Day 13: Four Kinds of Chains That Bind Us


Chains can keep you out, keep you in, hold you down, or just decorate!

Sometimes I find myself stuck doing things that I don’t really want to do, and I think about things that keep me worried instead of relaxed.  I tend to perform better when stress is moderate, but when I am too stressed, everyone around me gets upset (if you know what I mean).  On one of my relaxing walks, I spotted this decorative chain. It made me ponder different kinds of chains.

Chains that keep us out

There is a chain on the gate near our house.  We have to climb under it to get to the back road.  There is no way to drive through it if the chain is there. It can be annoying.

However, not all chains are bad.  Some of us choose to have accountability partners.  That kind of chain hopefully keeps us out of trouble.  It is a relationship that helps us stay balanced.  We choose some chains that keep us out.

Chains that lock us in

We used to travel frequently to a country where news was censored. After a two-week trip to the country, we returned home to find that the Soviet Union had finally collapsed.  I was astonished and shocked to think that the whole country had completely blocked that important event in history. Some people are locked in and don’t even know it.

Sometimes it’s good to be locked in.  For example, we lock ourselves into jobs, businesses, friendships, and even having a family.  These are chains we likely enjoy.  It can be good to have chains that tie us in ways that make us feel more secure.

Chains that hold us down

I sometimes find myself around negative people.  Maybe there wasn’t enough hot water this morning, the line for coffee was too long, the food caused them to get sick, or they have another sore throat.  It’s fun to try to encourage people, but those who can’t seem to get better often bring us down.  I call them “Eeyores” from the old Winnie the Pooh series.

As we get older, we see that these people are a heavy link in a chain we don’t need.  We can drop those chains and walk a little lighter.

Chains that make us more interesting

I’m mostly inspired by people who take on new challenges.  This year I chose the “post a day challenge.”  We might also choose things like New Year resolutions and life goals to spur us on.  Even though it might serve as a chain in one way, some of us need challenges, classes, or goals in order to stretch ourselves, even if it’s a forced stretch.

For today’s brain activity, I’m making a chain link of construction paper like we did in kindergarten.  Instead of saving it to hang on the tree, I’ll use it to list those different kinds of chains in my life.  I’m choosing a different color for each of the categories above.  This will help me evaluate which chains I need to break and keep in this new year!  If you get inspired, please join me and drop a comment!

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
Samuel Johnson


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