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Give it up, already!

It has been several days since I posted last. I've been in New Jersey on military duty, and the hectic nature of my schedule precluded regular posting. But I'm back in good ol' Virginia now, so I plan to resume my "normal" frequency of posts.

For various reasons I won't go into here, the time away from home this week allowed me to refocus a little and to look at things in my life from a slightly different perspective. And one of the things I realized is that I all too often allow people and circumstances to hold me back from attaining my full potential. In my constant effort to please others coupled with my obsessive desire to hold on to the past, I sometimes forget to be myself, to pursue my God-given passions, and to let go of those things in the past that act as huge weights to my emotional and spiritual well-being.

On the latter point, I left a job a little over a year ago that epitomized a toxic leadership environment. Since then, I have harbored a lot of resentment toward certain people in the organization and have taken every opportunity to commiserate with family, friends, and colleagues about how dysfunctional the organization is, how miserable I was in it, and how "evil" some of the leaders have proven themselves to be. However, maybe for the first time, I realized this week that my obsession with the pain I experienced is doing nothing but dragging me down. Nothing I say about the organization, no amount of resentment I shelter, and no expenditures of mental energy given to the dysfunction will do anything to change the organization, change the people in the organization, or affect progress in my life. So, why do I do it?

Obviously, we obsess about things like this because we are hurt. But we don't have to allow hurt to draw us down. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28, NIV). We have an outlet for our pain and our weariness, and that outlet is Christ. As cliche as it may sound, God has given us a way to deal with the suffering in this life, but it requires trust and reliance on divine power instead of our own power--divine wisdom instead of our own wisdom. And it requires a continual communion with God. It is absolutely amazing how regular prayer, Bible study/meditation, and fellowship with God's people change our outlook on things and heal our broken hearts. It's even more amazing how often we fail to attend to these spiritual disciplines!

So, my advice to myself and others: "Give it up, already!" Give up on trying to please others. Give up on trying to change the past. Give up on trying to do life alone in the absence of God and his people. Give up on your own way of doing things, and give God's way a try. Sure, hurt will always be a part of life, but it doesn't have to define our lives.

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