When you think of a prison, what do you imagine? The stereotypical concrete building with razor wire fences and bars in front of every tiny cell? Where everyone dresses alike and is told what to do and when to do it 24 hours a day?
There are other kinds of prisons, though. All kinds of them. Many of you have been in them. Perhaps many of you still are.
Those are the prisons you put yourself into. Or allow someone or some circumstance to put you in there. And keep you there.
There are no guards preventing your escape. The only person preventing your escape is yourself. You’ve gotten so used to living in that prison, you don’t think you could live any other way.
You honestly don’t realize you’re imprisoned. And that’s the saddest part. Because almost all of the prisoners in a brick and mortar prison know why they’re in there, and when their sentence will end, and they can usually tell you exactly how much longer they’ll be in there. Many of them have attorneys still working on their behalf, filing appeals and/or for parole. There’s light at the end of their tunnel, no matter how far away it may be.
But the prisons we put ourselves into because of our circumstances or our unwillingness or fear of changing our situation….those prisons can put us into a life sentence from which there’s almost no hope of pardon or escape. Our friends and family may give us advice to help us escape; they may give us wise counsel or support to encourage us to move on; they may even provide other creature comforts that we need, but in the end we’re still stuck in that prison of our own making.
Because we’re the only ones who can get ourselves out. We become our own attorney, judge and jury. The problem is, we give ourselves no mercy; only condemnation. As far as we’re concerned we don’t deserve anything better.
We sentence ourselves to these prisons for a variety of reasons. Many times we remain stuck in the past, a victim of someone else’s cruelty or selfish motives. We were treated so badly, that even when we physically escape we’re so caught up in that past victim mentality we can’t seem to put it behind us. And we remain a prisoner of our past.
Or we’re so used to our current unhappy circumstances we can’t seem to find the key to unlock the door that keeps us prisoner. And even when we’re handed the key, and given all the tools to get us out of that prison once and for all, we’re too scared to make the move. Like repeat offenders who keep returning to the prison life they know so well, we just don’t think we can adjust to any other life.
So many other emotions can keep us prisoners in our own mind, and prevent us from walking out and starting over into a new life, filled with the promise we do desperately want. The guilt, depression, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness that’s become our constant cell mate just won’t let us leave them behind. Because they’re not changing, and they won’t let us either.
And we’re stuck in that prison.
Until that day we take a deep breath, look around, and say I’m done with this cell! No more! I’m out of here! I want to live my life in freedom and happiness! And we break free and finally do it!
Sure we’re scared. Like an inmate who’s been released to the outside after years of incarceration. We aren’t sure quite where to start. But we know we don’t want to return to that life again. And once our mind is made up, we plunge ahead to
start that new life.
No, it’s not always easy. It’s scary at times. But the freedom, and actually becoming that person you always wanted to be is so much better than living in a prison of unhappiness and misery.
Right now, I’m handing you the key to unlock that prison door. The key that will help you escape, and help you start again.
It’s called faith. And hope. Self confidence. Determination. And the knowledge that YOU can do this! Sure, you may stumble a bit on the way, but who of us doesn’t? That only adds to our strength.
What prison are you breaking out of?
And what’s keeping you from doing it?
There’s no better time than now.
Because tomorrow may be too late.