Sometimes, rather than change something about our lives that is ugly or broken, we decide to leave things the way they are. As ugly or broken as those things are, it becomes a comfort to us to stay in it because at least it’s a “known” quantity, vs. making a drastic change that we’re unsure will work, will be a positive, better thing, or make us happy. But, our decision to leave things the way they are, means we’ve voluntarily sold ourselves into slavery to the very thing that we don’t like.
Why do we give the sick stuff about us so much power in our lives?
I think I should probably clarify what I mean by “sick” stuff.
One example would be a divorced wife whose ex psychologically abused her for so many years, yet she allows him to continue to contact her, whether it’s with implied threats or perceived compliments. There’s got to be something she gets out of having contact with the ex. Do the threats really scare her into not taking action or is it that even though the relationship is sick, at least this person finds her attractive enough to contact her?
Either way, her inability to ignore his pursuits has made her a voluntary slave to her ex. He will hold the power in her life, and she can always blame him when things go poorly in her life, so it actually serves two purposes for her.
Another example would be an adult child of an alcoholic and abusive father who was absent much of the time when the child was young, and when he was around, took advantage of the child. The father contacts the adult child now, but only likes talking about himself. The adult child always makes time to listen to him and see him when she can, but complains to others about how selfish he is and how he only contacts her for his interests, not hers. In allowing him to continue this type of relationship, she is volunteering herself for slavery.
In some ways, it is similar to the divorcee because they both want love, acceptance and concern, but allow the men in their lives to have a sick relationship with them that leaves them lonely, hurt and rejected.
These are just two examples, but probably most of us have something that is ugly or broken inside us that keeps us in voluntary slavery.
What’s wrong with this type of slavery, you might ask? Depending on what that the thing is and how much of your life it consumes, it can keep you from get the job you want, having the relationship you desire, and fully realizing the joy and peace you seek.
Or, maybe staying in slavery means that you don’t think God can change your situation, that you aren’t worthy of God’s attention to your life, or that you don’t trust Him to be in control.
This is on my mind today, because I read about this very topic last night in the Redemption book by Mike Wilkerson that I’m reading. It’s made me take a good look at the areas of my life that I may have an unhealthy hold on, or rather, it may have a hold on me.