Saturday, March 16, 2013

Discover What You Really Need

Have you heard of the great Houdini?
As a young boy, I loved reading about him.  Houdini was probably the most famous escape artist in the world.  I’m not sure if the story I’m about to tell you is part legend and part history, but I find it utterly fascinating. 
Houdini boasted he could escape any jail cell in less than an hour.  One day, a small town in the British Isles built a new jail cell and they were proud of it.  “Come give us a try,” they said to Houdini, and he agreed. 
He walked into the prison cell bristling with confidence.  After all, he had done this hundreds of times before.
Once the jail cell was closed, Houdini took off his coat and went to work.  From his belt, he got a flexible but tough ten-inch piece of steel.  He knelt in front of the door and started working on the lock.
At the end of 30 minutes, his confident expression had disappeared. 
At the end of an hour, he was drenched with perspiration. 
After two hours and totally exhausted, Houdini literally collapsed against the door.  And the force of his weight was enough to push the door open!
       Because in reality, the door had never been locked.
       It was locked only in one place: In his own mind.
       Which meant only one thing.  It was firmly locked.
       Because whatever your mind says is locked—is locked. 
Even if it isn’t…

You Can Be Free!

       Friend, you can get rid of your bad habits.
       You can be free from your addictions.
       The Bible says, you have been called to live in freedom.(Galatians 5:13)
       I should know.  For years, I was addicted to pornography and sexual fantasies.  Yes, even as I was serving God and preaching.  Like Houdini, I tinkered with the “lock” of my jail cell and lost hope because I couldn’t unlock the door.  (For my full story, read my book, Your Past Does Not Define Your Future.)
       One day, I had a powerful realization.  I discovered that the door wasn’t locked—except in my mind.  I realized that at any time, I could push hard and the door would swing open—and I could simply walk out.  And stay out!
       And that’s what I did.
       My friend, you can get rid of your addictions.
       Here’s the truth: 70% of people get rid of their own addictions on their own.  You see, there is no ONE singular way to get out of an addiction. There are many ways to get rid of your destructive bad habits. (We will examine all these ways in the next few weeks.)

Why Do We Have Addictions Anyway?

From a superficial perspective, addictions provide an escape so you won’t feel your painful feelings.
       And what are these painful feelings?

·      Hurt: “I feel rejected.”
·      Depression: “I feel low”; “I feel old”; “I feel ugly”; “I feel fat”
·      Despair: “I feel my life is meaningless”
·      Guilt: “I feel I’m bad”; “I feel I can’t meet the needs of my husband/kids”
·      Anxiety: “I feel worried that bad things will happen”
·      Fear: “I feel afraid that I will get hurt”
·      Hate: “I feel angry at myself”; “I feel angry at others”
·      Shame: “I feel I’m not worthy to even exist”

Let me share to you my own personal experience.
For years, the predominant feeling that ruled my life was SHAME.  But I didn’t know it was shame.  I got so used to this feeling, I thought it was part of life.  I would wake up with this “bad” feeling already.  All I knew was that I felt extremely sad.  And my thoughts were always about my mistakes—real and imagined.  Like a guy who only played one DVD in his DVD player, and did nothing else except press the “rewind” button, I simply paraded my past mistakes before me.  And then I’d imagine how this person doesn’t like me, how that person is angry with me, how this person is rejecting me.  And I would feel “it” in my gut.  It was my constant companion, never leaving me.
Years later, I finally identified what I felt.
I was ashamed that I existed.  I was ashamed that I was alive.
Can you imagine waking up each morning with this feeling?
That was my life.
And so to escape my shame, I drowned myself in testosterone.  I got into Porn.  At least, these girls were smiling and disrobing to me.  They must like me.  My sexual fantasies were the same—these women were attracted to me.
For a moment, my shame disappeared.
But, after indulging in porn and masturbating, my shame deepened.
       How could I, a servant of God, do such a thing?
       But I kept doing it for years.
I threw myself into work—work that would make the world like me.  My approval addiction was even more powerful than my sex addiction.
       But twenty years ago, I took my first steps towards healing.  It was a long journey.

What Is Your Core Need?

At the bottom of all addictions is this statement: “I don’t love myself.”
       At the core of an addict’s heart is an empty Love Tank.
       Every addiction is a hunger for love.
       He doesn’t like himself.
       He doesn’t value himself.
       He doesn’t love himself.
       That is why I believe that only love can heal an addiction.

Walk Towards Your Freedom Now

       For the longest time, you’ve been in a prison cell.
       You’re tired.  You’re desperate.
       You’ve been tinkering with that impossible lock on the door.
       But in reality, there is no lock.
       You think there’s a lock, but there’s none.
       You’ve been deceived.  Cheated.
       The lock is in your mind, not in the door. 
What is that lock in your mind?
I call it your “homing instinct”.  That means an unconscious part of you would like to stay in that dirty prison because you’ve become used to it.  It’s been your home for years.  Something within you—the defeated you, the failed you, the unloved you—wants to go back to that dungeon.  A part of you feels that’s what you deserve.  This drive within you is called the “homing” instinct.  Hurting people recreate their home, no matter how painful those homes were.
       But as you fill up your Love Tank, as you value yourself more and as you receive love from God and others, you realize that you deserve a new home.  You realize that you don’t belong there anymore.  With a full Love Tank, your “homing” instinct no longer drives you to your past home.  Instead, it drives you to your future home.  You begin to develop a “vision” instinct.

       I’ll share more about this next week…

       I remain your friend,

       Bo Sanchez    

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