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Challenge Assumed Constraints and Break the Chains

Is the pain of your past hindering your future? Do you feel too damaged to do any good, or your mistakes are too plenty for you to have any credibility? What's constraining you?

In Leading at a Higher Level, Ken Blanchard says, "An assumed constraint is a belief, based on past experience, that limits current and future experiences," and he advises us to challenge our assumed constraints. 

He gives the example of a baby elephant being trained for the circus. The elephant is staked with a heavy chain. The baby tugs, but he can't get free and gives up. The now six-ton elephant has plenty of strength to break the chain and trample everything in sight, but the passive pachyderm doesn't even try. "His inability to move beyond the length of the chain isn't real; it's an assumed constraint."

Assumed constraints reveal themselves in negative internal dialogue, excuses, and blaming—in statements like: "I will never be free of this addiction." "I can never forgive what he did." "I’m destined for this life because I come from a dysfunctional family." These statements are the accusing whispers of the devil: the enemy of your soul.

He takes our pain and uses it against us.  He is always trying to get us to question our value. So he minds us of something we did or what someone did to us and an ugly memory surfaces, certain that God must be disgusted by us. The thought of God's complete disapproval is a life sentence. So we flog ourselves with negative self-talk, hoping to pay penance. But there is nothing we can do to pay for our sin or the sins committed against us. Jesus already did. If we know the truth, we won't fall for the accuser's lies:

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

The way to know the truth is through God's Word, and anything that goes contrary to Scripture is a lie. God loved you so much He sacrificed His Son, so you could know the truth and live an abundant life.

The chains that have you bound can be broken. God has heard your cries, and He has a heavenly bolt cutter that can snap the shackled pain from your heart. God loves you dearly and He holds nothing against you:

There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1

The enemy of your soul wants you to focus on the negative so God's perfectly designed plan for your life goes unfulfilled. Have you tugged and pulled like that little elephant? Have you stopped trying … overwhelmed with frustration?

My dear friend Rhonda Sciortino says in Succeed Because of What You've Been Through, "Whatever adversity you've experienced is what qualifies you to fulfill your specific purpose." You are an expert and the hope for someone else. What the devil meant for evil God will bring you honor. Break the chains of faulty thinking and unlock the key to a life of FREEDOM.


For more training on breaking the chains, check out our new online course at

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