This year on my birthday a dear friend gave me a gift of bangle bracelets. I love these bracelets. If they remotely match what I’m wearing, they are my first accessory. Today they matched my shirt so I wore them. And today they seemed to be in my way all day, most noticeably in the bathroom. It seemed the most everyday things in the bathroom were made difficult today because of these bracelets. In the office, in the car, at the ice cream parlor…they just kept getting in the way. But I never took them off.
Late in the afternoon, I finally took them off and placed them on my dresser. As I looked at them, I thought of all of the “bangle bracelets” of life that we put on that hold us back. Things that we put on voluntarily that slow us down and hold us back. Things that maybe even cripple us, disable us or place us in bondage, whether spiritually, emotionally or physically. We rearrange them, change how we’d normally do something and are even ok with them causing snags in our lives (like my bracelets snagged my handbag today). But we don’t take them off. We like the “bangle bracelets” so much that we completely miss the ways that our lives are impaired by them.
As I stood and looked at my beautiful bracelets sitting on my dresser, I wondered how many times in my life I’ve allowed something that I liked, that I was holding onto, that made me feel good, hold me back from what God had for me. How many times has God wanted me to take the proverbial bangle bracelets off so that I could move completely in His will? What “bracelets” am I making accommodations for now that God would like me to take off so that I can serve more effectively for Him? What can I shed to run this race most like Jesus did?
Hebrews 12:1-3 “Do you see what this means-all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running-and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God-he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.3 When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”
God, help me everyday to take off the “bracelets” that hold me back from to running this race. Help me to shed all that takes my focus from you and your plan. Help me daily to only put on those things that are of you and allow me to show you to others. Take my “bangle bracelets” and break their hold on me.