Friday, August 2, 2013

New Post: "A Time for Healing In Our Prisons"

Prison, whether real or metaphorical,
can be experienced in any part of our lives.
However, there are two considerations which make the difference:
  1. your perception or outlook, and
  2. how you use and respond to the time given.

I have experienced each multiple times,
and will share stories of others of which I learned, but first,

What are the typical perceptions which make up our “prisons”?

When we have the same routine, day after day after day with no change.
Being “stuck” at a job with no real end in sight.
The daily struggle with addiction which must be fed over & over again.
A body which has broken down and cannot do what you ask of it.
The mind which continually tells you that things are not what they seem.
Living in a small space, surrounded by people so that you never have a free moment.
Or, even being always alone with your own thoughts-
without anyone to ever converse or share time.
You may agree with some of these, or none of them.
So in either, what can you do to change your perception?

One definition of ‘Insanity’ in our society is this,
”Doing the same thing over and over again,
while expecting a different result to come about.”
In psychological terms,
I believe it is not just the repeated actions and words we speak,
it is the repeated thoughts on the same topic.

If all I ever think about is the fact that I am physically disabled,
then I will make my self either ‘crazy’ or ‘miserable’,
because it is the only thing I ever want to discuss,
and then no one will want to be around me.

When I was in prison, 
men complained often of the lives we faced.
It grew tiring very quickly.
A similar thing happened when I was in the military,
where the training each day grew monotonous,
until men were tired of one another, and their duties.
Family members grumble about the unfairness of home life.
These are when our perceptions can become our prison.

Instead of seeing the blessings of each day,
we see only the frustrations,
and we forget to celebrate small victories of the moment.

How do we use and respond to the time spent in our ‘prisons’?

I listened to one homeless man tell about the ‘prison of his mental turmoil’;
each day he struggled with the notion that people were against him,
seeking to harm him until he lost his job, home, and family.
Now he focuses on two things each day-
finding enough can & bottles to recycle,
so he can purchase food for his dog and himself.
He has to force himself to ignore the people he comes across,
because he is sure they are conspiring against him.
But he has found a solitary purpose in life.

I have seen stories of the physically infirmed:
writing stories, singing music, and even producing artwork,
which is then used to inspire others.

When I was in my prison of “cement & steel”,
I shared that I had goals to help others and to pray for them.
But God gave me that time to heal old wounds,
from the lies I had struggled with for years.
But rather than leaving me alone to turn over those thoughts,
he also gave me work to do each day...
to teach, learn, pray, and share Christ with others.
My prison became a time of healing,
and then God gave me a new purpose and focus on Him.

If you are struggling in a “prison” right now,
can you give your future to God?
Will you trust that He will provide you a way out??

First, believe that Christ Jesus is at work in you...
changing your mind from the old patterns of thinking,
to new thoughts of healing for your health and His glory.
Realize that the time can be used for healing from your past.

God will help you discover that you are His valued child,
and that your past does not define you future!

In this ‘time’, you will develop a new character,
provided to you by the Holy Spirit.

And when you doubt, remember Joseph-
from the early part of the Bible’s Old Testament;
he was sold into slavery, but gained favor and position.
Then he lost it and was sent to prison by false accusations.
But later God raised him to a new position of power and influence,
where he could be used to save peoples lives and bring God glory!
Can God do any less with you?

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