Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Inhibitions - Lose them or Use them?

I suspect many people would expect to find a blog on inhibitions being about how to let go of them.

I'm actually talking about the opposite.

To inhibit means to suppress or limit something.

It is often thought of negatively as in:
"The chains around his ankles inhibited his movement and kept him locked in his cell."

We see inhibitions as a kind of prison, keeping the real us inside.

We see losing our inhibitions as a good thing - letting loose, getting a bit out of control, 'letting our hair down' - we feel like sometimes trying to be in control of our lives all the time gets draining, and letting go for a while is a relief. That's why alcohol is so popular. It strips away our inhibitions, and for that time we get the sensation of being free from any kind of pressure.

There's a Black Eyed Peas song that puts perfectly the feeling that a lot of us have towards losing our inhibitions. (Lets Get it Started)

But what if you consider it another way.

  • "The bandage inhibited the flow of blood from the wound saving his life."

  • "The life saving medicine inhibited the growth of the cancer."
  • "The thick walls inhibited the effect of the bullets so all of the children inside stayed safe."

Maybe we should be thinking of inhibitions as being protective. They are there to remind us what is safe/unsafe or sensible/embarrassing.

Whether alcohol induced or not - perhaps just sugar induced or peer pressure induced - we can all think of times when we've done or said something that has come back to haunt us. It could be through embarrassing photos or stories or ways we've offended people or damaged our reputation.

This is where the excuses come in:

- "I was drunk". As to that excuse, lets not forget who chose to drink the alcohol. That's you. And did the alcohol cause your body to take off your clothes and run through the yard naked? Did the alcohol choose to hook up with a random guy? No, the alcohol stripped away your protective inhibitions and let you feel like those choices didn't matter. But it all comes back to you, and your choice to do those things.

- "I don't care what people think of me."

Not caring what others think is good sometimes when it means sticking to what you know is right even if others are against you. Or when it means not being afraid to be yourself.

But not caring what others think to the extreme is damaging. The reason we care what others think of us sometimes is because often if we know most people would think what we're doing is wrong or stupid it alerts to the fact that we may be making a bad choice.

If you are completely uninhibited it's like turning of the smoke alarms and burglar alarms in your house. You might not know there's a problem until your house is already up in flames and robbed of everything valuable. (Ie your self respect, values, integrity, dignity, reputation, virginity, money, depth of relationships...)

People say " if you don't run your own life someone (or something) else will".

What is even more true is -  If you don't give God control of your heart, your heart will control you.

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." Jeremiah 17:9

We want to loose our inhibitions and go with whatever we feel like in the moment because it feels like a relief and its a moment of feeling good without having to worry about anything else. Being in control of everything in our lives is tiring.

But life is not meant to be something you struggle through just to escape it on Friday and Saturday nights. We are living under the lie that life is a burden and something we have to be in control of.

The truth is, God is in control. Of everything. That doesn't mean he's controlling you like a puppet - it means "Relax, he's got it covered."
Things going wrong? Relax, he's holding all the pieces. He's holding you.

We give up control to so many things - alcohol, drugs, other people - but for some reason we resist giving up control to God. God - our creator, our father, or saviour and protector.

Trust that God is good. God wants good things for you. God loves you. Truly loves you.

When we can really believe this, then life stops being a burden and a struggle, and starts being exciting and energising. I don't even just mean when everything is going right. Whatever is happening, when we truly believe God is in control we can walk through any storm with confidence and assurance. We can see hardships as challenges and opportunities. We can see the good things as amazing blessings.

Inhibitions are just another gift from God, protecting us and reminding us that there are boundaries. But when we let God set the boundaries, we actually find real freedom.