Is there a way out of a cycle of destruction?

By Jason Frenn In the late ’90s, I sat with my three daughters in a movie theater watching “The Parent … Continued

By Jason Frenn

In the late ’90s, I sat with my three daughters in a movie theater watching “The Parent Trap,” a Disney movie. “Who is that talented young lady?” I asked myself. I was amazed how this 11-year-old mastered two diverse characters and captured the hearts of audiences around the world. “This girl could become one of the greatest,” I thought.

More than 12 years later, that adorable actress, Lindsay Lohan, stands at a crucial crossroads facing a debilitating addiction. Recently, a Los Angeles judge ordered her back into drug rehab, rather than send her to jail, after she failed a drug test. It was just the latest in a series of high-profile battles with addiction and other problems for the troubled actress.

If she breaks the cycle of destructive behavior, she can live a phenomenal life filled with joy, meaning and significance and eventually pass on a great heritage to her kids. But if the destructive patterns are not broken, I am deeply concerned that she will constantly flounder in survival mode.

In light of her situation and the millions of people like her who want to break the cycle of destructive behavior, I feel deeply impressed to share four principles that promise dynamic change. So if you come from a great family or a crazy one like mine — one plagued by alcoholism, dysfunction and nine divorces among my parents and stepfather – this will help you break the destructive patterns in your life.

First, if you want to change, I mean really want to change, you must find a reason (a why) that is bigger than any temptation, distraction or excuse that you can conjure up. When your “why” is bigger than your “but,” change will be inevitable. So find something that you hold near and dear to your heart and make it your reason for change.

Second, breaking the cycle requires that we fill the void with godly habits, ones that move us in a healthy and productive direction. So don’t allow anyone to mislead you. A higher power only works if it’s The Higher Power. Change comes when we unequivocally and unconditionally yield our lives and will to God. That’s why reading your Bible, meditating on the Proverbs, praying before you begin your hectic day and spending time once a week with others who want to study the Bible is imperative. This step alone will help you make a quantum leap in your quest to break the destructive patterns in your life.

Third, find friends that will pull you up instead of tear you down. Eliminate the relationships that bring out the worst in you. Look to form relationships with those who will promote a godly and healthy life. These people will make huge deposits in your emotional account, and when you need someone to count on when the chips are down, they will pull you through and bring out the best in you. They are not fair weather friends.

Fourth, learn to forgive those who have offended you. Forgive your parents, your enemies, people in your field, and, yes, even those who don’t seek forgiveness. Most importantly, learn to forgive yourself. Remember, forgiveness is not an emotion. It’s a decision. If we don’t forgive, it’s like the poison we drink hoping someone else will die. We are the ones who wind up affected.

We need to remember that popularity and fame are temporary. The adoration of the masses ebbs and flows like the tides of the ocean, and with time, it quickly fades away. But God’s love for you will never cease or diminish. To Him, you will always be the apple of His eye – someone extremely important and valuable.

God gives us all a second chance. Allow Him to guide you through the turbulent waters to a place of true meaning and significance. I believe that with His help, you will break the destructive patterns in your life and live a life of incredible fruitfulness, freedom and victory.

Jason Frenn is the author of “Power to Reinvent Yourself: How to Break the Destructive Patterns in Your Life.”

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  • WmarkW

    Lindsay Lohan is going to earn several lifetimes’ income by 30 and then retire.The question is whether she’ll pull an Anna Nicole.

  • areyousaying

    “…breaking the cycle requires that we fill the void with godly habits…”Like watching Fox News, bashing gays, hiding pervert priests, practicing witchcraft, denying Constitutional rights to those different, protesting certain religions from building houses of worship, demonizing Mexicans, smearing Obama with lies, murdering abortion doctors, wearing Nazi uniforms, criminally negligent “Abstinence” education…..By their fruits ye shall know them.

