Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

A teenage girl deeply traumatized by unwanted sexual advances and assaults from her boss, began to experience nightmares and anxiety attacks. She had already experienced abuse at the hands of a neighbor when she was a little girl so this situation brought back old fears, shame and guilt. She turned to alcohol and drugs to help her numb out the intense feelings that kept her awake all night and on edge during the day.

For decades, the woman was imprisoned by her guilt and shame. It was a toxic mix that kept her unable to grow and flourish in the promises and glory that God so willingly wanted to give her. Her past kept her a slave to dark thoughts and deeds, her heart broken and her soul weary. She hurt herself and many others as she struggled with her past traumas.

At her lowest point, totally broken and afraid, she cried out to God for help. Of course he heard her, for he had been by her side all the time. She just didn’t realize it. She was too lost in her shame to realize that God could love her, even in her brokenness.

The girl, now a grown woman, knelt before God and humbled herself. She was able rise up, whole. Clean. Sober. She was finally free. Free from the yoke of shame and guilt. Free from fear and rage. She was finally free, as she was called to be.

What past traumas keep you a slave to shame, guilt, fear, or anger? What has you imprisoned, locked away from the goodness that God wants to give you? You can give God the things that trouble you. You can let Him carry the burden for you, and unlock you from bondage.

To use our freedom, God has asked us to do a very simple task. Be of service, with love, to others. People who are involved in a 12 Step recovery program know that service is a way to remain sober. What might your service to others look like?

When we humble ourselves to serve others, it literally changes our brains and our hearts, for the better.

If you are suffering from addiction, you can be free. If you are suffering from past guilt and shame, you can be free. Once the shackles have fallen away, find a way to humbly be of service.

I am doing my best to be of service, for I am the woman I’ve written about today. I was imprisoned. I am now free.

I am here to humbly serve you in love, my brothers and my sisters.