential and one of those things is insecurity. When insecurity has it’s grip on you, calling the shots on how you will act when you feel threatened, vulnerable, rejected, you are a slave to it. It’s like you can’t get free from blowing up or overacting. It comes over you and you can’t stop. You are a slave to it.
That, my friend, is what Jesus came to free us from. The slavery of ourselves. The slavery of insecurity.
If you want to be done with it, ask Jesus to forgive you for when you have given in to the reactions of insecurity. Write out Galatians 5:1 and make it the new mantra of your heart!