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5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Why is it so hard to walk away from something that hurts us? Is it the pull of the familiar or the fear of the unknown? Unwanted sexual addiction holds us captive, yet we are called to freedom.

In this episode, we’ll explore a 5 Step look at finding that freedom. Dan Keefer, a counselor, and member of the Regeneration Ministries Team joins Josh and Kit to expand on “Leaving Egypt finding God in the Wilderness Places” by Dr. Chuck DeGroat.

The teaching comes from looking at the Israelites journey from captivity to freedom and what we can learn from it. The Bible shows us getting from Point A to Point B is not always easy. Thank God for that.

This conversation examines the Israelites – the slavery they were walking away from, their meandering through a desert and how it mirrors our walk away from the bonds of addiction and the lostness we can feel as we keep moving further away from it.

Looking back at their walk is an encouragement compelling us forward when, like them, we have no idea what’s ahead.

You’ll want to listen in as Keefer also shares practical tips and a prayer for your journey ahead.

Pushing past the promises of the addiction and Finding Freedom is the focus of today’s episode of “Becoming Whole.”

Highlights:

we find security in what’s familiar even when it may be at the cost of our freedom

there was a real desire, even at that point, to return to what they knew even though they were enslaved. And so in the same way when we’re addressing unwanted behaviors and we’re looking forward it can be scary because all we see is what’s right in front of us

There was a work that God was wanting to do in them and through them and it was a journey of transformation

Questions:

What scares you the most about life beyond your addiction?

What would you miss the most if you were to give up your behavior/habit?

Write a “Dear John” letter to break up with the behavior/pattern you want to release.


Resources/Extras:

Leaving Egypt finding God in the Wilderness Places Dr Chuck DeGroat

Sick from Freedom Jim Downs

Romans 5:3-5

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Josh 0:02
So one of our primary aims at regeneration is helping people become whole becoming all the men and women that God created them to be and that whom Christ redeem them to be. And there are a lot of different ways that can look but today, we invited Dan keefer, who’s a member of our staff, he’s a coach with us, he coaches, men who are desiring to become whole. So, Dan, we’re going to talk about today, but before we do, how you doing,

Dan Keefer 0:42
welcome. I’m doing well. Thanks very much. It’s good to be able to join you and kit for this recording.

Josh 0:48
So for those who don’t know, you have been on our team now for several years, but you you actually live in Georgia in the beautiful state of Georgia. I do.

Dan Keefer 0:59
Yeah. Thank you. It’s actually coming up on the third anniversary since I joined regeneration. And I did make a move from Southern South Central Pennsylvania to Georgia last September, kind of joining my wife. She’s in ministry at a church here on the, what’s called the Golden Isles. So we are off the coast.

Josh 1:21
And by the way, I knew I knew the third anniversary is coming up. Did you get the gift? I said, It’s big.

Dan Keefer 1:27
I forgot to send you a thank you note. But

Kit 1:32
I was, I was just thinking the other day, Dan about how sad it was when you move. It was just such a loss, and how wonderful it’s been that you’ve been able to stay with us remotely, really robustly much more than we imagined. And so I’m really grateful for that.

Dan Keefer 1:49
And I would echo the same thing that it’s my involvement has been more than what I had imagined since I’ve been down here. And so I’ve been very grateful for that.

Josh 1:58
Yeah, well Then, you know, I think I’ve said already that that we’re thinking about the process of becoming whole of becoming the men and women that God created us to be. There are some different ways of looking at that. But as we were prepping for this, you mentioned somebody specifically in a book that has kind of really framed up for you some significant kind of pieces of the journey. So why don’t we just move into that, like, share a little bit with our listeners about, you know, who that is, what the book is, and then and then let’s, let’s talk about it.

Dan Keefer 2:27
Yes, thanks. So I’ve been significant, significantly influenced by an author, therapist, Professor, Pastor, he’s worn a lot of different hats. And his name is Dr. Chuck degroat. And I think it was his first book that he wrote, it’s titled leaving Egypt, finding God in the wilderness places. And it just, it just struck me how the Israelites entering Egypt and leaving Egypt and they’re wandering and going into the promised land eventually how that is such a metaphor, and even a model for what we may watch Through ourselves, but most definitely what the men and women are walking through who seek out regeneration ministries themselves.

