“This is true faith, a living confidence in the goodness of God.” –Martin Luther
There is something about our inner and outer selves that shines when we walk in the confidence of God’s glory and goodness. It expresses the security, attachment, love, and comfort that we receive through our relationship with God. It also extends the invitation of our belonging in God’s kingdom to the people we encounter and have the privilege to serve all throughout our walk of life.
As we launch into this new year, my prayer is that each of you can do so without having anything that restrains you from walking forward. In order to live fully, we have to let go. May this year be a year unlike any other for each of you; a year that allows you to live and embrace life in its fullest like God has desired for you to do from the very beginning. Nothing should hold you back from a life that was given to you with intent for it to be lived in its full. Not one thing.
When we learn to let go of the things that hold us back, we start to launch forward into the true, abundant life awaiting our arrival. Today, I want to share a few thoughts on how to let go of the weights that may be holding you back:
- Why is it holding you back? Anger? Bitterness? A lack of closure? Unresolved pain? Whatever it is, feel it fully. Do not stifle your feelings or they will leak out and affect not only you, but those around you as well. Before you let go of any emotion, you have to feel your way through it. Do not try to throw it to the back of your mind when it appears at the very front of it. If you do not actually take the time to feel what you want to feel, you simply will not heal. Do not be fearful of feeling through your emotions, ladies. You are strong and you will get through this.
- If possible, express your feelings to the person who offended you. Give yourself a day to pray about what you are feeling, and then start preparing what it is you want to say. Anger may have been the root of your problem, but remember that anger is not the solution. You have to be comfortable and confident when you confront whoever it is that hurt you. Pray for proper preparation and seek the best outlet of communication for your situation (ask to get together, write a letter, make a phone call, construct an email, etc.). No matter how the reciprocator of your pain responds, know that you can only control how clearly and kindly you express yourself.
- Change your perception. See the root of your cause as a blessing in disguise. Any opportunity received is every opportunity offered by God to glorify Him. Train yourself to see things this way. Whatever it is that you are still holding onto, do not forget Who it is you serve. My mother always told me two wrongs do not make a right. Be the one who makes things right- even if you are the one who was wronged.
- Focus your mind on what you can control. Although you do not have control over everything, you do have control over some things. For example, you can control what you believe and how you implement your beliefs into your life. Being what we believe brings happiness to our hearts. Do not let your anger or anxieties conquer your control.
- Cultivate compassion. We have all made mistakes before, and we will all make them again. Next time, instead of showing anger on the offender, choose to show compassion. Compassion dissolves anger.
- Learn the lesson. No matter what it is we go through, lessons are always involved. Look at your situation and see what lessons there are to be learned. If you have not learned any lessons in your situation quite yet, maybe it is because your lesson revolves around learning how to minister out of your pain or how to confront someone that has hurt you.
- Make lists. Make one list that addresses what you are stressed or worried about. Make another list that supplies ideas to release your frustrations and anxieties. Then, turn these ideas into actions.
I pray that these methods leave you with hope for a bright year ahead of you. Do not let the things that hold you back rob you of your joy. Instead, face them head on with a fearless faith and shake those shackles off.
Walk in the freedom and truth of God’s promises as you walk through the year ahead of you.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27 NIV)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (Peter 5:7 NIV)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV)