Have you heard the story of the man who was passing by some elephants and was stopped by what he saw? He noticed that these giant beasts who weigh between 6,000 and 13,000 pounds were tied down in captivity, held back by a small tiny white rope attached to one leg.
“How could this be?” he inquired. “Surely an elephant could snap that small rope and break free into the life it desires at the slight force of its giant leg?”
So the trainer explained that from a very young age, when elephants are much smaller, they used the same size chain to tie them up and constrain them. They are trained and conditioned to believe that they cannot break away. So when they grow up they believe, though it’s not true, that the tiny white rope that now replaces the chain, can still hold them back, they will never break free to live the life they were made for, so why try?
You know, I think we are a lot like elephants. And I think Jesus knows that. I think God shows up to collide with us because He wants us to break free. We can run. We can do what we dream to do. We can even handle doing what we don’t dream to do but know we are called to. We are stronger than we think. We are braver than we know. We aren’t made to walk in circles. We aren’t made to think we’re helpless with no escape. We weren’t given life to assume this is all there is. We weren’t made to settle for insecurities, anxiety, baggage, dysfunction, addiction, self-centeredness and slavery. We weren’t given what we’ve been given to be held back by fear.
Jesus knows that we make tiny ropes stronger than we ought. He knows we get stuck thinking we aren’t as capable as we actually are. He knows that we have this huge, amazing, vast life waiting for us but we get stuck, bound by lies in big ways and small.
So we need to do battle with fear. Fear is the rope that holds you back and what I am learning about fear is that it has no actual power except for the power you are giving it!! And it’s when you name your fear, that it starts losing its power! (If fear is something you struggle with, we spend lots of time dealing with it in the Collide Bible study called “The Birds and the Lilies.”)
I want to give you some questions to reflect on. Wherever you sit reading this, allow God’s Spirit to calm you, to enter in, to help you reflect.
How do you resonate with the elephant?
- What is it that’s got a tight hold on you, so much that it’s keeping you from living the life you were made for?
- Are you giving a “rope” in your life too much power? If so, how?
- How do you see Jesus showing up to collide with people you know to break them free from the things that hold them back?
- What do you love about Jesus that He desires to break us free from what holds us captive?
Breaking free from fear’s grip on our lives starts with us recognizing how much power we’re giving the tiny ropes that hold us back. We have got to be women who believe that the power of God is greater than the power of the rope. Do you believe in God’s power? Do you believe He is big? Do you believe He is mighty? Do you believe He can break strongholds? Do you believe He can do something new in your life?
The elephant will break free when it has the audacity to question everything it believes, everything it’s been taught, everything it’s been made to think it needs for security, and instead believes it has more power than the flipping rope.
Jeremiah 10:6 speaks to the power of just God’s name. “No one is like you Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.” 1 Samuel 10:6 says,”the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you…and you will be changed into a different person.” 1 John 4:4 promises, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” We either stay held back, or we believe we have a God who can bust us free into the full life we were made to live.
The elephant breaks free when the elephant breaks free. Ha! Sounds obvious? You want something fancier, deeper, more thought provoking? That’s just it. Literally the elephant has to move. The key to breaking free is breaking free.
Breaking free looks like you moving your leg that’s been tied up way too long by self preservation and safety, worry and anxiety, lies and wrong views of yourself and your God. Breaking free looks like movement. It looks like digging up what you’ve buried and coming out of hiding. It looks like writing again. It looks like trying to fend off your negative thoughts by painting again. It looks like showing up to work every day, being 100% sure God is going to use you to change lives no matter what it is you get paid for. It looks like singing in front of an audience instead of just in the shower. It looks like applying for that job. It looks like giving yourself the permission slip God already gave you to do something big. It looks like sacrifice and crazily giving away something to bless the socks off someone else, even if it means you go without. It looks like facing your greatest fears. It looks like no longer listening to the voices that tell you you’re meant for less. It looks like saying, “I will no longer live in captivity.” It also looks like saying, “I will no longer live for myself” because that’s just another form of captivity.
It’s putting out the darn book. It’s giving away part of your inheritance. It’s waking up every day and believing God gave you your life for purpose. It’s deciding to not let anything that holds power over you hold power over you anymore because your God is bigger, your God is stronger and your God is more powerful than anything tying you down and holding you back. And then it’s acting on it. The only thing that will break you free, little elephant, is the belief that God can do what you have been made to believe you can’t.
Let’s break free, friends, from the fear that holds us back!
Want more reflection? Here is some extra credit:
- What can you do to live into the belief that God has more power than the “rope”?
- What bothers you or encourages you about the idea that in order for the elephant to break free, the elephant had to break free… a.k.a. Move?
- What is holding you captive in fear that you want Jesus to break you free from?
Because we want an unleashing of freedom to come over you, because we know Jesus wants it too, we asked our uber talented in-house artist to make you your very own elephant to remind you to actively choose to break free all day, every day. So our free gift to you is to print this cutie out and put it on your desk or your mirror and let it remind you of what you know is true- God holds more power than the rope, friend. 🙂