Following my release from prison in October 2006, something I would battle with the next nine years was a lack of Hope and Purpose. There I was, free from prison after six years, yet very much still in prison, within my own skin. Purpose and Hope, I believe, go hand in hand. As the melody from the old show "Married with Children" goes, 'You can't have one without the other.' That rings true with Purpose and Hope. What is the leading cause to a loss of Hope and/or Purpose? I believe a lack of priority in one's life, that starting with Christ as number one. If priorities don't begin there, all else will fall out of place. I've had Christ in my life from a young age, but He hasn't always been Lord of my life. Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your OWN understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He WILL direct your path." I was attempting to rule my own roost, navigate my own ship, lean on my own understanding and that will NEVER work. Without God, as the head, nothing is possible. As my own captain, I'd deal with depression, anxiety, fear and being opressed. It is not easy to be an ex-felon, especially one who must register as a sex offender. Then there is something that imprisonment does to a person, mentally and emotionally, possibly a form of PTSD? You take all that into consideration then allow Christ to slip anywhere below First place in your life and you have created a recipe for failure and a lack of Hope or Purpose in your life. One doesn't have to have been in jail or prison to experience such hopelessness or lack of purpose. One can just as easily go through it imprisoned within oneself. Be it past abuse; physical, mental, emotional or sexual. Addictions of any sort, unforgiveness, hate, worry, stress, depression or any other number of things, without Christ atop the podium, can and will lead to a lack of Hope and Purpose. Hope initiates Purpose, and Purpose drives Hope. It has taken me coming back to prison, much self-reflection, re-organization of priorities and allowing Christ to work on me, from the inside out, re-molding my heart, mind and emotions, to trigger Hope and inspire Purpose. I thank the Lord for where I am today and where He is, in me. Amen!