Beth Moore — When Life Has You Paralyzed
I’ve got to tell you something that happened a couple of weeks ago. I just cannot get it out of my head. You need to know that I laughed at my own self when it happened. I was at a speaking event. I had a conference that weekend and I was in West Virginia. I had the opportunity to stay in a hotel where they had given our event team the suite at the hotel because the entire place had been sold out. So they had thrown in the suite as a little extra.
Now you’ve got to understand, after 25 years of speaking I have slept on cots, in church libraries, I have slept with people’s five year olds in the next twin bed. Do you understand what I’m saying? You know, you just do the thing. I just want you to know this didn’t start out in a hotel room. I can still say in all manner, because I love to go to all sorts of places and all sorts of “off the beaten path” kind of towns so that we can see God work in a midst where you just don’t see him do that kind of thing and that kind of conference all the time.
So, there were all these places with all sorts of surroundings that I might encounter. This time was one of the fancy kind. It was three big rooms. The bed had all these fat covers and pillows on it. It was one of those beds where you just get on -- You know, it’s such a waste to be in there where nobody else can see what a fun room it is because I just get on the bed and I just bounce like this, back and forth.
And the bathroom was bigger than my den at home. All of these mirrors… I would go do my mascara over here, and then I’d fluff up my hair here, and then I would go check my blouse over here, just trying to use the whole place. It was just the neatest place. But I came to a place, when it was time to get ready, and I needed to iron my blouse. I thought to myself, “In a room this fancy you would think you wouldn’t have to do your own ironing.”
But never think to yourself, “I don’t do my own ironing!” So I was ready to iron my blouse and I had brought my spray starch with me. You know, when you’re just obsessive compulsive about your ironing -- I had my spray starch with me and when I opened up the top -- my iron was hot and my blouse was laid across the ironing board -- I looked at the top of the can and a lot of rust had gathered around the spout.
I’m thinking, “Oh, I know what can happen there! It’s going to get wet and it’s going to spray all over my blouse.” So I go to my makeup bag and I grab out a Q-tip. I start going around the top of that spout. There’s quite a lot of it so I do all this rust with one side, and then I turn it to the other side, do all the rust with the other side of the Q-tip. I look at it, and start to throw it into the trash, and I thought, “That looks like ear wax.”
Not only does it look like ear wax, it looks like someone has got the most terminal case of ear wax anyone has ever had! I mean I was going, “Ewwww, I can’t take them thinking this!” And I want you to know I hid that Q-tip!
Because, God forbid that the woman cleaning up that room was going to go, “Whoa! I tell you, she was nice and stuff but she had a little problem with her inner ear
So, I wrapped it up and hid it. When I did it, I laughed at myself but I still didn’t undo it!
A word has come to me recently. You won’t find it in exactly this terminology in scripture but it is scriptural all the same. We just have to come to a place where we would adopt a new philosophy called “Cut the Bull.”
Anybody know what I’m talking about? And I mean bull is short for bologna. Do you understand what I’m saying to you? I wonder what kind of work the Lord Jesus would be allowed to do in our lives, what kind of healing would come, when he sets out for the most Pharisaical among us, the very teachers among us; the ones to whom it is so important that we appear a certain way.
What if we just got real? Do you know what I find disturbing? The number one thing I have heard over the years of Bible study ministry, number one -- I could take a yellow highlighter and go over letter after letter after letter after letter after letter that says the same thing -- “Thank you for being real.”
I want to ask you a question. Do you find that a little disturbing? Why would that be exceptional? What kind of game are we playing? We know good and well we have been messed up!
People don’t need us to act like we have always had it together. They need help! They need help! My mother was very disturbed when this ministry got so serious, when we took that turn of breaking free, which I believe is the spinal cord of this whole ministry.
I probably told you this before; she said to me, “You use to be funnier.” I just want to go, “That’s before I cut the bull!” Do you understand what I’m saying? I still like good humor but people are hurting and they need to know from people up front and from people beside them; they need to know -- Let me tell you something, I have been in the biggest mess in my life and this is what God did for me.
What if we just, as my friend, a counselor in Arkansas, says, what if we just started to be who we seem? What if it was true to the bone? If what we want people to think we’re like is like at 100 decimals but what is true is about 70. What if we just became straight out the 70? We would minister to more people. And you know what? We’d be freer. Because that bull is keeping us from a profound healing of God because we will determine we don’t need it. That person sitting next to us, we will just pat her all through the service and hope you’re hearing this.
We will be so glad our husband came, hope he is hearing this! His mind wanders for a second; we’re just punching him with our elbow. He’s talking to you! When really, he’s talking to me. He’s talking to me. Just cut the thing down. Let’s go down to where it’s real. Let everything else go, just cut it! Be real before God.
And if we are, we will know the power of his healing. What is it? As we meet together, some of us from a distance, we’re meeting together in scripture just the same. What is it that has us paralyzed? We can be walkers and joggers in a whole lot of areas of our lives but we’re just paralyzed in this one.
Or it could be that we’re just the paralytic in every way. What is it that is stopping us from getting up and moving on? What’s just got us? What’s just got us? We can have a trauma in the home that we cannot get past. It may have been months and years ago, but we just can’t get past it – we’re paralyzed by it.
