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Set Free

From Psalm 129

I was nine or ten years old. It was strikingly hot, so much so that a woman offered to give my family and me a brief reprieve in her air-conditioned office. She even allowed us to bring inside our Cocker Spaniel, Abbey, who’d joined the trip in our green conversion van to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.


As far as I can remember, that trip was the only time I’ve been in a physical lockup of any sort. My brother and I posed for a picture (why do parents think their kids in stocks is cute?), and even for those brief seconds, I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable. But boy, I’ll tell you, that certainly wasn’t the only time I’ve been locked up.


Locked up.

In chains.

Out of control.

Held back.

Held down.

A prisoner.

A captive.

Unfree.


Whatever you want to call it, whatever phrase you want to use, I’ve been there. I’ve felt it. I’ve lived it—spiritually, emotionally, physically. I’m talking about the lockup of addiction.


Pornography.

Gaming.

Social media scrolling.

TV watching.

Undereating.

Overeating.

Laziness.

Overexercising.

Drinking.

Taking pills.

Shopping.


We see addiction dozens of ways. We call it dozens of names (an activity, a hobby, a way to unwind or relax). But not calling it out will only keep us in its grip even longer.


My first bout with addiction began when I was about sixteen and low self-esteem drove me toward choices and relationships and activities that, though unhealthy (and I knew it), I repeated again and again because I wanted to be beautiful, I wanted to be wanted, I wanted to feel loved. I spent the next ten years avoiding the idea that I had an addiction, but finally found help and hope in recovery classes and a transparent, God-centered community.


Lately, I’ve faced the throes of addiction again. This time, not with undereating, as I’ve struggled with in the past, but with an unhealthy attitude toward healthy eating. I’ve been using food as a means for weight loss. I’ve obsessed over numbers and fads and sizes instead of embracing food as a blessing meant to nourish my body, not control it.


I could say more, but my struggles aren’t the point. This is: there is hope in the Lord.

“The Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.” (Psalm 129:4 NIV)

I read this verse this past week and realized, “the wicked” can be a person; but it might also be a lifestyle, or attitude, or behavior. Simply put, what’s wicked is what destroys us—by tearing or keeping us down. What a gift from the Lord, then, that with Him, because of Him, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been, how many times you’ve tried, how hard you’ve worked in the past and failed, there is always hope for release.


You can recover. You can overcome. Surrender to the Lord, and He will set you free.


Hopefully yours,




Next week’s reading: Psalm 133–139.

How do you know if you’re addicted?


Here are a few questions to ask yourself as a gauge. If you answer yes to most or all of these, it’s time to prayerfully consider making a change.

  • Is it something I do/see/have every day or, at least, on a regular basis?

  • Sometime after I do/see/have it, do I feel embarrassed or ashamed?

  • If I don’t do/see/have it, do I feel anxious, annoyed, frustrated, or fearful?

  • Has someone close to me mentioned how often I do/see/have it?

  • If/when someone mentions it to me, do I respond with excuses and/or blame?


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