Hardly ever do I directly reference the song or artist for my “Throwback Thursday” post, but this one is worth breaking my own protocols. I’ll never forget the first time I ever heard this song. I was in Memphis, Tennessee, for the International Church of God in Christ Convocation, sitting in the midnight musical, at the Cook Convention Center. I like the rest of the crowd was hyped about the appearances of Gospel greats, John P. Kee, Donnie McClurkin, and Fred Hammond, when the announcers took the stage to introduce this new group out of California. They said the name “Mary Mary,” my ears perked up.

I recognized the name, because they were featured on the “Prince of Egypt Inspirational Soundtrack”, a CD I had literally worn out the year before. I said to myself that I would finally get to see what these ladies looked like (predating the instant access of mobile Facebook and Instagram). But the person who took the stage was a bit out-of-place. I saw a big Latino looking dude, with a flannel shirt (yes, only buttoned at the top button), jeans, Chuck Taylors, and a pair of “locs”. Not only that, but he also had long dark hair, plated down like a real “OG”. He was out-of-place, because he was among “the saints”, dressed in full suits, and sequined hats. It took a few seconds for me to even notice the guitar hanging low from around his shoulders. The next thing I know he strums down the full neck of his ax, playing a funky distorted riff, that of course we all recognize today as “Shackles.” And I was like “WHOA!”

This song was bangin’, this sound was amazing and like nothing I had ever heard before. I sat in awe listening to this outstanding musical presentation, only to realize that I was one of the few, out of the thousands in the auditorium that was actually feeling it. I looked around, and most of the people weren’t even paying any attention to the stage, let alone the sound coming from it. There were only a few people, here and there, standing, clapping and moving to the grove.

Looking back at this moment, I see the irony. The audience wasn’t receptive to the song at all, simply because they had not heard it before; bound by what was popular, and known. If that same song were played today, before the same group of people, the house would be jumpin’! Mary Mary left that mediocre response of that audience, to go on and become one of the biggest acts in gospel music history.

Here’s the lesson:

Don’t allow the response of others shackle you to their opinions. Sometimes, we present ourselves to the wrong crowd, who, if given enough time, will ultimately come around to see how great you actually are. When you bound yourself to people’s opinions, you are hindered from fully walking in your God-given greatness. Free yourself from the limits of the crowd.

Jesus, when he went to his hometown of Capernaum, to preach and do miracles, His effectiveness was limited because the people had opinions. “Isn’t this a carpenter,” they asked in Mark 6:3. They also allude to knowing His family, of which they probably had many whispers; all to the point that “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. (v.5, New International Version)” Jesus ultimately leaves there, “amazed at their lack of faith. (v. 6 NIV).”

If Jesus could shake the dust from His feet, and break the chains of public opinion over His life, it’s time you do too! Their limited view of you can only restrict your trajectory, if YOU let it. So take the shackles off your feet and walk in your greatness.

© 2016 Derek J. Murphy Enterprises, and I AM KINGDOM Publishing, All Rights Reserved

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your family, friends and social media to help spread this encouragement. Thank you for reading!

“Shackles (Praise You)” was written by Erica Atkins, Tina Atkins and Warren Campbell. Produced by Warren Campbell. Performed by Mary Mary. Released 1999.

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