Close the Gate on the NegativeMy friend grew up on a farm and once told me that her sole responsibility was to close the gate behind her. That way, the livestock couldn’t backtrack into a field of alfalfa.

Back then, she thought gate closing was tedious work—just a lot of waiting. Then something happened. She discovered that gate closing isn’t prestigious or exciting, but it’s vitally important.

There are many gates to close on the path to restoration and recovery. Closing the gate means not allowing anything negative in your life that might keep you from a sober and healthy life. But if you think you can do this on your own, you’ll be sorely disappointed. After all, it is Christ who opens and closes doors, as the Bible says, “What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open” (Revelation 3:8, New Living Translation).

Here are some ways for you to close the gate on the negative:

  • Your job.
    If your work environment creates a large amount of stress or anxiety for you, consider a change. You would be amazed at how a healthy work life can transform your life for the better.
  • Your home.
    Your home should be a place where you can go to for peace and rejuvenation. If it is chaotic and unwelcoming, consider a change here as well.
  • Your close relationships.
    If your immediate family or people you surround yourself with by choice make you feel like you need to numb your pain to be able to manage to deal with them, spend less time with them or separate yourself from them. Also, consider seeing a New Life Counselor or a New Life Coach to work through the issues.
  • Your social life and fun.
    This is a crucial area. If you have hobbies or sports you like to play, go hard! And if you don’t know what vibrant but sober fun looks like, try joining a Life Recovery Group and doing activities together.
  • Your thoughts.
    How negativity can harm us the most is in our thoughts. Write in a journal, then look for a pattern. Look to replace any negative thoughts with the truth of God’s Word. Romans 12:2 says, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

When my friend’s mom used to tell her, “Close the gate behind you,” she was probably referring to negative influences in life. When we close the gate to the people, places, and things that influence us negatively, we will open the door to a new world of possibilities.

– by Steve Arterburn