When Your Soul Feels Squeezed

Pain pours though her eyes. From the well of countless disappointments, where confusion and dying dreams decay, words, like polluted fish, escape towards the light.

Hoping to be caught, to be understood.
Hoping that if someone would understand what it’s truly like to live inside her soul, her life, that would fix something.

With all the attention I can muster, I listen. I want to see what she sees, hear what she hears, feel what she feels. Walking into the home of her heart, my questions seek to turn on the light. Room by room, I try to discover with her the colors, scents, and sounds that populate her world. Gradually, her isolated emotions merge into a fuller picture, and I begin to understand.

Touring her thoughts and relationships with her, I recognize the reactions I, too, so often clung to like an infant’s security blanket, rocking myself back and forth in their rhythmic repetition:

“No one understands”
“I am all alone in this”
“I am stuck and can’t get free”

Though friends might agree and family support us in the misery, their comfort often unintentionally enforces the bars of our emotional jail.

What keeps us bound inside our own souls is the lie that we are victims of someone else’s choices.

Powerlessness, Passivity, and Pessimism.

Until the day my mentor on the phone took a deep breath, sighed deeply, and asked with the sober sternness I needed right then,

Why, Elisabet, are you bound to a mood that isn’t even yours?
Jesus died for your soul, so you would LIVE. Not so you could wither away in someone else’s shadows. Go find the sunshine He has for you.”

“Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)

It was like someone opened the door to a musty dungeon, and fresh air flood into my spirit. I am not bound to live in a constant boomerang of reaction and counter-reaction with anyone.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Yes, I still have to remind myself of His freedom when hurt tries smother me under the blanket of self-pity. There is plenty of complacent company in the cave that nurses offenses, but like dogs gnawing on their own wounds for attention, the benefits are nowhere near worth the cost.

I grab the hands of my young friend and try to impress on her the incomparable freedom of living for the smile of Jesus, rather than for the hope that her man changes. As she lifts her hopes upward instead, he probably will. But if her motivation were linked to his behavior, she would still be bound.

Cut him loose from the apology you never got, and the times he was lost in his phone when you were vying for his attention, and the way he still doesn’t get the signals you send… – and you will BOTH be free from the tyranny of insatiable expectations.

Then look up at your Creator and receive fresh vision of what you were designed for. Who were you meant to be? Who do you want to be? When do you feel most alive?

He understands why you flinch by certain words and actions. He, who shaped the deepest trenches in the ocean, is intimately familiar with the caverns of your heart. As He is with theirs – with whomever you share this entangled tango.

No human affection will ever caress you the way His Spirit balms our bruises, just by being there. Once you accept that, it’s much easier to appreciate their well-intended kindness, however clumsy or inadequate it may be. As is yours. As is mine. We are all broken creatures who try our best in the divine art of love.

And just as He promised, it’s when we lose our life in His that we begin to live. It’s when we crucify our demands of others that we are free to receive what they willingly offer. It’s when we give ourselves away that we are most deeply satisfied.

It tastes like Jesus.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and envision the freedom, that no one but your Maker can define who you are and who you become. Without your permission, no one can steel the seeds He plants in you, and no one can overshadow you when you stretch toward the sun.

Lean your head back and fill your lungs with His breath – can you taste it – His freedom inside you?

If not, take another, deeper breath and let your spirit soar high over all the smog of your life, till you see the whole globe in beautiful, birds-eye perspective, its blues and greens wrapped in white breezes, after millennia of pollution still reflecting the Creator, who holds your heartbeat and intently watches the shadows and lights in your soul.


Open the fist of resentment and let it all float away…..


Let there be light…



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