Break Free From Mental Chains!

A wise man once said, “He has not escaped, who drags his chains behind him”.

If we carry excess baggage, mental as well as physical, we will never break loose from the constraints that chain us to the past. It’s important to write a series on why people eat, because until we recognize the reasons we do certain things, we’ll never start getting better!

One of the hardest challenges we experience is to forgive others who have harmed us. Sometimes our minds just can’t forget and innately we find way to numb that pain. Usually by food. Food comforts us, it doesn’t talk back and releases chemicals that make us feel better.

I once counseled a woman who was brutally abused as a child. Even at 52 years of age, she still despised her mother and refused to forgive her for her cruelty. She was very vocal about how wronged she had been. She hated her father for not rescuing her and other family members for never coming to her aid. It was a very sad situation. She envied anyone who had a close family relationship. But it was even sadder that she failed to understand one important fact: She was hurting herself much more than she was hurting anyone else.  Apparently as her family went on with their lives, her hatred meanwhile, was like acid, destroying her from within. 

She self-destructed with food.  She had been denied treats as a child and this was one way she had control. She could now “eat as much as she wanted and no one could stop her!” She refused to forgive, and all the counseling in the world couldn’t help her because she had to want to get better more than I wanted it for her.  

Eventually I discovered another truth; she clung to her old way of life because it gave her power. “Come on”, you’re probably saying, “how does this give someone power?”

Power comes in all forms. Overheard one day in the waiting room, she talked about her childhood and the tragedies experienced. The woman beside her, consoled her, stroked her arm and sympathized over those terrible memories. My patient thrived on the attention. She had the mistaken belief that any attention was better than being forgotten or not worth saving.  So she capitalized on her abuse.

Is there anyone who wouldn’t want to go back and have a re-do over something they’ve done or said? Forgiving someone is never easy but forgiving yourself is sometimes even harder!   If you invited a guest into your home and they spilled a glass of iced tea, you would most likely say, “Oh it’s nothing, don’t worry about it.”  However, when we make a mistake, it’s the end of the world!!  “What a stupid thing to do.” “I’m an idiot!” “I can’t believe I said that!” Why are we so hard on ourselves? We aren’t perfect and God doesn’t expect perfection from us. 

Dedicate yourself to becoming a new creation. It’s not an easy process, but certainly worth the journey! Cling to Philippians 3:13, 14  which urges, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Recognize that God and you alone, can forgive others and yourself.  If God can forgive us our sins and send his beloved Son to die for our sins, then literally, for heaven’s sake, we should forgive one another, including ourselves!

Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” With God’s help, He will restore your attitude; you just have to be a willing participant.

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