Kit 3:08
Dan, do you want to say a little bit more about that? Like how is our experience and the experience of men and women who seek out how that region similar to the Israelites? Can you say a bit more about that?

Dan Keefer 3:19
So yeah, there’s a little be outlining about five different steps, but it’s this. It’s this picture of moving from a place where you once found life but then found yourself enslaved or even in bondage, or, you know, we use the term addiction and needing to find a way out and then even once you’re liberated, there’s a number of experiences that come with that, that are very much like what the Israelites experienced. But they’re things that can make it difficult to continue on that journey to becoming whole.

Kit 3:57
So what’s what’s the first step

Dan Keefer 4:00
So yeah, so the first step is really just this, just this recognition that this thing or this behavior, this experience that we once thought provided life for us, was no longer no longer doing that. So, the Israelites, they, if you’re familiar with the story, they entered Egypt as a result of Joseph, son of Jacob, having a leadership position there, and there’s a whole story that goes with that. But over a series of years with different Pharaohs and leaders, the the story of the Israelites was lost and the Israelites were perceived to be a threat. And so this land that was once hospitable for them had turned and become unfriendly, unfriendly to the point where they were enslaved. And in a similar way, for us in our in our struggles with behaviors, whether it’s an unwanted sexual behavior or another, another behavior that It ended up turning into an addiction. At one point, it provided life but then it’s as though it turned and took control or not control the boss.

Josh 5:11
Man I can, I mean, I can relate from my own experience, I can relate. I know that so many other people can relate. I was just talking to a group of men on Tuesday about this this reality that Nope, nobody when they started into their unwanted sexual behavior, no one started with a sense of like, you know, this is going to get as bad as I imagined it’s going to get it’s going to get as painful it’s going to cost me this much like nobody does that nobody kind of starts whatever the unwanted behavior is, in our case in ministry is often relational or sexual, but nobody kind of starts down that road with with an anticipation that things are going to be end up hurting, causing so much being so out of control and so unstoppable and they become so yeah, that makes that makes sense.

Kit 5:59
So that first Step I mean, that’s an interesting like, you have to recognize that once, but that what once provided life is no longer doing so. And that’s not always an easy place to get. You’re in that cycle of addiction. So, so what helps a person get there?

Dan Keefer 6:15
Well, so one of the things and this can seem a little counterintuitive, but I know in our groups for men, the rescue groups, one of the exercises there is to write what’s called a dear john letter to their particular area of unwanted sexual behavior, because there’s this there’s this part of it where it has promises, there are promises that the behavior even seems to fulfill. But over time, recognizing and this is the second part of the letter. The second part of the letter is the recognition that there were also lies that were associated with the behavior. And so it’s in a sense, it’s breaking up with it. It’s saying, You promised me this, you gave me this, but here’s where you lied. I’m no longer content to stay where I am. Hmm.

Kit 7:05
So it’s this personal kind of breaking up saying, you, you promised me this and you promised me that, but you lied to me. And really getting very real and honest about what’s really going on in this relationship and breaking it off or beginning to. Right. And so then in recognizing the lies that are behind the promises, really the next step then is a step towards freedom.

Josh 7:33
Okay, so let me ask about that. Because I, I know, you know, we all know I guess that, that that initial step towards freedom as exhilarating as it can be, like, I mean, even even sometimes the point where people don’t get formal about any kind of recovery because they’re like, Man, I’m done. I’m out. I’m, you know, I’m almost there’s almost like a honeymoon period. But at some point there’s, there’s relapse or there’s the past behaviors kind of creep up and people do jump back into old relationship or jump back into old patterns. So why is it? I mean, according this model, why is it difficult to remain on that path towards freedom? What what happens there?

Dan Keefer 8:10
Yeah, so, the second step being that we’re taking these taking these movements towards freedom, but it’s as though there can be this gravitational pull back to the life that we once knew. Because as as unhelpful and unhealthy and, and enslaving is that previous behavior might have been there still a familiarity with it, and we find security in what’s familiar, even when it may be at the cost of our freedom.

