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How To Break Free From A Dead End Life
by Greg Baker
4/12/2010 / Christian Living
In my role as a Pastor and counselor I encounter many people who have found themselves seemingly at a dead end in life. Not only do they lack purposeor the purpose they have is not one they sought or wantedbut they seem to blunder from disaster to disaster on a fairly consistent basis. And they can't seem to break away from it. Every attempt to break away ends up landing them back in it.
There are many, many people who have such a life. For the most part, unless they're fairly young and inexperienced, they don't even need to be convinced that they need to break away from their lifestyle, they just don't know how to. All the advice in the world to improve their life is pretty much in vain unless they can somehow break free.
And it's not easy to break free. Lifestyles are habit forming. This is a wonderful thing when the lifestyle is healthy and purposeful. But when the lifestyle isn't, it is like being covered in chains with a hundred pad locks hindering all efforts to remove them. At this point, it doesn't even matter how they got involved with the lifestyle to begin with, they simply need to break free.
To break the chains of a dead end life, follow this procedure:
FIRST, LIST ALL THE THINGS YOU THINK YOU SHOULD BE DOING
You'll pretty much already know the things you ought to be doing different. When I counsel people, they will invariably say something like, 'I know I should be coming to Church', or 'I know I shouldn't hang around that person', or 'I know living there is a bad idea', or 'I know that I should involve God more in my life', or 'I know I need to get some help for that', or 'I know I should get a job', and so forth.
Most people in a dead end life already know what they need to do different. They've had people tell them already, or they already figured it out.
So list them. Get a piece of paper and list all the things that you know you ought to be doing different. If you aren't sure, get some advice from those that love you. But write them all down.
SECOND, LIST ALL THE EXCUSES AS TO WHY YOU CAN'T DO THEM
When I talk to people in a dead end life, they will always come up with excuses as to why they haven't been able to change. Fine, write them all down. Write the thing you should do different and then, underneath it, write all the reasons and excuses that prevent you from doing it.
Don't say, "Well there really isn't any excuse, I just need to do it." That won't help you. There is, in your mind, reasons for why you can't change. Write them down. Be honest. What justifications do you have for not doing the things you know you need to be doing? Write them all down.
When someone says, 'I know I should be going to Church', I'll nod and respond with, 'Okay, tell me why you haven't been coming'. I want to know the excuses, because the excuses are the weak areas in this person's life. The excuses show me what it will take to overcome the problem and break free from their dead end life.
THIRDLY, INSTEAD OF CHANGING YOUR LIFE, DEFEAT THE EXCUSES
As already stated, your excuses are the areas that indicate your weaknesses. They are the areas holding you back from the changes in your life that will free you from the dead end life. It is at each excuse, each justification, and each reason that keeps you from changing where you need to concentrate on changing.
Instead of changing your lifestyle as a whole or your life in its entirety, try to change each excuse and each justification. Think of yourself as a general planning to invade enemy territory. Plan to defeat each excuse and each justification. Change the conditions that create the excuse and alter the circumstances that produce the justifications.
If you say, 'I can't get a job because I can't find a babysitter for my children', then stop looking for a job and start finding someone or a program that will be willing to watch your children. If you then say, 'But I don't have transportation', then stop looking for a babysitter and start looking for transportation. Go after it. Get determined.
Your greatest enemy is laziness. Any excuse can be overcome. Any justification can be defeatedif you're willing to and really have the desire to get it done.
I met a man who told me the reason he couldn't get a job or make it to Church in the morning was because he didn't have a bed. He was always tired because he slept on the floor all the time. Right next door was a pickup truck with two mattresses and two box springs. I went over, knocked on the door, and asked what they intended to do with the beds. They were taking them to a dump. They were good beds, but they had been left behind in some rentals and they didn't need them. They gave them to me. I hauled one over to this guy and said, 'Here's a bed for you!' He blinked and said, 'Where did you get that?' I told him and he responded, 'Wow, I thought about going over there, but I guess I never got around to it.'
His problem wasn't so much the lack of a bed as it was laziness. His excuse was easily taken care of, but if he doesn't overcome the laziness he'll merely invent more excuses.
Tackle your excuses head on. Once you take away all your excuses and justifications, you'll find it fairly easy to change your life and your lifestyle. Get determined. Get it done.
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