Something I have been hard at work on in life is not holding on to things or people that should no longer be in my inner circle. For me it’s a necessary step in my journey towards maturity and a relationship with God. It has been a difficult task for me to not grasp so firmly to some of the things I felt played a pivitol role in my life up until now. But eventually I realized that I had focused only on the anguish and trauma perceived in releasing the things, dreams and people that I thought I couldn’t do without but hadn’t focused on the joy and freedom found in the beauty and satisfaction of letting go. Many of us find it challenging to let go of things, situations or people but learning to do so at any age in life will ultimately bring you more fulfillment and greater joy! Below I chronicle five areas in life where I have or am currently learning to release and maybe they might help you on your journey to freedom.
Toxic people: research has shown that although people in contented and fulfilling relationships are generally healthier, the same does not hold true for those in tumultuous or trying relationships. Not only do these interactions cause stress and anxiety in your life mentally but can take a toll on your body physically as well. Women are especially vulnerable to these negative effects which includes a lowered immune system by decreasing the T-cells, heart issues and sleep abnormalities. (WebMD) The studies that I found focused heavily on romantic centered relationships, but evidence also existed for other types of relationships such as friendships or colleagues. The ability to distance yourself may be easier said than done in these cases and may require more mental distance than physical. Ignoring or confronting the behavior will eventually come into play to help decrease the toll it is taking on you mentally and physically. Reducing your stress while in a negatively influenced relationship may look different for different people, yoga, meditation, exercise, journaling and praying are all viable options for some people.
Bible verses to remember in dealing with toxic people: Titus 3:10, Galatians 5:25
Clutter: I’ll be the first to admit that my ‘office/prayer room’ has slowly converted to a storage closet/junk room. It’s full of clutter, things I don’t need, use or wear. The original purpose of the room has vanished amongst a pile of shoes, books and clothes some with tags still attached. Since I’ve been on my journey of letting go, I’ve started to slowly declutter this room by finding good homes to the things that are in optimal quality or tossing things that aren’t. By now most of us have heard that clutter can actually cause us to become less focused and can limit our ability to process information (Princeton University Neuroscience Institute) so decluttering can not only be a burden releaser but also make you more productive!
Bible verse to remember in dealing with a cluttered home: Proverbs 24:3
3. Stresses: as mentioned previously not only can unhealthy relationships cause undue stress, but situations that bring us feelings of anxiety or frustration also create a great deal of stress in our everyday lives. The best and worst thing about stress is that most of it is brought on by ourselves! Which means there are steps we can take to decrease the amount of stress in our lives and it can end with you. Something as simple as clearing out your email inbox, getting more rest or not worrying about situations that are beyond your control can begin to eliminate a lot of the stress that we cause ourselves.
Bible verses to remember if dealing with worry and stress: Philippians 4: 6-7, Matthew 6: 24, 1Peter 5:7
4. Outcomes: learning to detach myself from outcomes has been a major task in my growth journey. It can be quite difficult to deal with the frustration and disappointment of not having things go as planned or the way I desired. But learning to release these desires is a great way to bring peace to a less than optimal situation. I discuss some ways to do so here.
Bible verses to remember if dealing with letting go of outcomes: Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28
Baggage: Carrying over baggage from one relationships will definitely ruin the second before it’s begun. By baggage I’m specifically talking about destructive emotions and stinking thinking including bitterness, jealousy, rage, anger, hatred, cynicism, malice, un-forgiveness, self-deprecation and vengefulness. Of course we will experience some of these negative emotions at some point in our human existence as a natural occurrence and to an extent they help us make our way through the maze of life. However, research has shown that living with them on a consistent basis can be deteremental to your health with the ability to cause heart disease and a higher risk of stroke (news health.com). The goal is accepting that feelings such as anger, jealousy or vengefulness arise but are not necessarily beneficial to act upon in a salacious manner or even react to immediately instead of responding at a later time and are definitely not worth holding on to. Using your emotions as indicators and not dictators could possibly save your life!
Bible verses to remember if dealing with negative emotions: Ephesians 4:31-32, Proverbs 14:29, Philippians 4:8 and Ephesians 4:26