There is a story in the Bible that describes the miraculous account of Jesus raising a man named Lazarus from the dead. Prior to bringing this man back to life, Jesus commands the people gathered around the large cave like tomb to roll away the stone that was covering the entrance. He then raises Lazarus back to life! Now, it is a bit perplexing that Jesus would ask the people to roll away the stone. Think about it – Jesus, the one who turned water into wine, calmed the wind and the stormy sea —yeah, that Jesus — couldn’t move a boulder out of the way? Well, of course He could. Why, then, does He ask the people to do what obviously would have been trivial for Him?
Moving the stone was actually a huge risk for the people. First, as Martha, Lazarus’ sister points out, he had been dead four days, so there would most certainly be a serious odor, to put it mildly, from his decomposed body. Second, they risked Jewish defilement as a result of being exposed to this dead corpse. Third, this was no pebble! The stone was probably heavy, so this would require some effort on their part. Therefore, they had to believe that maybe, just maybe, Jesus could actually pull off this miracle. And, they then had to act on that belief and do what He was calling them to do. Now surely there was still some hesitancy and skepticism. Can you imagine the tension at that moment? The people watching and wondering if Lazarus would really be walking and talking again as if these four days were merely just a bad dream? Well, Jesus delivered as promised.
You see, God very often calls us to do something that we may not feel comfortable with or that is risky, or that, quite frankly, is just too hard. God is calling us to trust and believe in Him, so that we can then with wonderment and amazement watch Him absolutely blow our minds. And, those who take that leap of faith, those who are willing to take risks for God, those people, my friend, will not be disappointed. Those folks are StoneRollers®. You see, a StoneRoller® is a person who does what God calls them to do (the ‘possible’), and then expectantly waits for God to do what only He can do (the ‘impossible’)! Whether your ‘stone’ is a small pebble or large boulder, God is calling you to obey Him and then watch Him work!
What in the world does this have to do with toxic relationships, you might ask? Great question. At my lowest point of despair, in the midst of an extremely toxic and abusive dating relationship, God used this story to show me that He would ‘bring back to life’ everything in me that had been trampled on and was now dead and lifeless as a result of the relationship – but first I had to roll away some stones. God strengthened and restored me in ways that I thought were impossible at the time and set me on a path to freedom from the damage and destruction I was experiencing.
Once I was no longer in the relationship, my journey to wholeness continued and included other stones along the way. Stones like depending on family and friends to be my ‘brain’ when I could not see, much less think clearly, through the fog of the relationship. Or, like taking the time to reflect and understand the changes that I needed to make in order to move towards healthier relationships in the future. Regardless of the stone, I, at times with deep trepidation and hesitation, rolled them, and God delivered. Every. Single. Time.
In a toxic relationship, the false sense of superiority, power and control the abuser has can leave the victim feeling enslaved. Life becomes a daily chore of bearing the chains of self-doubt, dismay and despair. This is not the type of life God has called us to. How can we break free of these chains? You don’t have to stay captive. The same God who raised Lazarus from the dead, the same God who restored me, is the same God who restores the lifeless today.
What stone is God calling you to roll today? Perhaps out of curiosity you stumbled upon this website, wondering what all this talk about “narcissists” or “toxic relationships” is about. Maybe your stone is to learn more and help bring awareness to your community or church about this issue. Or, perhaps you have been concerned lately – concerned that there is something that doesn’t seem quite right about your friend’s girlfriend’s behavior. Maybe your stone is to reach out to him and have a more open conversation about it. Or, perhaps you’re concerned because you’ve noticed some relational behaviors exhibited by your brother that appear to be damaging and unhealthy. Maybe your stone is to intervene and help him get some professional help. Or, perhaps the toxicity described is all too familiar to you. You may have lived or are currently living it — captive and seemingly hopeless. I know a God who sets the captive free. Maybe your stone is to begin to set a plan in motion for your safe escape from your boyfriend. Or maybe your stone is to understand what healthy boundaries are and begin to enforce them with your narcissistic parent.
In all honesty, I can’t tell you what stones you need to roll, but I know the God who does. Maybe today is the day that you take that step towards wholeness. Here at StoneRoller® we are committed to standing by your side and giving you the resources you need. And, with eager expectation we look to our great ‘Lazarus raising’ God to break the chains of toxic relationships that ensnare so many. We are StoneRoller®. Are you ready?
P.S. — Wondering about all this “God-talk”? Think this is a bunch of fairy tales and myths? Maybe the stone you need to roll today is learning more about this Jesus. If you would like to know more, continue to check out the site for updated resources and feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you.