Josh 8:43
You know, I, I just was not I’ve not read this book. I’ve heard about it. I’ve read a little bit of excerpts from it, but it reminds me there’s a there’s a book called sick from freedom, written by a guy named Jim Jim downs and he talks about this the reality that as The boss people in the south after the Civil War, were liberated. Many of them because they lacked clean clothing that lacked shelter or food, or access to medicine. As they tried to move up towards union lines, many of them actually returned to because of those hardships they returned to the, to the people that didn’t enslave them for so long. And I just thought that, that mirrors I think the Israelites journey as they, you know, they were grumbled in the wilderness as they left Egypt. But it also mirrors this this reality you’re talking about, like I you know, this, when I, when I find freedom, I’m actually in in an unfamiliar place that has its own difficulties, which I think is something that a lot of people don’t expect.

Dan Keefer 9:42
And one of the ways that I visualize this as well is seeing the future these steps into freedom. It’s, it’s it’s dark, it’s as though there may be a light that shed on the next step or the second step, but in terms of looking up and looking looking off into the distance, it’s it’s shrouded in you can’t see what’s there. But when you turn and look behind you, you can see what’s there. And again, the Israelites, they turned quite literally as they were facing the Red Sea and saying, Okay, how are we going to get across there? Like, are we going, are we going to die here? They could look back and say, Well, at least back in Egypt, we might have been enslaved, but at least we had, and they had a home, they had food. And there was a real desire, even at that point to return to what they knew, even though they were enslaved. And so in the same way, when we’re addressing unwanted behaviors, and we’re looking forward, it can be scary, because all we see is what’s right in front of us.

Kit 10:47
So what what compels a person then to move on, but what happens in that in that, you know, transition period to help them turn away from what’s passed. And move forward.

Dan Keefer 11:01
What is so significant at that point is this whole area of being able to establish a new identity, and it’s that identity that can help to propel a person forward into what’s the unknown, and that new identity is, is something that we don’t earn it. We don’t try hard enough to achieve the identity. Conversations with individuals recently trying to perform to get someone’s approval and in doing so, receive an identity or have their identity established. That’s not how we do it. So this this third step is really allowing this identity to be bestowed upon us. It’s, it’s kind of like being given a gift. So, you know, with children when children are young, we laugh when we make jokes about the fact that when they’re given a gift at Christmas, For their birthday, they can be more interested in the box than they are in the toy and actually playing with the toy itself. And we’re not too different when we receive that gift of a new identity, but then continue to live from the old identity. We’ve been given this gift. But it’s as though we’re saying, you know what, I’m going to set that gift aside, and I’m going to be content with what I had.

Kit 12:23
This is such an important point. I think I just I talked about this so often with clients and have had some really significant conversations just recently about this idea of the the trauma, the pain of letting go of something even when we can see that maybe it’s not good for us, but it’s just, it’s something we were so familiar with. It’s something we’ve, you know, kind of embraced for so long that it’s really hard. Even though the new seems like promising. It’s really hard to like The old and so I think this is a very important part of this of this, you know, path towards freedom to acknowledge that this is going to be hard. This is going to be hard.

Josh 13:11
So I have a comment and a question. The comment is this, this idea of identity I mean, really, when we’re talking about leaving the, the, the slavery we’re we really are talking about becoming a free people not just moving towards freedom, but becoming free people. You think about the story of the Israelites. They I mean, they were God’s people. And and when Moses came around, there was this almost this reclaiming of who they were not just who they were, but whose they were and, and because they’d come to know themselves as dependent on Egypt, slaves to Egypt, under huge depression. And so Moses really came in he was just like, not anymore and all of a sudden, all of a sudden, the message to Pharaoh is not Hey, let your people go, but let my people go From the Lord. And so, I see that in this in a story, I think that the question I have for you, Dan is, it seems to me that that, that taking on that new identity and learning to live from that identity isn’t easy. I mean, that feels like a part of the wilderness itself to I mean, like, How on earth given what I’ve lived through for however many years, given my habits, given the way I feel even in freedom, the longing for the old, given my my, my discomfort or my my lack of familiarity with who this new identity is your new identity says that I am like, I mean, that that feels like a huge chasm for a lot of people. I mean, how do I how do I actually receive and practice living into a new identity that is actually more unfamiliar to me then than the old identity that I’ve known so well?

