Breaking Out of the Prisons We CreateSome of us are in prison. Not a prison made of four walls, but the worst kind of prison–a self-made prison.

Our prisons are built decision by decision, habit by habit. They could be prisons of . . .

  1. Anger, shame, or other painful emotions
  2. Addictions or unhealthy habits
  3. Abusive and toxic relationships

In our prisons, we get too comfortable and stay there. Why?

Because (1) working through our past trauma of anger, shame, or other painful emotions is hard, so we avoid facing the pain. (2) Addictions or other unhealthy habits offer us a little short-term relief; therefore, we refuse to do the hard work to give it up. And (3) some of us don’t want to learn how to take an unhealthy relationship and help it grow into a successful, intimate, and healthy relationship.

So, can we break out of the prisons we’ve created? Yes! The Bible gives us two keys to getting out of the prisons we’ve created.

Key #1: Remove whatever we worship instead of God.
When He gave the Ten Commandments, God warned us “You must not have any other god but me” (Exodus 20:3, NLT). Whatever we find comfort in, we will worship. God knows about our harmful habits and relationships—let’s be honest with Him.

With help, though, it’s possible to break free and remove these things from our lives. We can see a counselor, attend a Life Recovery Group, and find an accountability partner. In addition, we can become more aware of our behavior by asking ourselves these questions:

  • WHO was I with?
  • WHAT are my triggers?
  • WHEN do these bad habits occur?
  • WHERE does it happen?

Some of these questions can only be answered through the help of a counselor, going through the 12 Steps, and time spent in a Life Recovery Group. But by asking for help and becoming more aware of our behaviors, the more likely we are to find freedom.

Key #2: Change the way we think.
Whatever we focus on grows. When we dwell on someone making us a victim in our past, we can develop a victim mentality. If we constantly tell ourselves, “I can do it all on my own,” this is a fatal excuse that will stop us from getting help. Perhaps we think we can rescue other people and have a pattern of going from one unhealthy relationship to another; as a result, it will be hard for us to form healthy relationships.

Rather than letting these unhealthy thoughts control us, we can let God transform our thoughts! We read in Romans 12:2:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Although we can’t control all of the thoughts that come into our minds, we can choose whether we dwell on them. Here are several things we can do that will improve our thoughts:

  • Take a break from technology.
  • Choose entertainment wisely.
  • Do talk therapy with a counselor.
  • Meditate on Scripture.
  • Surround ourselves with people who support our growth and healing.
  • And finally, pray!

Remember, Christ came to set us free—not to enslave us. Isaiah 61:1 says, “He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.”

Do you need help getting out of your self-made prison? Call us at 800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433). Our mission is to help people find the path from prison to freedom.