Seven Steps toward Breaking Destructive Patterns
- Monday, January 10, 2011
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jason Frenn's recent book, Power to Reinvent Yourself: How to Break Destructive Patterns in Your Life, (FaithWords, 2010).
If you've been dealing with destructive patterns that have been damaging your life for some time, you can start to lose hope that change is even possible for you. Whether you're struggling with an addiction that's harming your health, anxiety that's interfering with your relationships, or some other kind of ongoing problem, after a while it's easy just to settle for life the way it is. But no matter how deeply you've been drawn into destructive patterns, God is ready to help you out so you can move toward a better life. God can give you the power you need to reinvent yourself and start living the life He wants for you.
Here's how you can break destructive patterns in your life and change for the better:
Discover why you want to change. You'll be motivated to change only when you clearly understand the reason why you want to change your life - and your reason is more important to you than any excuses you have for not changing. The most common reasons why people decide to change their lives are: because they're afraid of losing something, because they want to reach a goal, because they've become disgusted by their own behavior, and because they want to grow to become healthier. What's your reason? Ask God to reveal it to you.
Change your perceptions. Admit that the way you've been interpreting your life has been sabotaging your ability to break free of the destructive patterns that are holding you back. Recognize your need for God's help, give Him full access to your heart and mind, and ask Him to begin the process of changing you. Commit yourself to doing whatever God asks you to do during the change process.
Stop the cycle of generational dysfunction. If you don't attend to the dysfunctional patterns that you've inherited from your family, you'll likely repeat them yourself. So break the cycle before it can continue any longer. Start by giving leadership of every part of your life to God. Yield your own will to God's will for you, trusting God to lead you to what's best when you face daily decisions. Deal wisely with temptations to sin. Define in your mind which moral lines you will never cross before you actually encounter them, so you can build up resistance to those particular temptations. Read and memorize Bible verses that you can remember to give you strength whenever you're faced with temptations. Pray for the strength you need to resist any temptation that comes your way. Whenever you interact with loved ones like family members and close friends, pay close attention to your words, feelings, and behavior. Keep in mind that what you say, feel, and do has a significant impact on your loved ones - so ask God to help you interact with them in ways that honor Him and bless them.
Form godly habits. Changing the way you think will change the way you live, so ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind daily. Whenever you catch yourself thinking negative, unhealthy thoughts, replace them with thoughts that reflect biblical truth. Spend plenty of time reading the Bible so you'll be able to absorb its truth into your soul and draw upon it in situations where you need to change unhealthy thoughts to healthy ones. Participate in a church to join others regularly to worship, build friendships, and serve others together. Spend time with God often in prayer so you can take on more of His character and develop more of His love for others.
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