Let it Go... I wonder how many of you started singing that forever etched in our psyche song from Frozen like I did?
Every time I feel like God is asking me to let something go, I typically will break out in song, well, after I have had a mini temper tantrum because I don't really want to let it go...
Exactly what does it mean to let go? It literally means to relinquish our grip on someone or something. If you are like me, you may have experienced that letting go is not as easy as the song makes it seem. But then again, poor Elsa didn't really let anything go, she just stuffed it and froze everyone out of her life, because, well, the cold (inside her heart) never bothered her anyway...that's a lot of anger!
Anger is a hot topic (or a cold hearted one). Personally, I always thought anger was a justifiable emotion since Jesus got angry and over turned tables! But I found that anger, although a legitimate emotion, is not something that serves anyone well, especially ourselves. And, the bible is pretty clear that being angry is something we are to move through rather quickly, like before the sun goes down!
Over time, unreleased anger can eventually eat away and harden and isolate even the most tenderest of hearts.
Anger doesn't always have to have a need for forgiveness attached to it. It is a feeling of hostility, annoyance and displeasure but often what we do or say while being angry is where we end up having to ask another person and God to forgive us. Anger is defined as losing control over something or someone. Basically, a temper tantrum.
The bible says to "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor [shouting], and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice [evil intent]." - Ephesians 4:31
After the grueling process of learning and working through trust, surrender and forgiveness, (see my previous blogs if you have no idea what I am talking about), I found myself being challenged by God about my internal responses to my anger. Yep, still got angry about stuff but mostly just kept it to myself or rather inside myself.
A little history...I have always had one go to emotion for when I was hurt, frustrated, disappointed or even sad - it was anger. I had never really learned how to appropriately process my feelings, mostly because I was always told what I "should" be feeling instead of being free to feel and move through the emotions.
Years ago after I had participated in counseling, my counselor told me she had to see a counselor to deal with my anger in the beginning of our time together. Wow... must have been pretty bad. Well, I know it was. I had to live with me! What I know now is my anger was nothing more than feeling out of control with no way to resolve what was happening around me.
The first five years of my life were filled with violence, uncertainty and insecurity. Traumatic experiences compounded one after another established a pattern of fear, anxiousness and a constant state of fight or flight. As I got older, inconsistencies and unpredictability in family and friend relationships embedded in me a sense of feeling unsafe and unprotected. So I became bigger, better and stronger, using anger as a means to preserve my sense of well being and safety. Not the best way to self preserve but the only way I knew how. Looking back, it may have been what literally saved my life but there came a time when it no longer served me (and definitely didn't serve others well) and I had to allow God to teach me how to let it go. Not an easy task.
It is hard to change learned behaviors but not impossible. As God persisted in doing an inner work in me, the anger became less and less. It took a lot more to get me stirred up to the point of boiling, but when I did boil, it was still pretty intense. Over the past ten years, I found that my anger was more of an imploding experience than an exploding. My anger turned inward resulted in depression. It wasn't until five years ago that I actually acknowledged out-loud to another person that I thought I was depressed. That was the start of a deep healing and a dealing with all the bottled up anger.
I bring up the past because our pasts have a profound affect on how we see our present and future. Everything we experience runs through the filter of our internal programming. Change the program and our experiences become profoundly different.
This may sound silly, but letting go is, well, letting go. Letting go of trying to control your life, your circumstances, others lives and their circumstances, the world and everything that is broken in it. YOU HAVE NO CONTROL over anything but your choices. Choose to let go.
I always felt letting go was a very difficult thing to do. I often had a hard time seeing when I was trying to hang on to or control something, and then, once emotionally stuck on it, made it even harder to let go. The key is to not get emotionally stuck on whatever it is. Let it go the moment it starts to take hold.
Here is a simple way that God revealed to me to get real and face what I have a hard time letting go of. Imagine God asking you, "What are you mad at?" or "What seems to be the problem?". As you keep answering the question, now imagine that God keeps asking you the same question over and over until you get to the root reason for your feelings. If you are like me, and no doubt you are at some level, eventually, you will get to an ah-ha moment when you realize that what is troubling you is just a lack of control over something. It is at this place, that you have the opportunity to surrender and relinquish that need for control over to the one who knows how to handle everything. Let it Go.
Don't forget to pick up a copy of my book, "Confessions of a Feel Good Addict"
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