I spent part of last weekend waiting for freedom from jail. Sad to say, I’m more familiar with the get-out-of-jail process then I’d like to be. What about you? Maybe you’ve never been arrested, but you’ve definitely been detained in one way or the other. We all have.
It’s easy to get stuck. A problem with your bank card or passport, a grocery line or traffic stop, or maybe you’ve found yourself taken hostage by a customer who asks too many questions or a clerk who has too many answers. Being held up doesn’t exactly promote feelings of joy. Not usually, but my latest trip to the pokey still has me dancing a jig.
Never thought I’d be happy to go to jail. Happy? The sound of the steel door’s ominous welcome always dismissed any form of cheer. But not this trip. “They can’t keep me here.” That’s all I could think.
Ecstatic. That’s a better description. Even now, the recollection brings a rush no clever word can illustrate. There’s been nothing like it. Not in my whole life. Enlightening experience. A bitter reminder of entrapment and a beautiful revelation of freedom—all in the same glance.
All Jails Look Alike
Incarceration. The end of the line. As an addict, it’s like being held for ransom by a second kidnapper. No matter where you are, you’re not really free. Crazy but true. In one instant you’re scared of what you could do, and in the next your horrified by what you can’t.
It’s a been-there-done-that, kinda thing. I know what inmates wear, what they eat, how they talk, and how they think. Nothing’s changed. Nothing but me. I discovered a new fact. Remaining free brings purpose. It builds a relevant platform you can use to share your heart. A hopeful light at the end of someone else’s tunnel. Sweet!
Know Your Role
I suppose I’ll never see things like the average person does, but some things are true no matter who you are or where you’ve been. The need for different always demands effort, but in and of ourselves we’re incapable of lasting change. This is always true.
Most of us care way too much about things that matter way too little. We deplete our power resource by focusing on what we can’t accomplish. God has given the appropriate amount of get-up-and-go to each of us. (Romans 12:3 VOICE) Faith is not given so we can get up and go our own way, but so we have the strength to do it His way.
And I’m doing it. That’s why when they handed me the mic, I had no fear or reservation. I knew what to say to make them laugh. I knew what to say to make them cry. Not because I’m a fabulous performer, because I’m living proof. If broke-down, busted, can’t be trusted Texas made it out—so can you.
It’s All Relevant
Change. No matter how you view it, it’s an essential part of healthy living. Maybe you’ve heard it said, “God uses everything.” Well this word-picture gained sharp clarity as I traveled with Jack Murphy, into the jails of Orlando, as an advocate of grace.
The Inmate Encounter—Hit Squad (as I call them)—are people who have made the change. Or maybe I should say exchange. They’ve let go of regret and shame and picked up forgiveness and mercy. Swapped humiliation for healing, and traded their past for His future.
Proud to announce they’ve invited me to be a sharpshooter on their leadership team. What?
The Second Act
Are you feeling the resistance of change? Emotions rarely point us in the right direction, yet our nature rebels when we feel suppressed. I think it’s safe to say, no one wants to be forced to do anything. Although God has the power to enforce whatever He wants, He doesn’t get-down like that. Submission. An unexpected and ingenious escape plan.
No matter where you are in the struggle, true freedom is available. It can happen in a moment and last a lifetime. If you let it. You see, the final production isn’t dependent on us. Yeah, we play the lead role in our life story but the world renowned Director is pure perfection. Literally. Recognizing this removes hesitation and replaces insecurity. It develops the beauty of our artistry and frees us up to do our thing.
This show is turning out to be quite the blockbuster. It is. Hard to believe God wrote this spectacular part specifically with me in mind. Amazed. That’s what I am. And I pray daily that I’ll remain forever starstruck by the character of Jesus Christ.
No one knows you better than your Creator, and He has cast you in a part that suits you alone. The time has come to pick up your script, and learn your role in the greatest story ever experienced. Yours.
Lights. Camera. Action.