I went to lunch with a friend yesterday, & she said something that was…funny (for lack of a better phrase) to me. She said “when I grow up, I want to be like you. You love Jesus, Jesus loves you. You have a blog. You have all the confidence in the world. Nothing ever phases you…” Now, this was funny to me for a few reasons. First, I never really saw myself as somebody people would have to “grow up” to be (I feel I’m pretty basic lol). There’s also the fact that the journey of my confidence is something that we’ll talk about in a later post (because baaaaaaaby let me tell you! lol). I realized, however, that most of what she saw in me wasn’t a result of some magical ability I have to get everything in order; I believe it’s just the fact that I’ve been hurt enough to learn to let go.
All of my life, I’ve heard about the importance of forgiveness. I’ve heard that it’s simply the Christian thing to do. I’ve heard that forgiveness can heal you more than it can heal whoever has done you wrong. I’ve heard a lot of…beautiful things about forgiveness and letting go…and I still didn’t really know what it really meant. I had what I now call “false forgiveness”: I’d say that I was putting it behind me or that I’d forgive somebody, just because I wanted God to forgive me. So whenever I saw them, I’d dwell on the fact that they hurt me. I didn’t want forgiveness; I wanted a chance at retaliation. I wanted to make you feel bad because you made me feel bad. See, I would try to "forget those things which are behind me", and "press toward the mark" of being over it, but somethiiiiiinnng got a hold of me & kept me there for a while. Then, one day, I had an epiphany: most those people didn’t know what they had done, so they weren’t hurt. And if they did know, they had clearly pushed it to the side & kept moving with their lives. Now, this sounds incredibly simple, but when it hit, IT HIT. I realized that sometimes, you have to provide your own closure. You have to realize that some stuff just…won’t work. And while that sounds incredibly sad at first, it actually is a good thing. How? Well, there are some people who have adopted hurt as their normal. Some people have been wounded by life that they’ve forgotten that freedom exists. Letting go of the pain gives that (seemingly impossible) freedom. Secondly, I’ve realized (in a literal and figurative way) that it’s easier to run towards where you need to be…when you’re not burdened down. I know that you want to get to your destiny, but are you willing to drop the past in order to get there? Would you rather hold on to the past and stay where you are, or let go of it (for real) to get to your future?
An essential part of forgiveness and moving forward is letting go. Like...really releasing that pain. You don't lie to yourself and say that it didn't happen or that it didn't hurt you. You simply have to stop letting it hurt you. Yes, it happened. Yes, it sucked. But was it worth your happiness? Is it at all possible, for you to make this the last day that the pain lingers like this? Are you willing to say "they hurt me, but I'm value my future more than I value that pain"? Anything or anybody that draws a strong (and typically sad or enraged) emotion from you without having to do anything still has a hold on you. There's pain there that you haven't fully addressed, and it's holding you back whether you realize it or now.
Now, letting go of the past is not easy. It's not a fairy tale. It takes work. But I'd rather work now than to regret later, how about you? In order for me to let go of all that happened to me, I had to look back at the entire situation, take the good (sometimes..if it didn't do more harm than good), and simply drop the bad. I had to take the lesson & leave the luggage. It hurt, because every time, it meant that I had to drop the hope of something that God wasn't going to allow. I had to stop lying to myself, and live the life that I have instead of trying to force the life that I had back to life. That was letting go for me. It may not be the same for you. I don't know who's hurt you or what they've done, but I know that it's cost you some happiness that you need to get back. It's worth it....I know it is...
For some people, however, the issue may not be that you need to forgive other people...it may be that you need to forgive yourself. I know this situation all too well. It kept me from achieving certain dreams and doing/saying certain things that I know God told me to...all because I thought that I knew something about myself that He didn't. It kept me from fully accepting His grace and His love. It kept me from telling my story. It kept me from promises for a while...all because I was guilty over what I had done. I spent years regretting the past not always because of what somebody else had done, but because of what I had (not) done. How do you get past that? Forgiving others can seem like nothing compared to forgiving yourself because of the standard that some of us hold ourselves too. Some people expect others to let us down because people will forever be people, but when it's you...and you see your mistake...and why it was so stupid...it seems major. The only way I got out of it was to realize that if God can forgive me, I could forgive myself. His standard is a lot higher than the one I have for myself...and He still loves me. He still hears me. He still cares about me. If He can drop it, and He died for me, I should be able to move past it too. Me rejecting His grace and His forgiveness never made anything better, so I decided to do something new, and it may be time for you to do the same...
The interesting thing about letting go is that it isn't limited to people. There may very well be certain things or habits that you need to let go of in order to get to (or thrive in) your next level. Today, I challenge you to decide what you want to be. More importantly, what does God want you to be? Once you've answered that question, I want you to begin to think about what that looks like, and see the difference between the person you will be and the person you are. If your goal is to be better with your finances, what do you need to stop? If you want to get over a past relationship, what do you need (not want, need) to let go? If you want a better relationship, what do you need to change? Whatever it is, recognize that you don't always need a countdown to start. Some things need to start immediately. If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always gotten. It could be completely possible that the fact that you're stuck isn't because you're holding on to somebody beyond their season or because you're guilty, but because your actions are redundant. It's time to go to the next level, which means that it's time to let some things go. Sometimes, we do things out of pure habit that aren't serving us any purpose at all, or we've become numb to them and forgotten the meaning behind the ritual. If it isn't helping you grow, it's got to go.
I believe that a lot of us are in a shifting season. It's time to get upgraded, and the only thing keeping us from what's new is what's old. If you're going to take in all that God has for you in your next level, you're going to need to make room and push some of the old stuff out. Now, everything old isn't worthless. There are plenty of memories, etc. that I will forever cherish because they have made me who I am. However, I refuse to let any pain keep me from my purpose. I don't know about you, but I fought to get to this place, and I didn't come this far to only come this far. It's time to go to the next level, and we can't get there weighed down by what was. You don't have to wait until New Year's Day, or some other dramatic point. You can start to let go of it today. Need a specific plan? Go to the God that created the journey. I can't tell you exactly what to do because I don't know your life, personality, or struggle, but I know the God I'm sending you to...and I know that if you follow Him, you'll make it to the other side of your struggle.
Background Music: Never Be Bound Again - Bishop Paul Morton, & Wanna Be Happy - Kirk Franklin
Words from the Author
At the end of the day, these posts are the thoughts that run through my mind. These are the lessons I've learned. The doors that I've walked through. The path I've chosen. This is part of what it means to be me. Hopefully, it'll help you be...you. Let's grow together, kay?
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