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Lincoln Herald | Lincolnton, NC

home : religion : religion October 1, 2020

7/5/2020 12:11:00 AM
Break Free
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith
Guest Columnist

My son James is an artist and he is creating an outdoor mural in Hickory with three wild horses running together, and the piece shows the moment where they split and go in different directions. It is titled “Break Free”, and I love going to the wall to see his progress and think about the people who will be blessed by it as they drive into town on Old Lenoir Rd from Hwy 321. A famous quote by American philosopher Henry David Thoreau says “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation” meaning many of us appear to be happy on the outside but inwardly we are struggling with the idea that we will never be what we could be, we will never achieve our dreams, we are trapped in the rat race of life and don’t know how to get out. When I look at James’ mural, I imagine people who are leading lives of quiet desperation driving by and being inspired to break free.

How hard is it to break free? It may not be as hard as you think. I have two cats and they have collars in case they get lost, but it is important to get the right kind of collar for a cat because they are curious and get into everything. A collar that won’t release can strangle a cat if they get hung on a tree branch or a bush, so I get collars that break free with just a little pull. The cats think they are trapped in the collar, but little do they know how easy it is for them to break free.

Some of us may be leading lives of quiet desperation but for God’s people we are not bound to a life of unfulfilled hopes and dreams. In John 10:10 Jesus gives us hope for a meaningful and fulfilling life saying “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The enemy of our soul can use many things to trap us and steal our hope, kill our dreams, and destroy our enthusiasm for life. Dysfunctional childhood experiences, academic failure, chaotic family life, miserable marriages, social barriers of racism and other discrimination, poverty, addiction, incarceration, and other issues can trap us into thinking that a life of quiet desperation is the best we can hope for and survival is all we know, but Satan is a liar.

In John 8:31-32 Jesus tells we can be free in Him “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” In Christ, the collar of life that has us bound can break free from the things that oppress us if we will let Him pull on it by leading and guiding us in life. We can dream again. We can move on from unhealthy relationships. We can change. We can learn new things. We can set goals and achieve them. We can grow. Every journey starts with the first step, even if it is a baby step. Break free in Christ and be amazed at what God has in store for you.

Rev. Smith is the Associate Pastor of Exodus Missionary Outreach Church, and can be reached at 828-962-8196,, or PO Box 3311, Hickory, NC 28603.

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