At first, she resolved to fight against Gothel with all her might. She would never give up her right for freedom. She wouldn’t rest until she walked out of her prison. But then, she saw her hero climb through the window of the tower. Unaware, Eugene fell for Gothel’s trap and ended up with a dagger in his side.
Rapunzel bargained. She would stay in her tower, if only she could use her gift to heal her beloved. “Please, let me heal him,” she begged. She offered to stay with her captor, in exchange for his life. A life of bondage, for one opportunity to use her gift. For Gothel, this was a gift worth considering. She agreed.
As Rapunzel started wrapping her hair over Eugene’s wound, he begged her not to give up her life for his. “Rapunzel, no! I can’t let you do this,” he cried. “And I can’t let you die,” she replied. “But if you do this,” Eugene said as she tried to comfort him, “then you will die.” Before she could start singing her healing song, Eugene used his last bit of energy, to pick up a piece of broken mirror, and cut off her hair. With his final breath, he released her from her agreement with Gothel.
Gothel’s was drained of her power in an instant; and in the shock of seeing her ticket to eternal youth disappear, she tripped, fell out of the tower and ended up in a puff of dust on the ground. Rapunzel was free, but she had lost something much more valuable than her hair. She lost Eugene.
In a desperate attempt to save his life, she put his hand on her new, short crop and sang her healing song. Realising that she had no external power to draw on, she held him close, as a tear rolled from her cheek unto his. Suddenly her healing power started working again. But this time, it wasn’t radiating from her head, but from her heart.
Up until this point, I had not really drawn any connections between the role of Eugene in Rapunzel’s story and the role of Jesus in mine. But you see, recently I have been relying very much on my head to work my way out of bondage, rather than allowing freedom to flow from my heart. I am still learning, but here are some things that I have been uncovering with the help of the Spirit:
Stop hustling for the freedom that is already yours.
There are times when I make myself tired, trying to work out my own issues. I stop relying on Grace to do its work in me. I stop using my faith and I start to lean on my very limited understanding. Yes, we do have to resist the enemy. We do have to be stubborn and refuse to believe his lies, but we do not have to negotiate for our freedom. We already are free. It is our birth right.
I heard Nancy Alcorn speak at a women’s conference and she said something that changed my perspective dramatically: “We are not fighting for freedom, we are fighting from it.” The enemy’s power is only in making us believe that he has the power to keep us bound. Often time he uses our very gift and talents against us.
Your gifting cannot set you free.
As long as Rapunzel’s hair was in working condition, Gothel had the strength to overpower her. It is often in our trying to serve God, that we empower the enemy. I had to learn that my gift, my sacrifices, my good works, none of these things could add to what Jesus made available for me.
My freedom was not found in what I could do for him, but what he had done for me. Just like Rapunzel had do drag those meters of heavy hair everywhere, I have felt the heaviness of my need to perform for my freedom. Maybe of I prayed long enough, hard enough, said the magic words? But there is no magic required, only the revelation of what is already yours!
Don’t settle for a life of bondage in exchange for using your gift.
I tried for many years to untangle myself from my bondage to eating and weight issues. I couldn’t do it. I still can’t. And then I settled for a life of bondage, because I believe it wasn’t part of the plan. I believed that the struggle would never be over. And that made me feel bad. It made me feel “less than.” So the enemy had another snare set up for me: one where my gift became the trap.
Using my gift, to give me identity and a sense of purpose appeared to be a good thing, but I was still trapped in my prison. It may have looked like I was doing great on the outside, but I was still struggling to get free. If I wasn’t used or recognised for my gift, I crumbled. Alone. In my tower.
“Just let me do one more thing for God!” It may sound very righteous, but if we’re trying to earn something we already have, we’re only empowering the enemy by coming into agreement with his lies.
Jesus gave up his life for you, so you can have and enjoy your freedom.
By the blood of Jesus, we have been set free from every agreement we have ever made with the enemy. He no longer has any power over us.
Children of the King do not have to strive for their birth rights. But how often do we live that way? Struggling to get free. Using our gifts to try to please God. Or to make us feel better about ourselves. Jesus came to set us free from all that junk. All of it. The need to hustle. The need to please. The need to perform.
He gave up his life, so we can enjoy our freedom. He didn’t just set us free from the tower, but he set us free from ourselves!
The truth is there will be times when you feel tangled up in old thinking or behavioural patterns. Breaking free from pleasing and performing, has been a huge process for me. But I simply need to remember to go to Jesus for a haircut. I simply need to ask him to release me again. And then I need to get out of that tower and enjoy my freedom. My extremely, costly freedom.
Let go of what you know and embrace Who you know.
Most of my life I have strived for freedom based on what I know. My heart constantly playing catch-up with my head. But is not knowledge that set me free, it was an encounter with my Beloved, who burst into my tower and showed me how much he loved me. The more I have come to know him, the easier it has become to walk in freedom. Freedom that comes from the heart, and not the head.
Freedom becomes effortless when we disengage from what we know, and embrace who we are. Then we are truly empowered to use our gift not to earn freedom but to simply carry it, in our hearts. Ready to impart to others who so desperately need it.
Today, I find myself back in the tower, asking Jesus to set me free from striving. I have become tangled up in works and performance again. But it is going to be just fine, because I know the Truth. Today, as I quieted my heart to hear from him, he reminded me of this scripture:
“For if you embrace the truth, it will release more freedom into your lives.” says John 8:32 in The Passion Translation. And there, I found this little footnote:
- John 8:32 The truth Jesus gives us releases us from the bondage of our past, the bondage of our sins, and the bondage of religion. Jesus is speaking these words to those who were not fully free from man’s traditions. Truth must be embraced and worked out through the divine process of spiritual maturity. The Greek word for “truth” is reality. To embrace the reality of Christ brings more freedom into your life. See the book of Galatians for a clear explanation of the freedom Jesus refers to here.
Today, I pray that we will remember that we do not have to fight for freedom, because it is our birth right. May we realise that our enemy is nothing more than a puff of dust. The only power he has is what we give him, by believing his lies. Lies that tell us that we have to earn our freedom. That we have to work hard for what is already ours.
May we remember to embrace Truth today, and allow him to set us free from our efforts. Letting go of what we know, and living from who we are. Completely, perfectly loved.
(You can watch the clip from Tangled here.)
Today, I hear the Father calling: “Beloved Child, there is nothing you can add to the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness that I have given you, through my Son. You are perfect and complete in him. You are free. I am fully pleased with you, and have marked out a path for you to walk in your destiny and purpose. You do not have to figure it out. You simply have to put one foot in front of the other, and follow. I will never leave you to work it out, or carry the weight of your destiny on your own. I am here to guide you, empower you, and most of all: love you.” ❤