Let me first say I fully believe that God’s sovereignty trumps everything you’re about to read and can instantly bring true freedom. It’s like the drug addict who experiences God’s presence while high, is snapped out of his high, set free from all addictions instantly and never looks back. I love when this happens, and my prayer is for it to happen more often.
However, most of us in this same situation would have to go through a period of detox, change our default response and become free over time. That has been my reality and the reality of thousands who I’ve worked with. These are the people I’m talking to.
Have you ever wondered why you don’t experience freedom from specific unhealthy cycles, even though you can explain the process you’ve walked through to get healing?? Let me clarify what I mean by “freedom.” I’m referring to the ability to experience lasting change after a powerful moment. It could be an encounter with God, a SOZO, going through Restoring the Foundations, or any other type of inner healing.
There are several potential reasons why you fall back into your old way of doing life.
Here are just a few:
1. You get back to life too quickly. We’re all busy, but this should never be an excuse to avoid taking time to allow yourself to pause and process something significant. You need to make time and let it sink in. This can be anything from writing in a journal; sitting in silence and reflect, take time to be grateful for what you experienced, to telling someone you trust what happened.
I’ve often told my clients to take as much time as they need after our session before you do anything else. If you jump into your day-to-day too quickly, it’s easy to forget about what happened.
2. You have bad habits formed out of brokenness. If you haven’t read the book The Power of Habit, I would highly recommend it. The book goes into detail on how our minds can create specific default pathways or habits that run on autopilot. There are ways to change them, but it’s not easy. Even though the brokenness is healed, it is likely there’s still a habit which needs to be addressed to see change.
Let me give you an example. When I was at one of my lower points with depression, I didn’t feel like I could do much of anything. In a sense, it made me lethargic, and it was easy to sit on the couch and not do much. During that time I was emotionally comfort eating more than I ever had before. Even though I’m no longer in a low place, I still have a tendency to gravitate to the unhealthy habit when I’m stressed or tired. I could easily shame myself for always wanting to snack at night or see it for what it is, something separate from who I am and my old reality.
3. Old mindsets try to hold on. Even though you don’t want the old mentality, it is often what made you feel safe or helped you survive situations in your past. If your childhood was chaotic and the only way to feel safe was being silent, then you’re most likely the person who has great ideas for a meeting but never shares them. If you have a SOZO and experience healing, you’ll still have to fight the thought process that taught you “speaking up leads to pain” and risk speaking out at the meeting.
4. Relationships pull you back. T.D. Jakes says “where you came from will always try to hold you back”. When you get healing it doesn’t mean your relationships change overnight. It doesn’t mean you have to get new friends, but it does mean there’s a need for change in the way the relationship functions. Otherwise, you’re choosing to surround yourself with people who enable your dysfunction, and it’s harder to see growth in the area you are healed in.
5. You come under someone else’s anointing. Not always, but often when we experience something significant, it’s facilitated by someone else. This could be a counselor, a pastor preaching, a close friend, etc. The other person has fought to build authority in this area, so it’s easy to see or feel the change at the moment. It becomes harder to create that reality outside their authority. Life continues outside a session or a powerful weekend.
It’s like a farmer who takes you under his wings and teaches you how to farm. You follow him around for a week and learn the subtle ways he’s perfected every step. When you leave his farm, you have to go tend to your own fields. The same harvest is available, but it requires hard work and dedication to achieve what you learned.
6. You don’t know how to love yourself. How can this hinder your ability to experience freedom? Simple. It’s impossible to fully connect to the person God designed while you’re busy beating yourself up. When you love yourself, it empowers you to have grace and empathy for the process of walking out your freedom. If your go-to is shame or self-hatred then the first time you do something counter to what you experienced, you’ll jumpstart a cycle that will put you right back where you were.
7. You’re letting go of a codependent relationship. When you partner with a truth or have an encounter with God, you are disrupting an unhealthy relationship you’ve had. You’re inviting something new into your heart and leaving behind the old belief.
It’s like sitting down with a codependent friend saying “Sorry, I just realized how unhealthy you are and we can’t be friends anymore.” That friend is not going to respond with “Good point! Ok. I wish you the best.” It’s quite the opposite. They are more likely to throw a tantrum and fight to hold on to what they had.
At first, you may have to remind them the relationship is over repeatedly. Eventually, your friend will find someone else to cling to, and you’ll be free. The same is true of an unhealthy belief. Ultimately, it will fade away if you’re willing to remind yourself of the truth regularly.
8. You have a microwave mentality. Sometimes setting the right expectations are just as important as your ability to endure the process. When you understand the process of making tangible change takes the time it helps you persevere and not give up. A “this happened, and now I’m all good” mentality often sets you up for failure. You become discouraged and shame yourself on the bad days which in turn only helps to empower your old reality instead of giving yourself the grace to keep moving forward.
9. You’re afraid. Perfect love casts out fear. True. That doesn’t mean fear won’t come knocking at your door. When you let fear in, you’re inviting doubt to cloud the truth you should be living in now. From there on, doubt creates disbelief, which then leads to returning to your old lifestyle. Having a clear understanding of your new belief system is essential. Try to describe what you experience in one sentence.
If you were neglected, then the statement would be something like: “The truth is I am worthy of attention and affection.”
That’s the sentence you remind yourself of when fear tries to erode the truth. Say it 1,000 times if you have to.
10. You’re hiding. This connects to the old mindsets but is more than just that. When you’re hiding or have been for a long time, then one of the scariest things to do is be fully seen. The only way to do that is invite people into your process and share what you experienced. By doing so, you’re giving them permission to remind you of what the truth is when you feel discouraged, or doubt creeps in.
If you keep it to yourself, it’s significantly harder to walk out your new reality.
It’s never easy to create lasting change. Well, of course, there is the exception of God’s sovereignty. It’s the tension of believing for the miracle and successfully living life while you wait to see it happen.
The Challenge: If any of these points ring true then it’s time to shift your focus. Let this be a fresh start for your process and understanding it’s not always you falling back into your old life, even though it may look that way at times.