When you encounter difficult situations, do you ask yourself: “How in the world did I get here?”
When we find ourselves in problematic situations like these, we need to take a step back and figure out what choices we’ve made along the way that have contributed to our predicament. God’s Word talks about this very subject in the principle of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6:7; 2 Cor. 9:6-8). We reap what we sow; when we make better choices, we experience better consequences.
Author Andy Andrews puts it this way, “First we make a choice. Then our choices make us.”
Once we’ve identified the choices we’ve made that have lured us into these situations, we then need to take our investigation a step further and identify any emotional traps that have fueled our poor choices. Our choices are regularly impacted by our attitudes. Poor attitudes create emotional traps, that in turn undermines our thinking and cause us to make poor choices. A counselor friend, Robbie Goss, refers to these destructive emotional traps as Self-Traps.
There are 4 typical Self-Traps we commonly get caught in:
When we find ourselves in one or more of these destructive emotional traps, our ability to make good decisions is significantly diminished.
Consider the negative self-talk these traps normally generate:
- A selfish person says, “I have needs and I am going to take things from whomever I choose in order to get my needs met.”
- A self-sufficient person says, “I don’t have any needs and if I do, I am going to take care of them myself.”
- A self-condemning person says, “I have needs but I don’t deserve to get them met.”
- A self-protective person says, “I have needs but I am afraid to get them met.”
Looking back over some of the poor choices I’ve made throughout my life, I have realized that many of them resulted from my vulnerability to these common snares. Today, I am much more aware of these devious devices and how the negatively influence my choices and decisions. Therefore, I am now better prepared to catch them early or avoid them altogether so I can make more positive and godly decisions.
The word self appears often in God’s Word. For example, we find a number of verses in Scripture commanding us to have self-control (Titus 1:8; 2 Peter. 1:6; Galatians. 5:23; 1 Corinthians. 7:5; Act. 24:25; 1 Timothy. 2:5) and instructing us to lay aside our old self and put on our new self — created to be like God—truly righteous and holy (Ephesians. 4:22-24; Colossians. 3:9-10).
Do you commonly find yourself easily falling into Self-Traps?
Memorize the following scriptures and prepare yourself to better recognize and avoid those pesky traps.
- Memorize Philippians 2:4 and be encouraged to avoid selfishness.
“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (NASB)
- Memorize Ecclesiastes 4:9 and be encouraged to avoid self-sufficiency.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” (NLT)
- Memorize Romans 8:1 and be encouraged to avoid self-condemnation.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)
- Memorize Deuteronomy 31:6 and be encouraged to avoid self-protectiveness.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (NASB)
Which self-trap do you commonly find yourself in?
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