When You Feel Stuck in Your Skin: Day 11

Last night Jude came downstairs at least thirty minutes after he should have been asleep, and I asked what was up with my Mama face – why not asleep? He said his eczema was bad, so I put lotion on my hands, and I rubbed it all over his back, standing in the dark of my bedroom where the bathroom light shone on us. I could see his face shine in the mirror, his dimples, the way touch heals. He relaxed into me with the simplest, purest smile.

I hugged him big and turned him around to sit on my knees as I crouched in the floor. I would have wrapped my arms around him several more times were they long enough. I said, “I love you so much. I love you.” He laughed and said, “Mama, it feels like after I get in trouble, when you love me big like that,” referring to how I hug him and explain my love for him after he’s been disciplined. We never seem to connect more than in those moments.

I smiled and said, “yes, I love you the same before and after your trouble.”

Simple as that.

Jude at age 6 is already battling to unhook chains. He confesses anger to me often, how it’s not fair that other kids aren’t on a special diet (GF/CF) and how he just wants to do what other kids do.

I empathize with him. Sometimes all we feel is stuck in our skin, and all we can think about is how we want more and more and more. Sometimes my desire for sugar is a beast ravenously emptying drawers and shuffling through cabinets like a junkie. My heart can shop around on behalf of my body. My skin is a beggar, my wrath wants satisfaction, and my ego craves crowns.

Sometimes I just don’t feel free, even though Jesus Christ Himself hung on a tree and called me so. Am I a slave of my appetite, chained to my wants? If I believe that I am, then I guess I’m going to act enslaved, no matter the work already accomplished. No matter how decided I am about what I ultimately believe, it seems that belief must be as moment by moment as breathing on some days. The work is finished, but my actions don’t follow one decision I’ve made. My actions follow what I believe, and often I’m praying, “I believe; help my unbelief!

I have no recipes or I would whip one up and figure out a way to never satisfy cravings again. The only way I know to unhook the Chains of Desire, which isn’t one chain but rather one with thousands of chains coming out of it, is to treat them like weeds, pluck at them every day until they choke me less.

I pluck away lies by remembering and believing truth, so let me boil some truth down right here.

1. Remember the body as a metaphor.

This is a chain I can’t completely do away with until Glory, my body – the hungers, but I know this body is a vessel metaphor with the breath of God blown in. All my physical needs are a metaphor for what I am in truth and in Spirit. All my needs are met in Christ. My physical desires are pointing to a spiritual need every time. (This does not mean that we should associate the desire to be warm and fed or the desire to have a cinnamon roll with something negative. Know what I’m saying?) Ultimately all metaphors of desire have their answer in Jesus. Jesus is my cinnamon roll? Okay, maybe not that one. But He gives me bread. I do know that.

2. Pause and test the whisper. 

In the beginning Jesus was the Word, and He still is today. He speaks to me, ultimately through the Bible, and my mind is moldable and renewable, capable of pausing to test whether or not a whisper, a tug, or a craving is the truth. Pause to test what is the will of God. Hope for and act on transformation.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

3. Seek first things first.

When Jesus slipped into his mother’s womb, confined by skin and run by a beating heart, he came with a reflex that allowed him to receive nourishment. He confronted food and wine, puberty and lust, friendship and sleepless nights in His skin in a way that brought GLORY. I want a new habit of simply considering how he did it, how His aim wasn’t a stone castle and a jeweled crown.

I find myself struggling the most when I’m worried about my looks and my house, my stuff and how to take care of it. Honestly I waste a lot of time worrying with my kingdom, while Jesus’s kingdom comes in much more glory than anything I could Pin to Pinterest. Worry is an enemy of righteousness.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).

