BREAKING UNHEALTHY CYCLES
We all believe that we are perfectly capable of running our own lives and solving our own problems without anyone else's help. However, life can bring to us situations that we begin to realize we have become trapped in an unhealthy cycle. It may be that we have quit smoking or drinking many times but always return to it. It may be we've been divorced and remarried several times and no matter how hard we try we end up with the same kind of spouse we just left. Or some may fight the constant recurrence of pornographic pictures in their minds and strong temptation in that direction.
So how on earth can we finally get free? There are exercises we can use that are very helpful to break the cycle but we have to first go to the "Why" that drives us to the recurring choices that are unhealthy. I suggest you start by getting alone with Jesus and asking Him to help you to understand the belief in your heart that you always fall back on. Then ask Him where in my life did that belief start and get quiet and listen. Identify the emotions that are brought up as Jesus brings a memory to you then ask Jesus to exchange those emotions for what He wants to give you and listen quietly again. You may need the help of a counselor to work through this as well and I would highly recommend you go to one trained in Biblical truths not secular teaching. After the belief in your heart has been dealt with, then you can work on conquering the unhealthy habit.
Here are some exercises to put into place every time you start to head in the wrong direction.
1. Before you try to remarry again after a divorce take a one year moratorium from dating and romantic relationships. Start going faithfully to a Celebrate Recovery group or one like that and do all that they encourage you to do. At the end of the year you will be a different, more healthy person and will be attracted to a different, more healthy kind of mate when you go back to dating. There is something in yourself that subconsciously attracts you to the same kind of person you can't live with. That something has to change or the relationships never will.
2. For habits like smoking, drugs or drinking there are two exercises I would suggest. First, when the thought comes to do it, if you know Jesus as your Savior, say out loud, "I am the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:21-28; I John 1:7-2:2). Say this out loud again and again until you feel the temptation decrease. Secondly, choose a prayer target, someone who really needs Jesus in their life, and immediately pray fervently for them to come to Jesus. Satan will stop tempting you if it always results in fervent prayer for someone who needs Jesus.
3. For various sexual addictions as well as using the exercises in number 2 above add a visual exercise. When an immoral picture comes to your mind visualize the Blood of Jesus pouring down over it and the word FORGIVEN written in the blood across the picture. Then praise Jesus out loud that He has washed you clean and is ABLE to present you BLAMELESS before the Father in Heaven (Jude 1:24) Keep this up until the temptation completely loses its power over you. And it will! I promise! No! God promises! But you have to practice it!