Dan Keefer 14:56
And so the question there is

Josh 14:59
also How do we? What would you mean? What, what do you make of that? How, like, if somebody recognizes Yep, for me to walk in freedom, the key is to embrace this new identity. How does a person do that?

Dan Keefer 15:16
Well, I think initially, there has to be the recognition that there’s an identity there. And so there’s there’s the messages that have been received over the years that need to be addressed. Being able to identify what’s true and what’s a lie, and making very deliberate choices to embrace what’s true. And also recognizing that in the midst of that, there’s going to be because of the way life experiences kind of get encoded into our very bodies and our very being there needs to be a way of recognizing that what I may be feeling is not an accurate picture of what’s real, and my I may not be feeling Like I have this identity, but being able to choose to believe that and over time, and this is a process, it’s not something that happens instantaneously, but over time, seeing what’s being felt matching up with what’s believed to be true.

Kit 16:18
So there’s going to be suffering, there’s, you know, we have to just, like be prepared. And none of us want that, you know, but there’s going to be suffering as a part of this with there’s without question, right?

Dan Keefer 16:32
Absolutely. So and that that’s a that’s really helpful move there. So that moves us into our fourth step of recognizing that suffering is present. And it’s that suffering that can influence someone to want to turn back. And so the Israelites their journey to the promised land, it included suffering. It wasn’t just this short walk across the desert and I had this picture of, you know, you walk from the car, across the sand and near the ocean, you know, Not just short jaunt across, I’d say right, right get into the cool ocean water. They were there. They were journeying for years. And as the story goes that they wandered, I believe it’s for 40 years. And it wasn’t that it took 40 years specifically to get from point A to point B. But there was work that God was wanting to do in them and through them and it was a journey of transformation. So as they were walking in the desert, there was a transformation that they were taking they were experiencing and it was marked by suffering. And when he read of the of the account, the Israelites were very much like we are they wind they moaned and they complained and even while they had this idea of this land that they were going to there was still this complaining that was present for them.

Josh 17:53
So what are what are the examples like so let’s let’s think about a you know, person recovering from a sexual addiction or another addiction or think of somebody who’s walked away from an abusive or emotionally meshed relationship, or whatever the other area is kind of or the you know, leaving some type of slavery towards freedom. What are the what are the corollaries? What are the what are the parallels? When it comes to the like what kinds of suffering I guess to our people are we are you talking about the people will can expect to walk through.

Dan Keefer 18:25
So, there’s the suffering that could be, you know, loss of consistency in a different again, in a different kind of example, when I made the move from Pennsylvania to Georgia, it was a move that both my wife and I believe God was in and he was having us make, yet there were aspects of that, that I experienced the suffering. I was in a new area, I was forming new relationships. There’s that that piece that people can experience the what’s a new it’s not familiar. There’s the old habit They could have been turned to in an effort to soothe but here a person is now left with left with their pain when we work with people there, there’s a statement that we may make that it can get worse before it gets better. Because this thing that we once had to provide comfort is gone. And so we can be left with the depression, we can be left with anxiety, we can be left with fear, we can be left with the question of who am I in the midst of that? And go ahead, Josh

Josh 19:31
was just gonna say I mean, to dovetail that I think that one of the other things that happens for people is if we’ve if we’ve kind of turned to our drug of choice for years and years and years, and some of us going back to when we were in adolescence or even pre adolescence, then part of the suffering is just it’s just the growth pains of like, oh, like when I run into this kind of situation in adult life, I have to deal with it. I you know, I have to have those hard conversations. I have to tell the truth. I have to admit that I was wrong. I have to, you know, fill in the blank. I mean Those things don’t, they do not always come without pain and difficulty as we, as we get stretched, our muscles get strained to become stronger as we’re intended to be as adult children of God.