4. Know that He loved me first. 

I know He loved me first, before I ever smoked a cigarette or kissed a boy or developed a fear of chronic pain or of something grabbing me from under the bed. He loved me first, more than I love my Jude. On one side many worry that people will claim grace “that sin may abound,” but I’m done with that worry. I’m ready to be free to know that I was loved even before I believed, so I can act out of that love. Worrying that He won’t accept me is a chain that holds me to my appetites rather than one that keeps from them.

Do you believe that He loves you now?

Related: Chained by the Father Metaphor

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There’s a freedom I hear about that I just don’t always recognize in my life. I long to be free so much that maybe I’ve built a habit of feigning it. I would love it if you would like to join me in exploring this path to true freedom, A Study of Chains in 31 Days. You can follow along on Facebook or subscribe to these posts by email or in a reader. {Thank you so much, by the way, for walking with me.} Are you ready to shirk these chains?

About me


When We All Speak a Foreign Language
January 20, 2017
What do you taste?
November 08, 2016
If Love is the Only Goal
January 04, 2016
Women Set Apart
February 23, 2015
The Barbarian’s Heart
February 11, 2015
True Story
September 24, 2014
The Divine Face
December 06, 2013
Begotten: Notes from The Creed
October 15, 2013
The Need to Look In
October 10, 2013


Reply October 11, 2012

I do believe. I do.

(And there it is again, all that glory.)

Reply October 11, 2012

this is such good soak in your skin truth amber

Annie | annieathome
Reply October 11, 2012

Jesus is my cinnamon roll... I love you, Amber. So much goodness here. So much truth.

Jessica Y
Reply October 11, 2012

TRUE freedom can NEVER result in lawlessness. Only worship. Thanks, girl. This is good. I wanna print it. Put it all over my house. Maybe I'll just memorize it.

Reply October 11, 2012

"Honestly I waste a lot of time worrying with my kingdom, while Jesus’s kingdom comes in much more glory than anything I could Pin to Pinterest. Worry is an enemy of righteousness."

Gotta soak in this one. So good. Thanks Amber!

Reply October 11, 2012

I have been a lurker for a long, long time. I am continually blessed as you allow the Holy Spirit to move and work through your head and your soul. Thank you!

Reply October 11, 2012

Nothing to add except how much I love the way you put skin on truth. Bless you sweet girl.

Reply October 11, 2012

love love love this...... needed it this morning....

Reply October 11, 2012

Again, it's like you crawled into my life, my head, my heart. These body, pausing, listening, craving thoughts and questions are just what I've been wrestling with this last week. And today, as I recognize the limitations of this physical frame. Thank you, Amber. I don't doubt this post was for others, and for you, and for His glory, too, but I know -- really know -- this was for me.

Reply October 11, 2012

I have a girl like this, 6 years old too, eczema too, discipline and love, too...

Reply October 11, 2012

It is interesting how God uses repetition to teach me things, and the verse "I believe, help my unbelief!" has been recurring powerfully over me this month. Though I have believed Jesus ever- always- I did not realize how much unbelief was still rooted in me. Great things to remember here, how easily they slip and I find myself in chains so old that I don't even know I am chained.

Reply October 11, 2012

I love the things you write.

Lori Harris
Reply October 11, 2012

It's the chain of unbelief that is my daily undoing. Small lies, whispered all day and my neverending cry is Lord, Help My Unbelief!
And it's the knowing, and knowing, and really knowing that He LOVES me, that loosens the chains of everything else.
Yes, I do believe that He loves me today.
But ask me tomorrow and I may give you a different answer. =)
Thank you.
Just, thank you.

Barbara Isaac
Reply October 12, 2012

exceptionally good; thanks!

Reply October 12, 2012

I can't stop reading this - over and over and over and over. Thank you for always writing truth.

Diana Trautwein
Reply October 12, 2012

Powerful words, Amber. Thank you for assembling them so beautifully. Personally, I sorta like that image of Jesus as my cinnamon roll. At least once in a while. :>)

emily wierenga
Reply October 17, 2012

love this, remembering the body as a metaphor. love it.

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