It's as if we paddle but are trapped by a rock that needs to be lifted so we can paddle out and into the more peaceful parts of the river. (Unsplash)

Everyone has their own journey down the river of growth and change. Many of us have rapids to overcome—otherwise known as behaviors that we just can't seem to get control over. For some of you, the behavior may be rage; for others, it's complacency, apathy or even addictions to work, food or exercise.

As human beings, we are all so very different. We have all traveled from a different past. Some of us had pain along the way that has anchored our raft in the rapids of our out of control behaviors. It's as if we paddle but are trapped by a rock that needs to be lifted so we can paddle out and into the more peaceful parts of the river.

Some of us have been overturned on our boat and are swimming alone in the cold waters. For these individuals, it takes gathering a team and flipping the boat back over so that they can move further safely down the river. After this takes place, the view and experience of life is much better.

There are others who end up just getting turned around. They've paddled so hard and long, but actually it seems as though they are still in the same place. For them, getting a clear location on what they need to address can by the key.

Regardless of how badly you may be stuck, you can get a grip and permanently get control over what has been controlling you.

I have personally experienced new freedom that I thought I would never have. I remember pleading and begging God sometimes over a several-year period of time to help me get and stay free from behaviors that had a grip over me. 

Now I no longer only see the tears of sorrow from those trapped, but now see the tears of joy from those who have been set free. They are free from that nagging behavior that has controlled them for years.

You absolutely deserve this freedom! Like everyone else who has received this freedom, there is work involved. Don't get discouraged and don't ever get into the heart of "Oh, I have to do this or that." No, not at all! Stay in the heart of "I get to do this in order to get free, to stay free and to give freedom away to others that are struggling."  You are going to be trained, not just to get free but also to teach freedom. Take this course that is before you with joy.

Everyone who has built anything knows that there is work ahead of them. It may not necessarily be that you will whistle as you work, but please enjoy the fact that you have been chosen to do the work. For me, knowing that I was chosen to break down the chains that have kept my family enslaved for many generations along with many others was inspirational. I thought I was disqualified by God and that he couldn't possibly use me in any significant way because of all the pain I was put through even before adulthood. Boy, was I wrong.

I had to go through the "get a grip" process. I had to look at some ugly stuff and do some work. But today it was so worth that season of my life. Today, as the author of almost 30 books, having had an international television show, two made-for-television movies about my practice and many media appearances; I know that God can still use me in unimaginable ways. I have also been married (in a deeply connected way) to a great woman for more than 30 years. I have great friends and co-laborers at my office and life is good.

Get a Grip is a healing process, not a magic word. I have met many people who desire a magic potion, a precise prayer or a person who, with one touch of their hand, could stop this behavior from ravaging their life. As Christians, we often want the quick and immediate fix to our troubled situation. Unfortunately, God is not an American. He can instantly do anything, but often will allow us to go through a process instead. "Why?" you might ask. I really can't say that I know the exact reason, but I can give you a good guess.

My guess is that God really does love us and has an agenda for all of us to look more like Him. If He always instantly did everything for us, we would not develop some of His character in us.

God ultimately wants us to look like Him. He can allow us to stay in our condition until we learn to follow some basic biblical principles. As for me, He wanted me to learn to be really honest all the time. I was stuck with an unwanted behavior until I was willing to be transparent about my really yucky condition. When I agreed to follow a process of intense honesty, it was then that I became free. Days, then weeks went by then years and decades of freedom because I was willing to develop the character of honesty. In God's eyes, I believe that this character trait was worth the journey that it took me to get a grip in this area of my life. My hope is that you can find the freedom you deserve.

Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, Get a Grip. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at heart2heart@xc.org

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