Kit 20:15
And I think, you know, just adding to that acknowledgment that that’s going to be a reality and people need to need to have an opportunity to vent and express right. We don’t want to say yeah, it’s hard, but get over it, move on. You know, like, these are hard things and we must be able to as people who follow Jesus to not say, Well, you know, God’s with you. So you’re fine. We have to be able to say yes, God’s with you. And this is hard, right? So let’s talk about it. I want you to feel free to tell me about it to express yourself. And there in Danny and I’ve talked a little bit about this. There’s a difference between complaining and lamenting. So can I talk a little bit about that?

Dan Keefer 20:57
Absolutely. And thanks for for going there with that. Is that the complaining is it’s grumbling, its grumbling without having a focus on God, it’s grumbling. It’s it is that whining that there’s not a belief there that God is somehow present, aware, concerned, interested in what we’re going through. But lament is about a search for God in the midst of the suffering. And so we’re suffering, we’re not denying that and we don’t do ourselves any favors, and we definitely don’t do any favors for other people. If we tell them to just, you know, get up, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, suck it up and move on. It’s just not helpful. But being able to lament is saying, God, I’m suffering, but I’m choosing to believe that you are here and you are present. And I want to trust you, but it’s really really hard.

Josh 21:55
And what I love about that, and I love kid even your your, your gentleness and kindness Recognizing that the suffering that we go through, because I think some some would kind of say, Well, you know, it’s it’s my own fault for what I’ve been through. But the idea that God cares about the suffering we experience on this journey, and that it’s actually a connection point with them, really changes it. And Dan, what you’re just describing there is really flipping the old message on the head that says, the suffering that I go through the desert that I go through is evidence that God has left me that God doesn’t care about me that it would have been better back in the promised land. But what you’re what you’re doing is identifying suffering as a part of the journey is to say, it’s not that at all, it’s this is actually a part of your process with God, not something that you do as evidence that God is not there or something you have to go through until you get to where God is. But rather, this is a part of the journey with him towards the freedom you’re after towards the wholeness you’re after.

Dan Keefer 22:47
And this can really run counter, unfortunately to some of the messages that we may receive in particular Christian communities, where it can be believed that you know, you go to the altar, you pray You confess, it’s done. It’s taken care of which it is on that spiritual level in terms of our relationship with God, but there’s still the walking it out. And the walking it out can be so, so challenging. And if if you’ve received a message somewhere along the way that because you’ve confessed it, you shouldn’t be experiencing any pain or difficulty anymore. It’s just not a it’s not an accurate, accurate message. And, and one of the passages that I turned to when I think about suffering is in Romans five, Romans five verses three through five. Paul says that more than that, we rejoice in our sufferings. I mean, just even stop in there. What would it look like, if in our, in our times of experiencing praise that we would rejoice in suffering? That might be odd, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope that not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. And so even in that passage, we see that suffering is not just this meaningless thing that that we go through, but there’s purpose to it. And God’s doing a work in us, even as we’re going through the suffering.

Kit 24:23
And I think, you know, so often, I mean, I think three or four times this week, I’ve had conversations with people who’ve been like, Yeah, but, you know, I’ve been through this and I should be over this and just this idea that, you know, and like recovery, one of the main themes in recovery is one day at a time, you know, I’ll be sober today. And that’s enough for me. And so to encourage people that in to be able to walk through suffering that you will you sometimes it will be two steps forward, three steps back and it’s okay, just take it a day at a time and God is with you. And he knows that it’s hard. And so I think that just that being able to allow people to live a day to time and to take it a step at a time is really helpful too because we feel we should be over it. You know, sometimes Christians in our best intentions kind of imply that so I think that’s an important point.

Dan Keefer 25:20
In saying that kit, one of the one of the terms that I know that that we use with people is to talk about practicing self compassion, and self compassion, what that looks like is speaking with kindness, gentleness, no judgment or self contempt for ourselves or for someone else that we may be walking with, through this this period of suffering. That is the antidote to to being caught in despair and wanting to give up.