Anybody know what I’m talking about? The enemy can use guilt and condemnation to keep us there, where we feel like we can’t even go to church and hold our heads up because we remember what happened in our home just a few months ago. I’m telling you, somebody is hearing what I’m saying.
Some kind of devastating loss, and I say this with tenderness, it just has us paralyzed; some kind of huge conflict that has never been resolved. It can happen in couples, where we’ve never gotten past what happened in ’98. Is anybody hearing what we’re saying? Because we can’t resolve it. Everybody’s still so full of pride.
We just can’t get the thing resolved. Something terrible happened in the past. Sometimes we don’t even know what it is, we’re just stuck. We don’t even know how to define it; we’re just stuck. Sometimes we’re paralyzed by unforgiveness, and sometimes that paralysis of unforgiveness is toward ourselves.
What’s just got us stuck? Where are we just ham-strung? Where is it we’re going to get an answer or else? Just been standing in the same place going, “God! You’re going to explain this to me or I’m not going on.” Anybody know what I’m talking about? Today -- I feel a lump in my throat even telling you about this -- is my firstborn’s birthday.
I had the privilege of raising two darling daughters that are young adult women now. But as I look at my oldest daughter with her darling, bouncing baby boy, I love to be able to tell her when she tries to describe how she feels about him, I love to say, “Oh, baby, that’s how I feel about you.”
I said to Keith yesterday, after Amanda left, isn’t she darling? Isn’t she wonderful? I’m tender about her birthday because early that next morning, we’d had so much company on the day that she was born -- Keith and I both have large families and all of them were there.
We also have a large church family and all of them were there. We were the first of our friends to start having these babies. So everyone gathered around. I remember thinking to myself after I had been through the trauma of childbirth, “I cannot believe they did not come to see me, after what I’ve been through!”
Twenty-two years old and went through the shock of my life. I felt like they should have pulled one of those things they put on horses when they win the race, those rose wreaths!
Something! Something! So much company, so much company around the room. We’d all had prayer together but then come about four in the morning when everybody was gone, of course, I’d not slept a wink all night, and they brought her to me.
They laid her right on that hospital bed with me and then the nurse left. She said, “I’ll leave the two of you alone.” I want you to get the picture because if you’ve had an infant, you know what I’m talking about. I wanted to see her.
I’d not really gotten a chance to take a good look at her. So, I began unwinding her. Do you know what I’m talking about? Where you think they’re going to have to wear this to college, obviously.
Where you are unwinding, and unwinding, and then, look at her little toes and her tiny little feet. She was staring at me; tears were pouring from my cheeks, falling right down on her little belly. And I said to her, “Hi! My name is Mom.”
It was the most beautiful word. I looked at her and I wept. I couldn’t have articulated, then, what I know that my soul was saying. I wouldn’t have been able to find the exact words. But I lay there with that little thing in my arms and thought, “How could anything this pure come from anything this impure.”
I had a sense of impurity from the time I was a little bitty girl, because of my early childhood victimization. So I had this overwhelming sense of shame from the time, from my earliest memories.
Then, you know, you act out on that, and you’re just a mess. I was just a wreck! I was just a wreck! And I looked at that tiny little thing, and suddenly, what I was going to do with my past took on a whole new meaning.
I read a book a number of years ago by Gilda Radner, who was in the early Saturday Night Live fame. She’s long since passed away. But before she did, she wrote a book called, “It’s Always Something.” She tells a story that was printed as an excerpt in the paper at the time. She told about growing up and having a family pet that was going to have puppies. Somehow the family pet got too close to the lawn mower and lost its back legs.
They took the family pet into the vet and said, “What are we to do? Must we put her to sleep? After all, she’s going to have these puppies. Can we somehow still have the puppies?” He said, “Well, I’m going to tell you,” it was early on and he said, “Absolutely not. If we don’t maintain the life of the dog the puppies aren’t going to make it. But here’s what we can do: we can sew her up and she will teach herself to walk.”
And they said sure enough she did. She didn’t even waste any time with it. She learned to drag herself by her front paws and, somehow, just hop forward with the back part of her body. Didn’t seem ashamed of it; that’s just how she walked. Then she had the puppies -- they were all healthy.
The last line of it said this, “And when they learned to walk, they all walked just like her.” That’s going to be me. I became petrified that even if no one touched my children, that the second hand effects of my abuse, if I did not deal with it, was going to show up in them. And somehow, all of the sudden, you got to do something.
It was years before I would tell you that I was experiencing full freedom. You just go through layers and layers of it. It was a deep stronghold and it took some long and radical work. Anybody know what I’m talking about? But in the process of it, by the time my healing came, I knew my healer a whole lot better than I knew my healing and I was in love forever. Do you understand what I’m saying?
He was Prince Charming and it was done! It was done! I would be in love for the rest of my life. That’s what the course of that longevity gave me as a gift. What would it take for you and me to decide it would be worth it to seek healing? What would it take? It doesn’t have to be a birth of a child. Some of you are going, “I’m way past that!”
Others who are single are going, “I don’t even know if God’s got that as a part of my life.” What about the value of you as his child? What about the value of you and the impact your life is going to have on people around you, because we have spiritual offspring even when we do not have physical offspring.
We are having influence. We are having an effect. Would it be worth it to you in your stay on planet earth to do whatever you had to do if you had to go through the roof! Do you want to be healed? Do you want to be healed?