Vows You Shouldn’t Keep
In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis writes:
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
After relational heartbreak or disappointment, we may decide that the risk of love is too high. Then, as Lewis says, we will wrap our hearts “carefully round” and “avoid all entanglements” by making vows—or promises—to ourselves. “I am never letting anyone else in.” “I won’t trust any women.” “I am not going to trust men.” Or, “That’s the last time I will ever get close to church people.” It’s important to keep in mind that these vows aren’t just promises we make to ourselves without consequence. They are agreements that we make with the Enemy of our souls. And for this reason, they are promises that bind us and rob us of the abundant life that God has prepared for us.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines a vow as an “earnest promise that binds one to a specific mode of behavior.” In my twenties, I made a relational vow I thought was protecting me, but in reality, it was binding me. And, like a rope that strangles, this vow tied itself around my heart so I couldn’t give or receive love.
For years, I didn’t know I had made an unhealthy vow, let alone how to get free from it. Over time, God revealed to me the truth so I could be free from the unhealthy vow that tied my heart up in knots.
The Lord showed me that deception is the glue that holds any unhealthy vow together. For example, the women who vows never to allow any men to get close to her may believe the lie that all men can’t be trusted. The man who vows never to marry may think he can’t handle the risk of disappointment, that God abandoned him before, or that he can’t commit to marriage.
The deception may vary depending upon the situation, but all vows are held together by lies. Replacing these lies with God’s truth will set you free from the binding effects of an unhealthy vow so that you can be blessed and be a blessing.
If you believe you have made a vow that is robbing you of healthy relationships, I encourage you to ask the Lord to reveal the lies you have believed. Then replace those lies with His truth. Lastly, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with an unhealthy vow for a time. Freedom is often like peeling an onion as God remakes our hearts.
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