Kit 25:49
Mm hmm. Yeah, there’s it there’s both those things can live together, can’t they? This you know, self compassion and conviction. You know, you can be convicted That, okay, there’s something going on in my life. God, I hear you and say, and and, and I know that you’re with me and I know that you still love me. And I know that I can still have kindness to myself even though I have this conviction. And so being able to hold those things together is is challenging, but helpful.

Dan Keefer 26:21
A recent conversation I had with an individual person talked about, and I’m familiar with this myself is that if I’m really hard on myself, if I kind of beat myself up, metaphorically speaking, it will drive me to do better it will drive me to achieve it will drive me to get over or to move beyond whatever the behavior is. But the reality being that that when we’re harsh with ourselves, that ultimately doesn’t move us into the promised land to that to becoming whole. It really keeps us back and keeps us And slaved really. Yeah.

Josh 27:02
I think one thing way to think about that is that you know if we’re if our if the kingdom that we’re headed towards is Christ’s kingdom, and it is ruled by a benevolent loving God who himself has kind of been the fruit of the Spirit includes kindness, gentleness, self control those kinds of things. So do we do we arrive at his kingdom, you know, kind of all having battered ourselves in each other? Or do we arrive as as people who have been practicing kindness towards others and towards ourselves, and then it kind of in this in this realm, you’ve talked about this, this idea of the posture of your hands, or what your hands are doing? How does that play into this for people?

Dan Keefer 27:43
Yeah, this was this was really interesting to read. Dr. Greger wrote writing about this because this is an analogy that I’ve often used with folks and even use for myself. But this whole idea of the posture of our hands is an indicator of whether or not we’re moving towards wholeness. And so, what this is like if you if you even, you know, take a look at your hands or your hands typically clenched or are they open? Are they open and ready to receive something? Or in a posture of surrendering? Not just paying attention to your hands but even to other parts of your body? Is there any any tightness? Is there worry fretfulness anxiety, anger? Or possibly being being afraid? You know, do your hands rest on your lap or at your side? What What do you feel in your body and then not just the feeling of your body but the emotions that might be associated with it? That’s that can be a very significant way of paying attention to what’s going on inside.

Josh 28:47
So Dan, how is this I might have missed it. How does this connect with this with the journey like or as a like, Is there a practical with that? Is there a is is something that we Yeah, I mean, just Maybe connect the dots between that that observation about where we’re carrying emotion and how it plays into a stage along the journey.

Dan Keefer 29:09
Absolutely. So Dr. degraw, it references Henry now on who had envisions the human heart being like a clenched fist. It’s either unable or unwilling to let go of something. And so when when we’re making this choice to live out of a new identity, in a new land that’s going to be diminished when our hands are clenched, as if we’re holding on to attachments, or to experiences or behaviors of the past. And it’s often fear, that triggers that desire to clench or to hold on to things from our past. And so it’s when we come to the place of being able to open our hands and to have them in this posture of surrender. Surrender, surrendering to God but then also when our hands are open there able to receive the good gifts, they’re able to receive the life that God has for us.

Josh 30:06
Love that. So so let me let me just kind of jump in even so I can just kind of grasp myself like, grasp it. So that idea of self compassion, kindness towards self that we mentioned. Like really what what we’re describing here is not like if you notice yourself clenching onto something holding on to the pastor’s holding yourself tightly on this journey, like to have compassion, just, that’s just something to notice, like, Oh, I see that I’m doing this. And then there’s also an opportunity there, it seems to me to take a step of faith of trust, an act of the will to say, Lord, I see that I’m holding on to fear because that’s the way that I used to live in slavery, I used to have to be afraid of the one in charge. But now in this journey, I’m you are in charge of me and you hold my future in your hands and so as an act of my will Trust, you’re now going to, I’m going to open my hands and seek to relax myself in your presence. So something both that we can we can observe about ourselves and also take steps to try to to learn to live into it, I’d say, right, does that does that fit with what you’re sharing?

