I visited a federal prison yesterday. This visit was quite eye-opening for me as I’d never been in a prison before for any reason. After my visit, I began to consider that not all of us may be in an actual prison, yet we are still prisoners – we are prisoners of old thought and life patterns – prisons we have built for ourselves. There are others who are in two prisons, the literal ones and their minds. As I walked around the women’s cell block yesterday, I wondered how many of those women were not just in an actual prison but were still imprisoned by old life patterns and thoughts. These old thoughts and life patterns could follow them long after prison, perhaps even leading them back to a physical prison.
I have recently been trying to volunteer with our state prison system at one of the women’s correctional centers here in Oklahoma. I want to show God’s love to these women who may not know what love is at all. I recently donated my book to this particular prison and I will donate my 2nd allegory coming later this year. My hope is that in doing so, old life and thought patterns will be broken so they will not return to such a place. I also don’t want to just give them a book or two to read, I want to give of myself. Jesus did not just give us a book (the Bible), He gave us Himself.
How many of you reading this blog right now are living in your own prison? How many of you have built a life on thought patterns and choices that have you locked in the cell of misery? How many of you are reading this is an actual prison and yet have a self-made prison you built long ago? I built and locked myself into my own prison a few years back in an abusive marriage (note I said an abusive marriage, I do not believe all marriages are abusive). I had many locks on my cell; people-pleasing, co-dependency, “fixing” people and things and tolerating evil to name a few. It was not easy to be released form this self-made hole I had been building since I was five years old. I had to give a lot of my attitudes and thoughts to God. I had to turn to the Bible to illuminate the lies I had believed at such a young age so that I could replace those lies with truth. I had to discover who God had made me to be, despite what others told me. I had to let go of wrongs and forgive. I had to decide what I would not tolerate. I had to decide I could not fix people or things. I had to decide I was a people-pleaser no more. I had to decide who I was in Jesus outweighed anything and everyone else. I had to make a lot of good decisions to fill the void space left over by bad decisions. In doing all of this, I found myself again and in finding myself, I was set free. I was set free from the lies that had driven my thought and life patterns for many years. I was set free from the opinions of others. I was free to be me!
I am no different from you! You can be set free from the prison cell of you mind too, no matter if you are reading this from an actual prison or not. When your mind is set free, everything else will follow and old behavior and thought patterns will not be repeated. You do not have to stay in the prison of your mind, you only do that if you want to stay. Are you ready to try something different? Perhaps something you have never tried before? Allow Jesus to show you who you are. Allow His truth to replace those old thought and life patterns. Nothing has to stay the same. Things only stay the same if you let them. I can promise you He will not let you down! Not only will He not let you down, you will never be alone or have to face anything alone ever again. He will always be with you as he is with me. Choose freedom, you will never regret it!
Luke 4:18 (the words of Jesus): "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…
Romans 12:2a (the apostle Paul); Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Writing to set the prisoners free, Elizabeth