In a world that seems to be decreasing in morality, I often find myself torn in a dilemma of what I think is right and wrong. It’s so hard to tell the difference sometimes. So many times I want to do the right thing, but is it the right thing? I step out and, when I do, it seems like I get criticized for it. Because of this, I keep falling in the same trap over and over again. Don’t worry, I didn’t read your journal. I’m talking about me.
This is how I learned to crawl out of the trap. How I am continually learning to win the battle.
I have been reading a book called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey and it seems to cut me deep. One chapter in particular talks about “beginning with the end in mind.” In the book it talks about how we can use our imagination, and in our mind we can develop our future.
The chapter opens up with an exercise: picturing your own eulogy. What would be said about you? What would you want said about you?
Once you get that image deep in your mind, figure out how you are supposed to get there. Then take the steps to do it.
In my story, I have struggled with the same battle my entire life. This battle is one that continually conquers the male race, and occasionally the female. My battle of life: lust. It’s not always to the extreme that others would think. But it has been in times past. And like a well designed roller coaster it twists; it turns; it goes up, and down; and just when I think it is almost over, there is another drop. It’s a ride I wish I never bought the ticket for.
My pastor, Mark Kresge, once said, “Some battles last longer than others.”
Some battles come at us and we conquer them. One swing of the sword and the battle is won. Like the first fight scene in Troy, when Achilles finally shows up. We run into the battle and it’s like the enemy can’t touch us. We juke, we dodge, we leap, and in one smooth stab, down goes Boagrius.
But there are other battles in life that are not so easily won. In my battle of lust, of bad relationships, of giving in to making others happy, I begin to feel like the US military does in Iraq. “Will this ever end?”
I recently got tired of the fight. Instead of giving up, I decided it was time to re-strategize. If I’m not beating the enemy with my current tactics, maybe I should get new ones…
Using what I learned from Dr. Stephen R. Covey, I began to use my imagination.
Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Einstein, known for his knowledge, teaches us that it is all about the imagination. Take a second to think about this next thought: Everything you have ever seen, touched, tasted, smelled, or heard, was first a thought developed in someone else’s mind.
I have always been one that believes in mind over matter, ask anyone that is close to me. I will think myself warm. I will speak myself healthy, I will visualize something and make it happen. I believe in the power of the mind, and I believe in the power of imagination.
So when I read about imagination in this book, I began to see it. I began to picture my battle in a new way. I would imagine myself in moments of extreme pressure. Moments that, in times past, I had failed at overcoming over and over and over again.
But this time, I did something differently. I began to see myself WIN.
I would try and get so deep in my imagination that I would mentally run through all the senses of that moment. What was I doing? Where was I? What could I smell around me? What were the sounds in the moment, in the background? And just at that moment, where my body would usually be taken over by desire, I would see myself breaking the chain. I would envision me not giving in to what always had control over me.
I. Saw. Victory.
And in those moments of visualization and imagination, my life forever changed. I don’t want to live an empty life anymore. I don’t want to run from one person to the next, trying to fill a void that I know only God can fill. I don’t want to listen to what culture tells me is love, what culture tells me can make me happy. I don’t want to listen to culture at all. I want more for myself, and more for others.
I began to apologize to those of the past, and cut off ties that were not healthy. And let me tell you this, it was not pretty. I learned some (terrible) things about myself that I never knew, and I even learned some things about my mom (i.e. Son of a…). Things that weren’t really true, just others reactions to my cutting ties. But I didn’t take them to heart. I have made mistakes, several mistakes. But if I get criticized for taking a step to better myself, then I know I am headed in the right direction.
The enemy doesn’t want us to come out of bondage. The enemy wants to keep us there. Any time you step out of that life and onto a better path you will face opposition. But just close your eyes and see it. See the victory. See where you want to go. See the steps you need to take to get there, and take them. It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it. The last few months have given me more progress than the last 10 years. Honestly.
In the dilemma of right and wrong we must continually seek The Lord through prayer and reading His Word. As I said in the beginning, it is so hard to tell what we should do sometimes. Culture is so good at meshing morality and immorality that it scares me sometimes. It reminds me of a scripture found in Matthew 6:23 that says, “…And if the light you think you have is darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Meaning when the darkness starts to look like light, we are in trouble.
We will still fall. We will still make mistakes. But we begin to stand up and move past it. You can make it through whatever you are going through. And if you aren’t going through something right now, save this page. Bookmark it. At some point you mady need it. An old country preacher once said, “You’re either in a storm, just got out of a storm, or about to hit a storm. But everyone has got a storm.”
Prepare for your storm | Use your imagination | See the victory
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