Have you ever had to answer the icebreaker question that’s something like, “If you were on an island by yourself, what are the three things you’d want with you?”
Everyone in the group would voice their answers, trying to think of the most necessary items that would make their stay more enjoyable. But whatever those items may have been, the idea of being on an island alone sounds downright terrifying and horrible. Most people would not want to live in such conditions.
Ironically though, we put ourselves on a dreadful, lonely island quite often. But I’m talking about our mindsets. We enter dangerous territory when we begin to think things like “I’m the only one that feels this way.” We start focusing so much on our own circumstances and feelings, that we trap ourselves on these islands. How do we escape these thoughts?
If you still aren’t tracking with me, let me break it down for you. You’ve probably visited these islands a little more than once or twice:
Here’s where you bombard your mind with “what-if” and “worst case” scenarios. You freak yourself out about things that haven’t happened. You spend too much time thinking about what could happen instead of focusing on the present. Sound familiar?
The great escape: Give your worries to God. Pray and let Him know everything that’s on your mind, and ask Him to replace your worries with His peace. Basically, why worry when you can pray? (Philippians 4:6)
This is a lonely place where you let constant, negative thoughts fill your mind and cripple your confidence. You believe in the lie that you’re not good enough for anything, whether that be a job, a relationship or something else. Your insecurities keep you from stepping out in faith to do what God’s called you to because you feel like you’re not “good enough” or “not ready.” These are lies Satan loves to feed us. Anything that draws us away from God and into our shell is a win for Satan. We take those lies to heart, and it can ruin our attitudes, quality of life, work ethic and more.
The great escape: Read God’s Word and anchor yourself in Him. Spending time with Him and His Word will transform the way you think. If you’re daily filling your mind with Scripture, it leaves less room for the devil to feed you lies. You’ll be able to discern what God’s will is for your life, and be able to live in abundance (Romans 12:2).
Island of Shame
Ever let the sins of your past keep you from moving forward? Are you one of those people that have a hard time forgiving yourself? Welcome to the Island of Shame, where the devil locks you in with repetitive reminders of all the times you’ve messed up. Just when you’re about to move toward something God called you to, you’re suddenly reminded of something that would disqualify you — something God already forgave you for. This is different than conviction. Conviction is when the Lord lovingly puts a weight on your heart to repent if you’re living in sin. He does this because the sin you’re living in is not only hurting Him, but you as well. When we choose to respond to that conviction with repentance, He forgives us and frees us from that bondage. And in return, we discover the ultimate blessing on the other side of repentance. But when you’re on the Island of Shame, the devil uses past, forgiven sins and lifestyles to deter you from God’s will and calling on your life.
The great escape: Remember that your freedom is found in Christ, and there is no condemnation; mercy triumphs over judgment (Romans 8:1). Rest in His promise, and trust in your Savior. His Word is rock-solid and you can stand on it.
If you ever find yourself on these islands, remember that the ultimate escape is always found in Jesus. He rescues us from the bondage of what all three of these islands are created upon — sin.
Be transparent. Surround yourself with solid believers who can help you fight those “island mindsets.” And most importantly let God’s Word navigate you, not the worries of the world. You’ll find ultimate fulfillment in His truth and be able to rise above the stress. Give up that island life!