Dan Keefer 31:17
Absolutely, absolutely. That it’s such a, it’s such a significant thing whenever we’re grabbing. It’s even, you know, I suppose we’re sitting here talking, I’m doing this with my with my fist. I’ve seen my yap and, and there’s something that shifts inside. And then when I find myself with my hand being open, palm up, fingers extended. There’s something else that’s just inside and it’s, it’s soothing, it’s calming, and it’s freeing.

Kit 31:50
Isn’t it amazing? You know, we know that our bodies are a vital part of this, you know, mind body spirit, but we just forget and posture so much important when you guys were talking, I was thinking about how often I noticed when I sit down to do some centering prayer, and all of a sudden notice that my hands are like clenched. And, and I’m not receiving because I’m busy thinking about all kinds of things. And when I open my hands up, my mind starts to rest. It’s all connected.

Josh 32:24
So that reminds me of a time I was actually at a conference and I had gone up to the front invited people to the front for prayer, and I was I was just about to get married, and I was really afraid of getting married and excited to but also fearful too. And I remember as I was getting prayer, one of the I had my eyes closed, but one of the people praying for me, tapped my hand and they said, what’s in here and I looked down and my hand was clenched like a fist, and I didn’t realize it was clenched like a fist. And I thought about their question. I thought, Okay, what is in there? And I was like, you know, it’s, it’s, I don’t want to let go of control, I’m afraid and so they they were Unable to pray into that and then turn to one of the most powerfully beautiful prayer times where I ended up hoping my my hand to the Lord and man it was it was transformational. But So Dan, I want to ask you as we wrap up, could you, first of all very quickly, give us that one through five again, just so we can remember it? And then would you lead us in a little prayer, especially maybe around this, this peace with our hands, open your hands to the Lord?

Dan Keefer 33:23
Sure, sure. I can do that. So. So the first step is the recognition that that thing, behavior, that experience that once provided life, the recognition that it’s no longer doing that and what had once served you you have begun serving yet. The second second step being the steps toward freedom, recognizing that there can be a gravitational pull to return back to the life that was once known. The third step being this reception of a new identity, being able to recognize that new identity, the identity that has been been bestowed on you by God. And living out of that. The fourth step can influence us also to turn back and it’s that, that experience of suffering. So there’s a recognition that the journey of transformation is often marked by suffering. And then this first fifth step is the posture that we take with our hands, recognizing that, that closed fist, that grasping can be one of control coming from a place of fear, anxiety, or worry and learning to live with an open hand, an open hand that represents surrender to God, but also the opportunity and the willingness to receive from him. Beautiful.

Josh 34:43
Love it. Yeah, pray for us Dan we’d love to hear.

Dan Keefer 34:45
So I would just invite you again, wherever you are, and if it’s appropriate to where where you are at this moment, to just to take your take your hands, maybe you want to hold them out, extended from your body with your palms, Or maybe you’re resting them in your lap. But as you have your hands open, I just invite you before God, and God, we just all come together before you in these moments. We acknowledge that there are things in our lives that we have held on to and that we have grasped. There are things that if we’re honest that our knuckles have been white, because we have been squeezing so hard on on something that we’ve thought has provided a security or we believe that if we can only control a particular area that then we will find life and we’ll find safety and that will find rest. But the reality is that you ask us, you invite us to open our hands to extend our hands to you. And thank you that you’re, you’re not you’re not prying our hands open. You do this by invitation. You’re not like a parent who’s crying a child’s hands open to get whatever it is that the child holding in his or her pocket. But you invite us. And as we open our hands to Father, I ask that you would enable us to, to surrender whatever it is that we’ve held on to whatever it is that we’ve thought has been our source of life. And as you as you take that from our hands as you remove that, maybe also experience you placing, placing life into our hands and maybe, maybe there’s even for each of us individually, there’s something that comes to mind that we would envision you placing into our hands, not for us to grasp, that something that you would place into our hands, that would be a symbol, something that would represent the life, the new identity, what it is for us to be in that process of becoming whole. Probably thank you that you can you can do that you can provide something for each of us that that needs us exactly where we are. So Father again, we surrender to you. And in surrendering, we are open to receiving as well. And we pray this all in Jesus name.

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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

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