I'm a chronic hider. Or perhaps runner is a better description.
Thoughts bubble deep inside me, difficult to hear and even harder to admit. So I run; I hide.
I hide from myself.
I never knew it was possible to hide from your own thoughts, your own conscience. But I find myself doing it nearly every day for stretches of days and weeks and sometimes months longer than I want to admit.
In truth, I’m not hiding from myself; I'm hiding from God.
I'm hiding from that still, small voice calling me into the hard places deep inside my own self. The ugly places. The tainted places. The places that reveal who I most truly am apart from Him.
And still, I search His Word daily, eager to hear His voice, or so I think. I ask for Him to speak. I ask for Him to reveal Himself to me. And then I ignore the deep down whisper of conviction, His voice whispering into the places of shame and discouragement and rebellion and sin.
My emotions go up and down from day to day or perhaps even hour to hour. Life beats on and He graciously teaches and grows me, yet all the while there is the quiet unrest deep down. That nagging sense that I need to change, that I need to slow down and listen.
So I speed up. I fill up my mind with noise. Even good noise. Podcasts, books, movies, music, and conversation, anything to block out the quiet. Even Bible reading and worship music and deep conversations, as long as I don’t go so deep that I hit the nagging. Because when I am quiet, when my mind is still, the depths of my mind come welling up and with them the whispers of His call.
His call to surrender. His call to face my struggles. His call to reckon with my own sinfulness. His call to see whatever it is He is bringing to light in me that He desires to change. That He desires to free me from.
And if it is "for freedom Christ has set us free”, then why do I hold so tightly to the chains of my sin?
Why do I "submit again to a yoke of slavery”?
Why do I run and hide and distract and drown out His voice when He whispers my name with freedom in His intention?
Why do I refuse to let Him reveal my sin so that He can break the chains with which it binds me?
Why do I restrain Him from revealing the depths of my sinners heart?
And the apostle Paul’s words ring clear and true in my heart…
"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Romans 7:24-25
But when I do allow stillness to steal over my mind, when I do allow my wandering mind to follow that nagging deep within, when I do listen to that whisper that uncovers my sin, I am freed.
Because Paul immediately follows his declaration of struggle and reliance on Jesus with this proclamation of freedom.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
Because my deepest, most shameful struggles are forgiven. The strongholds of my heart were already conquered by him. The sins I refuse to see in myself were paid for on the cross.
The chains of sin that I hold tightly simply because I don’t want to admit them are already known and wiped clean.
Every bond, every stronghold of sin in my heart and mind was already broken by the blood of Christ.
He has given me forgiveness and freedom and has given it abundantly, if only I will humble myself to live in the freedom He has given.
So I’m practicing. I’m practicing the intentional slowing down, the intentional stilling of my own mind. I’m leaning into the painful places. I’m learning to take note of that nagging deep down, of His still whisper in the places I least want to hear it. And I’m noting the things I do to drown it.
And I’m taking it all to His feet where it belongs. His feet bearing the scars of payment for these places.
I am free and want to live like it.