The famous question - When is it going to stop? We are not talking about the rain or when we ask Mommy to make their sibling not touch them or tease them. This is a serious situation for many people who are trapped in what seems an endless circle of discouragement. I refer to it as the Vicious Circle. We lose a job, we struggle with relationships, we fall into despair, we lose our home, we look to the wrong people and answers, we fall into obsession or addiction and the damage is done.
Incarceration is inevitable and the cycle continues…
This circle (on the left) is a general one but the same principle applies. Looking at it from the top, we are unable to see the perspective.
The real picture (on the left) is an upside down cone with a downward spiral. One which has no value or sense of encouragement. The cone shape gets filled with garbage and is open to attracting stuff. The kind of people, unnecessary burdens and trouble that no-one needs. It becomes an open door to negative growth.
When does it stop? Will it ever stop? The answer has to be ‘yes’ but only when we decide to break into the cycle (circle). This is the time that we start to question our actions -
When did it all go wrong? How did I get here? How am I going to avoid coming back here? What do I do to change? Who should I ask for help?
With the endless hours of solitude, these questions are healthy but need an answer. The first step has to come from the individual and their desire to change. How many times have we known of people doing something or partnering with someone and it not working out. You try the same thing and - surprise, surprise! - it doesn’t work out - again… Surely, there is a stage when we have to take another look at our decision. Why are we expecting things to change, if nothing has changed? It’s like the gambler who lost on the horse race and then bet again on the video replay!!
This is not to trivialize the situation. Volunteers and agencies who visit inmates will tell you how frustrating it is when you see individuals follow the same decision-making pattern. This doesn’t apply to inmates or offenders, this is a life lesson which anyone can fall into without knowing consequences or how it happened. The key to the process is to overturn the situation to your advantage.
Turn the Vicious Circle into the Victorious Circle. Turn the cone on it’s base with the point at the top.
Take a mind’s eye look at what that means now - like water running down, it is no longer a vessel which holds on to garbage. Anything that hits it will fall away. The open part is now protected against a door to negative values, decisions, comments, accusations, feelings, attacks. Do you see that? This is not only theory, it has life. That is what faith is. It is a practical way to make the change. Ask any athlete about visualizing a shot or a kick or a play or a jump and they confirm that you have to do BEFORE you take the next step. Without trying to offer too many parallels think of it as turning the sand filled hourglass upside down to stir your life into another direction of give ups a new lease of life.
One final revelation which is a neat way of moving from the VICIOUS to the VICTORIOUS - check this out…
V I C I O U S
V I C T O R I O U S
The difference? 3 simple letters T.O.R. What does this mean? Check out how neat God is in Acts 3 v 19 - Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment (T.O.R.!) will come from the presence of the Lord…
Isn’t that what we all need to see a change in our situation?