  • TruthSeeker63

    Wow! For those of us that believe in life outside of the political battlefield, something on Faith, not politics in the “On Faith” section of the Post! Its great to read something that offers more than a sociological view on people of faith. Here is a positive response for those that need change. Can anyone really argue with the value of forgiveness, healthy relationships, and healthy habits? Seems like people will look everywhere but to God for help…why not give Him a try.Imagine a world where people actually find what they are looking for! Nothing quite like real peace. There is hope. There is a solution. And yes, by their fruit you will know them….if you have eyes to see!

  • debbon66

    This is a great article. I pray that Ms. Lohan and others like her get connected to God and let Him help them turn their lives around. As someone who spent over a decade filling the void with ungodly and destructive habits, I can honestly testify that yes, there is a way out of a cycle of destruction! I’m grateful for the principles I’ve learned from Jason Frenn’s Power to Reinvent Yourself. With God’s help, I found my “why” for change and once I partnered with Him, He gave me the power to overcome huge barriers in my life. I was at a place in my life where I didn’t think I could go any lower–well, I guess dying would have been the lowest point. However, deep inside I really didn’t want to die. Once I realized I couldn’t do things on my own I learned to give God control and He’s given me such great victory. I’m no longer just surviving life. I highly recommend this book for those who desire change in their life. I believe what’s inside is a wonderful message from God Himself and many people need to hear it. The steps are so easy to follow. The stories make it a great read too. I’m so thankful for what Jason has shared with us, but most of all, I’m thankful to the Lord for my second chance.

  • dbruce2

    Jason Frenn is one of the great Christian speakers and authors of our time. It is wonderful to see him published here. He has such a strong understanding of the way that lives can be transformed by the Lord!

  • LinaB

    So excited to see this clip in the Washington Post for so many faithful readers to see. I have read several books by Jason Frenn and have been encouraged and inspired by his stories and uplifting hints to overcome life’s struggles; past, present, or future.Thanks WP, for the reminder to hunt down and purchase his newest book.

  • tziglar

    Jason Frenn is spot on with this advice. Many will dismiss some or all of this advice, and will keep getting what they have been getting in life. If you are ready for a change, just take a few minutes a couple of times a day and reflect on one of the points. Then, take action. Staying where you are, or moving forward, is a choice, and the choice is yours.

  • joan_jer2911

    Excellent! As a mother of four for forty years this advise is right on! We have one daughter, 3 sons-including a set of twins. We had teenagers in the house for 15 years because of their ages. I love being a Mom and prayed for my kids all the time and love them and take good care of them. God/Jesus truly blessed us and is the only way to life and blessing. God kept my children safe and on the right path. They weren’t perfect but anytime anyone got out of line God saw to it that they were nipped in the bud in a loving way. He spared us much pain and gave us much joy in raising them. Joan, PA

  • Haelie

    Amen, Amen, & Amen! I love the “why’s” versus the “but’s” point you made. And, I love the “THE Higher Power” point you made even more. I really love all of what you said. Great post! Hopefully Lindsay and many others like her, famous and not, will read this and take it to heart.

  • GRZtheWash

    Loved the Parent Trap. It’s sad to see what Lindsey has become. I’m pretty sure her why is not as big as her but. Lindsey seems less inclined to ask “why” and more inclined to ask “why not?”

  • jimsaravia

    This is a message for all of us, finding our “why”, why I am here in this world?.I know the Bible has that answer, thank you for remind us to read that beautiful book. Finally an article with a lot of wisdom. Thank you Jason Frenn.

  • bobbyphillippi

    It is about time we get to read something that is worth reading in the faith section. If as people we could just attempt to fill the void with godly choices,wow what a world this would be. This is not a blame game, a finger pointing article nor a judgement on any one person or a group of people. This is a article written by a godly man who has integrity and personal conviction. I have read jason’s books and have had the priviledge of hearing him speak in person. Wrong is wrong and right is right and sometimes when someone points it out we are offended, if just once we could take the time to realize that for Christians it’s not about what we think it is not a standard that we came up with individually or collectively but instead it is the very standard that presents itself time and time again throughout scripture in which we believe to be the infalible words of God. Therefore we merely present it in such a way that should bring together a sense of unity and love, However darkness does not enjoy light or those who carry it. Thank you Jason Frenn for being a voice of compassion truth and honesty for all people.