A Study of Chains in 31 Days

My Mother-in-Law mentioned on the phone the other day that Paul referred to Himself as a slave of Christ, and with those words a cold washed over me, and maybe time bent slow. I opened my eyes there, in the kitchen yes, but at my life as a whole, at the filmy haze glossing me over, lulling me in a walking sleep. I gave sideways glances all around to a number of hypnotists. They called “sleepy … sleepy,” and I snapped at myself. Wake up! Their watches stopped swinging, and there I stood awake wondering – what does it mean to be a slave of Christ when I feel so bound by this world, my body, my thoughts and emotions, the sugar, the bank, and the pride, so bound by my history, the English language, the South, and the Bible Belt with it’s buckle undone.

I wrestle with this–if I write out this struggle, what will you think; will I turn cliche like chicken casserole at a church fellowship supper?

I’m a divided slave in chains, but I’ve heard it before that it was for freedom that I was set free. I can’t love with all the holding back. Being held to one keeps me from the other.

I’m going to do it, try the diligent way, to write this out for 31 days. Sometimes I’ll write long and other times I’ll jot a line. I’ll keep my usual themes, and I’ll study the chains along the way, because I must.

Day 1: Intimacy is at stake, and I’m pretty sure I believe that intimacy is why we’re here.

Day 2: Overwhelming self-awareness turns out to be unbelief.

Day 3: The Chains of Mother Guilt.

Day 4: Fear of the Good Man Gone Bad

Day 5: Rest.

Day 6: The Chains of Time

Day 7: Pleasing a Man

Day 8: The Chains of Old Love

Day 9: Chained by the Father Metaphor

Day 10: Quietly unchaining myself without posting. :)

Day 11: When You Feel Stuck in Your Skin

Day 12: The Chains of Nervousness

{linking with The Nester and using image under creative commons license}


  1. Nice post. Let’s get started…
    Mine is 31 Days in Jakarta. Hope you like it. It tells you all about the daily life an Australia Expat family faces in a strange city in Asia.
    midnightvisitor recently posted..31 Days In Jakarta Day 2

  2. It surprised me you slipped on this chain of obligation, but I’m thinkin’ with the way you’re planning to write it, it won’t feel chainy at all. Raw, intimate, nuanced and plumbed deep, but not cliche.

    I’m so glad you walked into this writing spot when you flirted with walking away. You’re destined, Amber, and I’ve known this since I heard you speak. This, not for you….for another :).

    love you
    Robin Dance recently posted..PLEASE say you’ll join me for 31 Days of Europe?!

  3. Amber, what a great challenge you have chosen (; This is my first time at doing anything like this…it’s amazing how God leads us to find exactly what we need at exactly the right time. I found your blog via The Nester and so glad I did. Can’t wait to come back for more posts and may these 31 days be more than you ever imagined.

    In Gratitude,
    31 Days of Preparation with The Homesteading Cottage

  4. bound. sleepy. that’s me. and i’ll read some more.
    kendal recently posted..waiting for the sun – how anorexia affected our marriage

  5. the Bible Belt with it’s buckle undone. Girl, don’t you know I know it.

  6. Amen.

  7. I can’t wait to read it. I need to read it.

    Stephanie Precourt recently posted..To every thing there is.

  8. I’m going to travel right along with you! Is that ok?
    Barbara Isaac recently posted..October 2012 Letter–Dear Books

  9. I’ll be there at every link of the chain, rattling and rolling, and slinking and sliding as your chains link arm in arm locking out the cliche, chicken casseroles and the rest. Fencing in Truth. As you shackle words around a month of Sundays.
    Elizabeth recently posted..Savoring – Day 2

  10. Looking forward to reading your words this month Amber, you do inspire with who you are.
    Shelly Miller recently posted..I Never Expected This

  11. For the last few months, I’ve been doing study of the word “doulos.” Doulos, meaning slave or bondservant in the Greek… I will be following, Amber. Thank you for taking on the challenge.
    Jennifer@GDWJ recently posted..Happy October … From Our Farm to You.

  12. Cannot wait to read this and maybe journey along for a bit of the way.
    Kim recently posted..ghosts

  13. Yes, yes, yes…just where I am. Bound by the obligations of life, that keep me from intimacy with the King.

  14. A study of chaines or a study of Amber C. Haines? ; )
    the Blah Blah Blahger recently posted..THE NAUGHTY TYPO

  15. Oh, perfect. Thanks for being willing. And you’re right, I think. We are created for intimacy – show us the way, Amber.
    Diana Trautwein recently posted..31 Days in which. . . I Am Saved by Beauty

  16. Lynn Morrissey says:

    This is a brave topic, Miss Amber, and you are a courageous, transparent writer. Ah chains….and you don’t mean the pretty or innocuous kinds–i.e., daisy chains, gold-necklace chains, key chains, paper party chains, prayer chains, chain-link fences…..no, you mean the invisible kind, more real, more menacing that get a stranglehold and squeeze the life from your soul or shackle you motionless—those addictive, worldly chains (that you listed), for which Christ died and from which He promised to set us free. Wow…you even mentioned the Bible-buckle chain, and that alone could be a full-length post (or two)! I think sometimes I can get chained by my own intransigent Biblical traditions, and not allow myself to be liberated by actual Biblical truth; because, indeed, the truth does truly set us FREE! I love that you are willing to address the tension of paradox…..how can slaves to anything be free? Slaves aren’t free! But if we become slaves of Christ, then amazingly, He sets us free from all those weighty chains that fetter and shackle and bind. Being His slave, I’m free from the guilt and shame of sin and from anything that robs, destroys, and tethers. I am looking forward to your powerful posts and to see where you, Amber, slave of Christ, are letting Him unshackle you from the world and chaining you to His heart. I pray I too can be set free!

  17. Oh Amber. It has been such a pleasure for me to come to your blog and read such refreshment. I’m not sure how I first came to read your blog, but read constantly when your little Titus was in the hospital and Sarah Bessey was keeping us updated on your updates. When I saw what your topic was for 31 days I thought ‘oh my that is brave’ and reading through your very first entry spoke so keenly to my heart. Thank you dearest sister in Christ for choosing to emrace this discernment in your life and sharing it with us. May your journey be blessed and continue to be blessed.


  1. […] see, it turned into chains, and the point was to enjoy life more, not be enslaved by an arbitrary self-imposed commitment. So […]

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