After the chains

Published 10:28 pm Monday, March 25, 2019

By Ariane Wiliams

If breathing is an action that takes in but also expels, then why do we hold in our passion without releasing it? Why do we allow our issues to suffocate our passion? If what you are doing is not passionately taking your breath away, then you are not breathing. If you are not breathing, then your passion is in need of resuscitation.

Recently, I gave each of my students a puzzle piece on which he or she had to write a word that summarized his or her life experiences. The students did not have any idea that the puzzle depicted a picture of three elephants in the jungle.

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The puzzle pieces carried the words sadness, love, anger, abuse, scared, fear, identity and passion. Each word claimed a place on the tusk, trunk, eye, ear, mouth, head, foot, leg, tail or a part in the jungle. After the chains, what are you going to do? How are you going to breathe?

There is something about an elephant that makes a person just stop and stare. There is something about an elephant that makes me feel like I am strong and you are strong.

As a class, we read some facts about elephants. The class was quiet as I discussed how baby elephants are chained when they are young not knowing that they are stronger than the chains that try to claim their strength. The students shared their hearts. They shared their tears as they talked about the chains in their lives.

“You are stronger than your chains” is what I told them. “You are stronger than your chains” is what I am saying to you right now at this moment. Stop letting your surroundings control the abilities of your strength. As the elephants grow, the chains are no longer needed to hold them, so why do they not break free? The physical chains that became invisible chains became a chained mindset. Do you have a chained mindset? There are no chains holding you back. God has already made you free; you just have to run.

You are capable of breaking free; you do not know how to control your breathing in the midst of running. Calm yourself. Control yourself. Build up your strength. The reason why you feel like you are carrying something around is because fear is trying to catch you in the jungle of your mind.

So many of us are walking around with chains that have been placed on us by family, friends, jobs, illnesses, finances, depression and more. Do not forget the power of your strength that comes from Him and that is already within you. For some reason, I kept thinking about the weight of chains, and it began to hold me down. I decided to research the “causes of a broken chain.” It breaks because of wear due to stretching. You better keep wearing that chain out until it cannot stretch anymore. It breaks because of the impact if it is hit hard enough. You better keep hitting it hard enough until it breaks. I can hear the chains breaking from around you. I can hear it.

I want to encourage you this week to purchase a puzzle from the dollar store. Get a marker and write a word on each piece that represents what you want to conquer in this new season of bloom.

As you put the pieces together, gain your strength and know that God is rebuilding you with every piece of your vision that you thought was lost and chained. Just as you put together that puzzle, you will begin to put together that plan that you have in your mind for your future. Now that your chains are broken, what are you going to do? You are an elephant. You are strong, gentle, and affectionate. You have the ability to break free. Your vision has been resuscitated; it is breathing on its own and is ready to run. One of my students told me this week, “When you feel like quitting, remember why you got started.” I began to breathe again after the chains, and so will you.

Ariane Williams is a teacher, minister, published author and liturgical dancer. Email her at