I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my past. There are things I think about now that make me cringe or that even make me sick to think about. In the moment it seemed fine but self-reflection and time have a way of shedding new light on the past. I can see my mistakes, my errors, my sin more clearly now. I can see how those choices affected me and put me on a negative path, a path that I wish I had never set foot on. I know what I’ve done wrong and what I need to do differently. I stand strong and with great assurance that things will be different next time. Until I’m face to face with that same choice again. Then all my strength and the know-how are gone. I am weak and I easily give in again, stepping right back on to that no-good-for-me-path yet again. And this is how the cycle goes, over and over. While I have made some changes and I make the mistakes less often, I still continue to fall into the same struggles. Why do I face these same demons over and over? Why can’t I be stronger, better? Why can’t I change once and for all? Will I ever break free?
Maybe you can relate? Paul could. He shares in Romans “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. As it is, it is no longer myself who does it, but sin living in me. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep doing.” This is a little bit of a tongue twister, but Paul is saying that he desires to do what is good and pleasing to God. But he keeps failing and he can’t seem to carry through with his good intentions. Paul gets it, that the struggle is real (even 2,000+ years ago!).
So what do we do?? How do we combat the struggles of our past that try to overtake our future? How can we actually take control of our lives and do what we set out to do? How do we break free of the sin in our life? Later in the chapter, Paul tells us how. He says it is only through Christ. Through Christ we can have to power to overcome our past and live a life that is full of freedom and hope.
Tips for Breaking Free from our Past Struggles:
- Read and meditate on God’s Word. Find verses that speak to your struggle then read and think about them often. Place the scriptures in a place you will see them often (for me it’s my planner). Pray after reading the scripture, asking God to help you to overcome your struggle.
- Don’t put yourself in situations that will likely lead you back to your struggle. This one is hard for me. But I am trying really hard to be cautious and careful where and who I spend my time and with. This is especially difficult when you are lonely and long for connection, but the wrong connection is far worse than none at all.
- Think about where you want to be in a few years. Is what you are doing (staying stuck in the same sin and struggle) helping or hindering you from getting there? Really think about it and then make the changes you need to move in the direction you want your life to go.
- Stay close and accountable to people who will help you stay strong. This is another hard one for me. I want to keep my struggles and sin to myself, but the more I share with positive godly influences the stronger I will become.
- Finally, have grace for yourself. Remember you are human and we will all continue to fail for the rest of our lives (real encouraging I know). We shouldn’t beat ourselves up when we do slip up. When you fall short, talk to God about it and take steps to learn from it. God knows our heart and that’s what matters most.
I am writing this because I am living it all right now. Will you join me in breaking free? How do YOU break from your past struggles and sin? I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below (click on the title and scroll down if you don’t see the comment box).
Until next time, Let’s Live Bright!