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  • Break that cycle:

    I am currently going through the book of Judges for devotional purposes and can't help but notice the pattern of defeat that Israel experienced after the death of Joshua. The pattern went something like this: compromise lead to a crisis; the crisis (usually in the form of captivity) then lead to crying, and the crying resulted in another compromise in the form of a temporary deliverance. There seemed to be no permanent solution but instead an unending cycle of defeat and deliverance. To be honest I have been there where life seemed like one crisis after the next and any deliverance was a temporary fix till the next crisis.

    I have since come to view these crisis as the fruit of a routine or pattern instead of a root in and of themselves. They are effects and not causes. In this respect the real crisis is the routine and patterns that have never been identified or challenged.

    A new idea can seem so obvious that you wonder what took you so long to see it. This one strikes me as such because the one thing we all know is that nothing changes your life until it changes your daily routine. If it doesn't impact on something you do daily, then it's unlikely to produce a lasting result. The other thing we know is that if you want something different, you have to do something different. Basically, you can't get a different result form the old routine and to expect one is indicative of a deeper mental problem.

    I realised through this time of devotion that patterns need to be interrupted and routines changed if We are to bring an end to destructive cycles. Some of these cycles were inherited through a blood line that is plagued with failure. Marital, health, financial and emotional breakdowns have run back in some families as far as can be remembered. Perhaps reading this, you are beginning to see remarkable similarities between you and your parents. Even your grandparents. I have counselled people who swore that they would never become like their father only to find themselves falling into the same destructive patterns of behaviour and for exactly the same reasons.

    Of course there is a spiritual aspect to this. However I believe it has been over played. By that I mean that the causes of repeated failure are not limited to spiritual factors only. If this were the case then prayer and faith would deliver everyone. The evidence suggests other wise. Together with prayer and faith, you must make a decision I.e. The decision to end the plague, stop the cycle and break the pattern from off your own blood line. That decision must change your personal routine before it can change the generational routine.

    This usually requires a massive interruption to your personal routine. Preferably a controlled interruption and one that works in your strategic favour! Of course unscheduled interruptions can change your life but they are always painful and may not produce the change you seek. A strategic interruption on the other hand means taking out a period of time to transform yourself by becoming a more skillful, knowledgeable and formidable person. It also means making a deliberate attempt to create new habits.

    New financial habits will deliver to you a new financial life. Likewise new health habits, relationship habits and professional habits will deliver to you a new physical body, renewed relationships and professional progress. The key is to create a new normal!

    This idea poses another dilemma. Many people set about trying to create a new normal only to find themselves slipping back into the old normal over a period of time. The question is why? The answer is:

    1. The change was usually a reaction to an uncomfortable moment instead of a strategic effort based on intelligent design. The change was ill informed and therefore unsupported by the evidence needed to form a deep and lasting conviction. The result is that they lack the personal skills needed to sustain a lasting change and slip back into the former level of skill. They react and respond to problems in old ways.
    1. They set about changing things instead of changing themself. They never became bigger than the challenge at. Those who embark on the mission to be one bigger than their environment and enemies are likely to experience lasting change. A mind stretched by a new idea can never return to its former dimensions. 

    As a minister I get frustrated because I see people in pursuit of a future for which they have little or no information. I'm disturbed at the value we place on knowledge and skill. I'm equally concerned about the value we place on a miraculous break throughout as though waiting for heaven to fix our problems and give us results that don't match our routines.

    These are they who tip toe around transformation instead of immersing themselves in it. Tip-toeing means, trying this or that. Buying vitamins or joining the gym for a month or two. Changing the diet for a while or walking up the stairs. It also means reading a book here and there or attending a seminar when ready. Unfortunately you can't change your body by going to the gym when it suits you. Actually you have to commit to a program for progress. The program must become your new routine.

    Immersion is different. It means immersing yourself in:

    • New knowledge
    • New conversations
    • New skills
    • New habits

    Immersion doesn't happen over night. It is a long-term commitment. 6 months to a year of mental marinating.

    I guess I'm on a journey to secure lasting change for generations to come and am ready to immerse myself. It's too easy to walk back over a bridge once you've crossed it, but if that bridge were burned, then going back would require more effort than would going forward. You literally have to put something in the way. Something that makes it difficult to go back! For me, it's never been enough to create a new normal. I have had to destroy the old paradigm and ignorance that justified, supported and endorsed the old routine.

    To be continued…