Our brains are magnificent – and mysteriously confusing.
On one hand, they can conceive great works of art and music; design and build powerful computers that we can literally wear on our wrists; send a complex craft into space that can rendezvous years later with a distant planet. Incredible!
And yet this same brain can be tricked and deceived. It can, for example, believe it, and the body it lives in is trapped when, in fact, that is not the case.
We have probably all read or seen special reports on television about situations where children are abducted and then discovered years later as teenagers or young adults. We are typically baffled when their stories are shared and we discover that in their later years they had many and ample opportunities to escape – but did not. The conditioning of their minds in the early years – when they truly were trapped or punished if they resisted or tried to escape – tricked their brains into believing they were still trapped as adults.
Interestingly, I have talked with a number of folks in the last few weeks who have used the phrase, “I feel trapped.” The present situations they described varied from trapped in a marriage or trapped by finances to trapped by the expectations of others or trapped in a physically ill body. To varying degrees there was a real component to each of these; but we were exploring them because of the deep despair associated with each.
Like the abducted children mentioned above, each of these people had experienced actual situations in the younger years of their lives where they were literally trapped (e.g. one lady who had been molested by a group of boys in her neighborhood as a little girl) and were not able to escape (or no one came to rescue them). However, now as adults they were having powerful and out of proportion emotional responses to present circumstances.
The Lord brought grace and truth to each of these individuals. But there was an identical phrase given by Him to two of them that greatly impacted them and I would like to share it with you. The Lord revealed, “believing you are trapped prevents you from seeing the opportunities.”
When I asked each what this meant to them, they independently shared a simple answer: when a person is convinced he or she is trapped, they don’t even try looking around to see if that is really true or to consider what might be accomplished other than just freedom. With the awareness of these truths, they both “looked around” and “I am trapped” no longer felt as real or real at all to them.
In Ephesians 6 the apostle Paul tells slaves, who really are trapped, to “look around” and shift their focus from “I am trapped” to “I wonder what I can do for God and what God is going to do through me in this situation.” It changes everything.