Tag Archives: reallife

Self-Made Prison

Life is either a marathon or a sprint.  Regardless of the length, we do not know when the race will be over.  Yesterday is the past. Whether it was good or bad, today is another chance to get it right.   Our attitude, beliefs, actions, and fears have brought us where we are. Many of us have built up walls in our lives. We see the world in a certain way, and we tell ourselves that they are barriers to keep out the unwanted, but in reality they are prisons.   

Some of us think of a water glass as half empty while others see the glass is half full.  Neither is wrong.  A positive outlook, regardless of what we face, will help us as we move forward.  Nothing in our lives is permanent, change will always come. Bad attitudes magnify the negative and destroy hope.

Have you ever felt, that something may work for others, but not for you?  I have on more than a few occasions.  The problem with my thinking was that I was not willing to open up to new methods or ideas.  I was stuck in the mindset that my long held beliefs and preconceived notions were always right because I had been there before.  What I really had to learn was that the old way life played out that way because of the way I went about it. It was time for me to stop passing the blame and stop the never ending cycle I was on. It is never easy, but you must retrain your mind to stop with the negative thoughts and keep working to get out of your cell.

Every morning there is a new problem.  Leaving the house brings a new set of challenges. Do we stay home? Feel sorry for ourselves and cry? Turn to a vice to ease the suffering momentarily?

Evaluate everything and start with the things that you can fix now.  Come up with a game plan.  No journey is complete without a map – a route and a destination. Accept the facts and no matter how uncomfortable it is, face them, because each of holds the key to set us free from the walls that are holding us back.

The biggest and most formidable wall in life is fear. The fear of failure always looms.  The fear that we will go too far and be left alone.  The fear that we are just not good enough.  The fear that we do not have what it takes.  The fear that we will not be accepted by our peers.  All of these seem real, but the truth is we have built them up in our minds. The more we dwell on them, the more powerful they become.

At one time, I lived in a constant state of fear.  I had a fear that a normal life was for everybody except me. The fear paralyzed me and kept me from growing or reaching for my goals.  We can either become prisoners bound by our own outlook, or we can change our thinking.  It will be hard, breaking habits by retraining your mind, building new habits and learning all take time.

Saul of Tarsus is a man I have brought up before.  He grew up Jewish and by all accounts, he was set to be one of the great ones. He had a prejudice against Christians, and believed that they were wrong about Jesus and his way of thinking was right.  He went after the early Christians with a vengeance, even sending some to their death. It was not until he was blinded by Jesus himself and later regained his sight that he was freed from his self-made prison. He went on to accomplish great things that we still benefit from today.  He wrote fourteen of the twenty-seven books that make up the New Testament of the Bible.

It’s time to let go of the preconceived notions in your life that are keeping you locked up, and move on to accomplish the great things set out for you.

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:13

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fear

Fear.  It can stop you in your tracks.  Hold you with an iron grip.  It will impede your growth if you let it.  It comes in many forms, but today I will write about the kind of fear that holds you back from achieving your goals and dreams.

Have you ever thought about why you do certain things in life but avoid others? So many of us choose to do nothing rather than face uncertainty.  We often feel it is better to stay where we are than to risk failure or embarrassment.  The irony of this train thinking is: the more boldly you go after what you want and fail, the better your chances at future success will be.  Our failures help us on the path to success.

We avoid certain situations by making up all kinds of excuses.   When I first wrote my book I was asked to speak in front of a law enforcement conference.  They booked me for 90 minutes, so I would speak for an hour and the rest would be a question and answer period.

I said yes right away because I had gone undercover with one of the detectives who asked me and I didn’t want to look chicken.  I had never spoken in front of a crowd.  I don’t even remember speaking in front of a class in high school.  I had no idea what I was going to say.

I went to Youtube and I watched a few people speak. I bought a how-to book.  It was a couple of months off so I pushed it to the back of mind.  When it was only a few weeks off I started getting real nervous.  I started thinking to myself, why did I agree to speak?  Maybe I could play sick, etc. I actually thought about calling them and canceling. I pushed that all aside and made some note cards to use.  The day of the speaking engagement arrived and when I arrived there were, even more, law enforcement officers than they had told me would be at the event.  I was scared I would get up there and choke.  I was afraid that those people would laugh at me because I never went to college or learned how to speak in front of people.

I saw a couple of detectives that I had a history with.  We had been adversaries years ago when I was a criminal, but today they were joking with me.  I watched an FBI Special Agent speak before me, and he told a great story.  I tucked my notecards into my back pocket, took a deep breath and got out there.

That day I sold three cases of books and I even sold the one I had stuck under my car seat without a cover.  I could have sold more books, but I was out.  I ended up speaking for two hours total, and it only seemed like a quarter of that because the time went so fast.

It worked out better than I could have imagined.  That day gave me confidence that I could do anything.  I came to realize we all have the fears and that by embracing them and moving forward, it makes us stronger.

We each have certain strengths and weaknesses.  What if, instead of always building on our strengths, we learned to chip away at those weak areas?

I was speaking to my army friend last week.  We were talking about working out.  He has tried out a variety of fitness programs, ranging from Jiu-jitsu to just weight lifting.  He settled on Crossfit a few months ago.  He recently had to change to another gym, because the one he had been going to closed.  This new gym was farther from his home and bigger, with a lot more people.  He was nervous about going there to train.  He took a class on weight lifting, and he met some cool people.  He found out the other people he met were nervous just like him. He was really glad he pushed himself into going.

We all express fear and discomfort in different ways. Some people act tough, others laugh and others may cry.  I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone this week.  Take that risk, face your fear, and find out what you are capable of.

Isaiah 41:13

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

1 Peter 5:6-8

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.