By Jason Frenn
In the late ’90s, I sat with my three daughters in a movie theater watching “The Parent Trap,” a Disney movie. “Who is that talented young lady?” I asked myself. I was amazed how this 11-year-old mastered two diverse characters and captured the hearts of audiences around the world. “This girl could become one of the greatest,” I thought.
More than 12 years later, that adorable actress, Lindsay Lohan, stands at a crucial crossroads facing a debilitating addiction. Recently, a Los Angeles judge ordered her back into drug rehab, rather than send her to jail, after she failed a drug test. It was just the latest in a series of high-profile battles with addiction and other problems for the troubled actress.
If she breaks the cycle of destructive behavior, she can live a phenomenal life filled with joy, meaning and significance and eventually pass on a great heritage to her kids. But if the destructive patterns are not broken, I am deeply concerned that she will constantly flounder in survival mode.
In light of her situation and the millions of people like her who want to break the cycle of destructive behavior, I feel deeply impressed to share four principles that promise dynamic change. So if you come from a great family or a crazy one like mine — one plagued by alcoholism, dysfunction and nine divorces among my parents and stepfather – this will help you break the destructive patterns in your life.
First, if you want to change, I mean really want to change, you must find a reason (a why) that is bigger than any temptation, distraction or excuse that you can conjure up. When your “why” is bigger than your “but,” change will be inevitable. So find something that you hold near and dear to your heart and make it your reason for change.
Second, breaking the cycle requires that we fill the void with godly habits, ones that move us in a healthy and productive direction. So don’t allow anyone to mislead you. A higher power only works if it’s The Higher Power. Change comes when we unequivocally and unconditionally yield our lives and will to God. That’s why reading your Bible, meditating on the Proverbs, praying before you begin your hectic day and spending time once a week with others who want to study the Bible is imperative. This step alone will help you make a quantum leap in your quest to break the destructive patterns in your life.
Third, find friends that will pull you up instead of tear you down. Eliminate the relationships that bring out the worst in you. Look to form relationships with those who will promote a godly and healthy life. These people will make huge deposits in your emotional account, and when you need someone to count on when the chips are down, they will pull you through and bring out the best in you. They are not fair weather friends.
Fourth, learn to forgive those who have offended you. Forgive your parents, your enemies, people in your field, and, yes, even those who don’t seek forgiveness. Most importantly, learn to forgive yourself. Remember, forgiveness is not an emotion. It’s a decision. If we don’t forgive, it’s like the poison we drink hoping someone else will die. We are the ones who wind up affected.
We need to remember that popularity and fame are temporary. The adoration of the masses ebbs and flows like the tides of the ocean, and with time, it quickly fades away. But God’s love for you will never cease or diminish. To Him, you will always be the apple of His eye – someone extremely important and valuable.
God gives us all a second chance. Allow Him to guide you through the turbulent waters to a place of true meaning and significance. I believe that with His help, you will break the destructive patterns in your life and live a life of incredible fruitfulness, freedom and victory.
Jason Frenn is the author of “Power to Reinvent Yourself: How to Break the Destructive Patterns in Your Life.”