Many, many people live under the entangling oppression of some kind of addiction. For some, it is quite tangible - a food, a drink, a drug. For others, it is still visible but, not being so physical, it is perhaps harder to withhold – the riveting high of a tougher workout, the heart-wrenching drama of an unhealthy relationship, the excitement of a possible win in gambling or shopping, the exhilarating sting of another tattoo, the power or fame of a high position in some industry, the satisfaction of defeating a new video game, the intrigue and connection of a random sexual encounter, the soul-numbing noise that drowns out unwelcome thoughts, and the list goes on...eternally. As many things as there are in the world to enjoy on a healthy level, human beings can instead become entangled in them to some level of extreme.

But most of us know this already. If I had to guess, I'd bet nearly everyone is addicted to something. Think you're immune? Just give it a minute. What is that thing you can't live without? The thing that gets you really revved? Excites you at the mere thought of it? Enthralls you mentally, physically, or emotionally? Absorbs your days and even your nights?

If nothing comes to mind, you are quite a healthy individual, and maybe you won't relate to this post at all. Sorry about that, but I'm glad you don't have to face the fight so many others do.

I, on the other hand, was trapped. For a long time. Unless you know me well, you probably wouldn't know of my addiction. And to keep this post as broadly readable as I can, I'll save you the detailed explanation.

The point is, I was stuck, and I knew it. And I couldn't get free. Counseling, journaling, vows and resolutions, song writing, poetry writing, buckets of tears, and apologetic prayers...none even came close to setting me free.

Along this heart-wrenching journey, I drew this piece – "Enslaved." She is a prisoner, chained painfully and, having experienced yet another personal failure, she aches deeply for freedom. She reaches for it, grasps at it, but it is always so far out of reach. Perhaps a light filters through a distant window, a subtly torturous reminder that freedom is out there...but only others get to live in it. For her, there seems to be no hope. She is a slave. A captive.

And her own choices led her there.

And this was the most painful part. No one else made me an addict. I had traveled a steady path layered with fine threads that I barely saw. But over time these threads wound around my body, mind, and heart, and I didn't know how to free myself. Guilt suffocated me like a heavy blanket, and shame hid me away from those who might otherwise help guide me.

But then something happened. It wasn't instant, but I was met by a Savior. One night in the darkness of my room, I cried out to God, and, to my true surprise, I heard Him answer. Fearful and certain of His utter rejection of me as His failed creation, He told me instead, "I wanted to redeem you. I have something better for you."

came to my rescueIn that moment, I heard the voice of love. Of mercy. Of forgiveness. Of sacrifice. His sacrifice. I could never redeem myself, but He could, and He did. He set me free from the eternal consequences of my selfish and broken actions, which I had done against Him. Why did He forgive me? Because He loves me, and He wanted to. He simply wanted to give me something better. He needed no other reasons.

God gave me this second piece, "Came to My Rescue," as a reminder that I didn't set myself free but was rescued by a love stronger than my chains.

The road to freedom would not be a quick one, but it was paved with His acceptance of me even as I stumbled along the way.

Are you in chains? Bound by your past or even your present mistakes and addictions? Do you need to be set free? There is a love that can set you free even as it did me. You can't do it yourself. But if you're willing to swallow your pride and be humble enough to acknowledge your inability to produce your own freedom, He will free you.

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." – John 8:36

"Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses." – Acts 13:38-39

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