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shackles“Ryley,” something inside of him said, “your journal, get rid of your journal.” He felt perplexed after hearing this echo in his heart. He was being lead to give up something very dear to him: his writing, which slowly was becoming, if it hadn’t already become, his god. Next thing he knew his means to get to the end suddenly becomes the end itself. What I mean is this: Ryley was content with reading five chapters in his Bible and writing in his journal every morning. He had some amazing times with God while reading the scriptures and reflecting on what he read by writing about it in his journal. He would write in his  journal as if writing a letter to God. It was a wonderful medium for connecting with his Abba and turned out to be his favorite part of the day. But Ryley’s medium slowly developed into an idol in his life. Slowly, as the years progressed, he began writing in his journal and reading his Bible not for the sake of connecting with God, but for the sake of reading and writing. He was no longer spending time with his Abba, but was simply spending time with himself, dissecting every emotion that passed through his heart until he became a horrible mess. It was in this horrible mess that Ryley suddenly felt the Holy Spirit say, “Get rid of your journal Ryley, it’s the idol that’s shackling you in slavery.” His writing was once a sweet penning of his adoration onto his God, but it soon became an idol that shackled him to a bag of emotionalism. His emotions had full sway over his life because he spent a daily allotment of time to intently focusing on how he feels and no longer on what God says. Ryley obeyed, and locked his journal away, severing the connection with the thing he idolized. He immediately felt as if the chains broke into pieces and his weight of emotions fell into the heart of the ocean. He began talking with God, having a new connection with a friend he felt he hasn’t spoken to in a while. That’s Ryley’s story, but what about you? Are you shackled to one thing that brings a heavy weight of fear, anxiety, pride, anger, etc.? Is your idol in the shape of the weight room, leading you to obsess over your appearance? Is your idol a certain kind of genre that has the baggage of these emotions or those feelings? Is your idol a kind of music, a style of clothing, an identity? Don’t try to fix yourself, that’ll never work. Ask the Holy spirit to show you like he did for Ryley.

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