With the first day of spring this month, I thought why not look at a series for spring cleaning but one that helps your relationships!?! Check out the rest of the posts to clean out, clear out, and dust off your relationships this spring. And next month join us for Grow Month! A whole month of ways to grow confidently connected together.
Dear Reader, spring at our house is often a time to cleaning out and letting go of stuff. Letting go isn’t always easy though, whether it’s a perfectly good scarf that wasn’t worn last season, or a way of thinking about myself that is “so last season”, or a hurt that stuck around since last season. Letting go is much needed to prepare for the next seasons or just to enjoy this season, if it is…hard. So this week it’s perfect to think about letting go as we approach Easter weekend.
We can talk it through here today, you can walk it through in the steps below, and then you can share it with others at an Easter service. How does letting go connect with Easter? When we let go we make room for new life. Easter is about new life – resurrection life, and a new covenant between God and people that promises to bring hope to everyone. The new covenant is seen visibly in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s deep and wide, rich and thoughtful, faith-filled and evidence providing. It’s also controversial, just like the internal battle that occurs when we think of letting go.
Letting go is difficult when there is disappointment that has led to resentment either towards yourself or another person. Disappointment and resentment can be sticky but it’s truly critical we actually take care to comfort the disappointment and to heal the resentment. Disappointment is often a place where the root is sadness, so comfort from God and others will help. That’s not the only thing though that is needed. Along with comfort, the sadness can be cared for with grace and truth over time. This allows the resentment which often comes in the form of a wound, that can turn nasty or bitter over time, to be healed through that grace and truth. Truth is not what is true for you, but truth is the word of God about who you truly are and the purpose for your life and the promises God has provided for your life. God’s word works because it lines up with how we are created.
The next step has some preconceptions but it’s necessary for letting go and finding freedom through forgiveness. Forgiveness of ourselves and of others. Forgiving ourselves is necessary because when we hold something against ourselves or over ourselves we can create an internal division or disconnect. That allows the past hurt to stay locked away and not cared for or healed. When we acknowledge what we did, how we felt disappointed, where we felt unsupported or uncared for, and then acknowledge the truth of our choices, we can offer ourselves the same grace that God offers us.
(Are there things where you wonder if God can forgive you? I once thought there were some things I did that didn’t warrant his forgiveness, and there was also a time when I thought I didn’t need his forgiveness. Then out of the desire to be free from the sadness, the fear, and the anger I got to know God’s character and when I asked him to show me who he really is, he did. I just talked to him like I talk to anyone else, but I felt like he really listened and he really cared. I saw my need to be forgiven because what I had chosen to do was hurtful to him and put up a barrier between us, called sin. Asking God to forgive me and then to save me from my sin gave me a strength inside and outside to battle the fear, to resolve the anger, and to comfort the sadness. )
Forgiving others always comes out of a desire to help us be healed too. Forgiving others is letting them go off the hook we placed them on when they hurt us. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting and it doesn’t mean letting the person keep hurting you or to hurt you again without setting up healthy boundaries.
Forgiveness is ultimately a “stewardship” of what God has given us—He has totally forgiven us. When we choose to forgive someone, we’re just passing along to others something that doesn’t really belong to us—we are extending God’s forgiveness, not our own.
To help us forgive, we may need to receive care and comfort from God for the hurt underneath our own anger before we choose to forgive from our hearts.
Identify something that hurts.
Express your hurt to God and tell him about your pain.
“Dear God, I think I’m hurting about _______________. It really hurt when
___________. I felt disappointed that _______________.
Ask God these questions and wait for his response:
– Lord do you understand how this hurt me? Do you understand my pain?
– Lord when did you experience something like this?
– Lord what do you feel for me about this?
Ask God to forgive you for your sins and to help you live your life with him and through
When you have experienced God’s comfort and compassion for your pain, choose to forgive the one who hurt you and express your choice to God, even before that person apologizes to you:
Dear Lord, thank you for caring so much about me that you are moved with compassion for my pain.
Thank you that you understand and you care.
And thank you that you forgive me for all my sins—you don’t hold anything against me.
You have completely taken me “off your hook” because Jesus has paid for all my sins on the cross.
In light of all this, I choose to forgive _________________ for __________________________ ______________________________________________________________ (express details).
I choose to let go of my anger. I choose to take _________________” off my hook”. This person is accountable to You—please change him/her as you see fit. I choose to no longer hold a grudge against him/her.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Finding this freedom in forgiveness allows for the process of letting go to be a bit easier. It’s always a process of letting go because the hurt we experienced was in relationship with people and the healing will also come in relationship with healthy people. So there will often be reminders of the past pain. When similar situations come up and try to remind you of the past pain, that doesn’t mean you didn’t forgive, but it might mean there is sadness or hurt that needs comforted or healed.
When the resentment has been released and the forgiveness has been found, that’s when your confidence is created. We gain confidence when there is nothing holding us down, shaming us, or keeping us from connecting with others.
Next month we will jump into growing confidently connected to each other.
- Did a current conversation or a certain someone pop into mind as you read this blog?
- What are your thoughts as you consider letting go?
- Do you need to gather any support to help you let go?
We were never designed to go through life alone, but life and adulting can make it begin to feel like that! Don’t let it stay that way! Get back to the important things of building healthy relationships and being a healthy, safe, good friend to those in your life! Together we can make a difference in bringing about healthy, safe, good growing relationships!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
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