Saturday, September 5, 2015

New Post: "Focusing On What's Important - During Prison"

Focusing On What's Important - During Prison

Life is a series of choices,
and it is Our responsibility - Yours and Mine,
to choose wisely what we will do with our time.

Before Prison, I was often bored & restless,
looking for something,
and not understanding what precisely...
I chose poorly.

I chose to fill my time with anything,
instead of something specific and worthwhile.

Sure, I had some valid 'good-things' to do,
like attending church and volunteering,
taking college classes, and spending time with friends.
But these led me to a feeling of Entitlement,
of filling my time with things less valuable,
and certainly things more risky.
But why not? Didn't I deserve it??
I was lying to myself.
Chasing momentary pleasures in an effort to fill an emptiness inside,
and to hide what was missing from my life...
Meaning. Purpose. A singular vision to strive for.

During Prison, I was faced with still the more choices...
and I took the time to do all I could to better myself.
But why? What is there to do when serving time while incarcerated?
Gratefully, I had some experience in living a life of monotony.
I had been in the military, and worked afterward for many years.
Same thing, everyday, with no real understanding of what lay ahead.
I would then reflect back on my time and ask the most valuable question:
"If I could do it all again, what would I have done differently?"
So I began working hard to live for something new upon upon my release.
It involved three(3) key parts:

  1. Live for something bigger than myself,
  2. Improve my ways of thinking by learning, asking questions, and exploring new ideas, 
  3. Pouring myself into other people.
First, if there was a meaning to life beyond my own enjoyment,
what was it?
I knew God, but what I was missing was walking with Him daily because,
I figured I could do it all on my own without His help to guide me.

This meant listening more, and obeying, which is difficult for someone like me.
You see, I like my independence, and I reject authority almost as I breathe.
I had to learn to submit, each moment of every day.

Second, I began to focus daily on reading  books and physical fitness.
I practiced math - certainly a thing i would never practice normally.
And I made sure to eat, sleep, and exercise 6-days a week,
with one-day of rest out of obedience to God.

Third, as I learned, I shared with others.
At first, it was only with my wife.
Praying together on the phone, and during visits together.
Soon other prisoners took notice, and I began a simple bible-study.
I certainly wasn't an expert, 
but God didn't always use the officials to lead His people,
and so I was obedient to share what I could where I was.
This even developed into a chance to teach and tutor,
These were prisoners who decided to work towards earning their High-School GED.

And what happened as a result of all this "Work"?
Well, I was busy each day.
Which left little time for getting into yet more trouble.
Second, I grew in knowledge.
And third, I developed better relationships with other people,
both those incarcerated, and people living free on the outside.

If you could do things over again, where would you start?

What one thing could you practice each day this week for 15-minutes?

Where could you improve your relationships?

You dont have to have all the answers,
but putting in the effort will allow more opportunity for God to pour into you! 

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