‘Rise … And Go Home’: How to Abandon Your Personal Paralyzation Through Faith

I am not so great at fixing stuff. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve never been a handyman, though I have definitely tried. Once while my wife was out running errands I attempted to fix our dining room table. The legs were wobbly, and I thought this would be a simple fix. I flipped the table over on our hardwood floors and noticed I just needed a few new screws as the existing ones had been stripped. When I couldn’t find the right sized screws, I found some nails that I thought would get the job done. Screws and nails all do the same job of holding stuff together right? After pounding a handful of nails into the bottom of my table and securing the legs, I went to flip the table back over upright but it was stuck. Yes, you guessed it, this idiot nailed the table to the floor! I finally got the table upright, and now I had spikes coming through my table! This table I had intended to fix had now been made worse than it was before.

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It’s our natural inclination to fix things when they’re broken. But what about when we are broken? What about when we feel broken emotionally, spiritually? How do we fix ourselves? Can we fix ourselves? We can see an example of brokenness being fixed in a story in the bible. Mark 2:1-12 depicts a paralyzed man who was carried by his friends to a house where Jesus was teaching a crowd. He is lowered on his mat right in front of Jesus and a miracle takes place. Jesus forgives the man of his sins, and then tells him, “Rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” (Mark 2:11 ESV). The man proceeds to stand up for the very first time, picks up his mat, and goes home. While reading this story, I thought about this man’s mat. He had been confined to it his whole life and was forced to get used to it. He had never known what it was like to stand, walk, run. Then I wonder if there are emotionally paralyzing things that have happened to us that confine us to “mats.” Without realizing it, we end up stuck on our mat and don’t feel like we can get up, move forward, make progress in our lives.

I had a “mat” for 14 years. By age 5, my parents were divorced and I remember the feelings of confusion, anger, abandonment and rejection. Throughout my childhood, I had limited visits with my dad and never really had a good relationship with him, which resulted in bitterness toward my parents and God. By my late teens, I was very comfortable in my bitterness and resentment. This was my “mat.”

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I tried to fix myself by different means — through relationships, parties, pursuit of money and anything that would make me feel better. Nothing seemed to fix my emotional and spiritual paralysis. I didn’t know what I needed until I encountered Jesus. I cried out in a prayer at 19 years of age at a point where I was depressed, lost, bitter and knew I had a choice to be bitter at God or to believe that God could help me. In that moment of prayer and desperation, I encountered the love and amazing grace of Jesus. If he could forgive all my sins, mistakes and wrong-doings of my past, present and future, then he could give me the ability to forgive my dad and rise up from this bitterness I had been sitting in for so long.

I didn’t have to wait for my external circumstances to change in order for my internal brokenness to be fixed. Instead of waiting for my parents to get back together (which was never going to happen), I could forgive and move on with my life. So I did. I forgave God and my parents, and let go of the bitterness that had held me down for so long. It was in this spiritual encounter that I was able to “rise up from my mat and walk.” Is it possible that God could change us even if our circumstances stay the same? My hope is that we all find the strength and ability to get up from our “mats” and not allow things from the past to paralyze us.

{Image credit: Pixabay}

About the Author

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Elijah Waters has been in ministry for almost 20 years. He has served in youth ministry, worship ministry, and is currently the campus pastor at The City Church Los Angeles campus. Elijah lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Annemarie, and his four children, Esther, Ellie, Ethan, and Ezekiel. Connect with him on Instagram and Twitter.

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