May 6, 2022
Don’t Let the World Hold You Down
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high (Psalm 3:3 NLT).
Friend to Friend
One summer, my grandmother placed a book on top of my head and ordered me to start walking. I’d had a growth spurt that summer and my grandmother often remarked that she never wanted me to be tall like her. As an unusually tall Southern-born, African-American woman, my grandmother grew up at a time when shorter, smaller black women were deemed less threatening and more employable. Even though times had changed, my grandmother was still wary of the world that I would grow up in. She told me, “If you’re going to be tall, then you need to learn how to hold your head up high.”
I spent that summer walking back and forth in my grandmother’s living room learning how to balance a book on my head. At first, the book crashed to the floor every few steps. It took daily practice, but I discovered a powerful confidence that came with learning to hold my head high. However, life doesn’t always make it easy to keep our head up.
What’s holding your head down today? Is it the weight of awful words spoken to you during your childhood or the mistakes that you’ve made in the past? My heart grieves for whatever is weighing your own.
Today’s Truth reminds us that God is the lifter of our heads in a world that tries to pull us down. In Psalm 3, King David was on the run from his own family member. He was no doubt confronted with great sadness and possibly shame (see 2 Samuel 15-18). Yet, David remembered that God was with him. God is with you, too! There is no mistake too big, no past too shameful or no problem too great for Him. You don’t have to lift your head, He will do it for you so that you can see Him taking care of you!
In Luke 13, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue when he saw a woman crippled by an evil spirit. “She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight” (Luke 13:12 NLT). Those evil spirits, which had no physical bodies, weighed down the woman so much that her physical body actually was bent in half.
Then, Jesus called her over. While she couldn’t have seen the stares and likely shaming head shakes as she walked by, no doubt she sensed it. I admire her willingness to go over to Jesus. Since she was bent over, I wonder if she could see Jesus’ face? What stood out to me was that the woman obeyed Jesus’ voice over the roar of the evil spirits who were no doubt rebelling within her. Then, just as we read of Jesus treating other unnamed women in scripture with dignity, not disdain, he says to her, “Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!” Then, Jesus touched her. The woman straightened. For the first time in almost two decades, she saw faces, not feet. She could hold her head up and not feel the weight of shame that came with a head that was bowed down low. She began praising God!
What Jesus did for that woman is what he did for you on the cross long ago. He died, lifting the weight of guilt in your head and lifting the weight of the shame on your shoulders. Through Christ, God lifts our heads so that we can see the shining light of His glory and so that we can praise God so that others are drawn to Him.
What is holding your head down today? Jesus has already died for you to be free, whether it’s your past, your problems or your pain? So, allow God to lift your head so that you can live in the fullness of God’s hope and promises for your life.
God, You are the lifter of my head. I refuse to let any guilt, shame, sad memories and current struggles hold me back because You’ve already freed me through salvation in Christ. I will praise Your name in victory! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
- What experiences in the past still weigh on your heart and can cause you to feel like dropping your head in shame?
- What did you learn from Jesus’ experience with the woman that encouraged you today?
More From the Girlfriends
If you’ve been struggling with guilt or shame from your past, check out Barb’s new Bible study, Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ. This six-week Bible study on the book of Galatians teaches you how to find freedom from following religious rules and fear of not being enough for God. Barb’s study includes six powerful Freedom Principles and application exercises that equip you to break free from fear and experience God’s great adventure of joy and purpose for your life.
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