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The freedom in letting go…

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

God Bless,
Court 🙂

Taking flight

 I took a (very) mini  vaca a couple weekends ago and had sooooo much fun!  There was nothing epic or super spectacular about the trip, but I did get to catch up with old friends, meet new people and not concern myself with the worries of normal life. Usually by the end of any trip I’m ready and eager to get home & back to my life.  But this time was different.  I found myself sad about returning back to cold weather, papers, presentations, bills, homework, work and more stress.  The majority of the stresses like the bills, papers, homework (because I chose to return to school)  I created because I have a tendency to take on more than one person should attempt to handle in a life time.  And the time spent not having to deal with or think about cleaning up the mess I made was freeing.  Without the busyness of life, I had a chance to actually enjoy it.

I can remember about ten years ago asking God to make my life like a vacation.  By this I meant worry free, fun and enjoyable, and there are times that I feel this way.  But lately I have found myself in a situation where being bogged down with the things of this world made it quite difficult to lighten up.   I don’t know if you’ve every had this feeling, but there are times when I just want to run away and start a brand new, shiny life and this was one of those times.  But ultimately, while it may seem like a plausible solution I knew that running away is rarely if ever the solution to a problem.   The bills would most likely track me down anyway, I would have to find another job,  and troubles would always rear their ugly heads, as it is a part of life no matter what part of globe we call home.  James tells us that ‘when we fall into divers temptations’, not if. 

If you have similar experiences, feelings or urgings to take flight and jet off to a new fabulous life then congrats as it might be in the cards for you to do so.  But if you truly know that you are to grow where you’re planted, I would encourage you to do one of three things, map out solid goals to make your life more enjoyable, take inventory of the blessings you have at home and know that running from problems solves nothing because they always find you.  You may have momentary happiness, but it will be short lived if you are leaving for all the wrong reasons. 

For me, the plus is that I know I can solve a lot of the things I don’t like about my life, I can choose to spend money wisely and pay down my debt quickly, I can purposely make time to truly enjoy my friendships, take less classes and not take on so much work.  Plus, without a doubt I would miss so much if I moved right now, my home, my job and ultimately my family which since they are here, my heart truly is as well.  Although I am planning a move years down the line, I know jumping up and moving now wouldn’t serve me well, so in the end I readied myself for the two hour flight to the tune of an obviously equally unhappy little boy with the vocal expertise of a banshee behind me, wiped away the could’ve beens from my mental rolodex and headed home, where at this point in my life at least is where I know I belong.

God bless