Hard, hard, hard.
People throw that advice around so easily and with such enthusiasm like they are saying something profound….”Just let it go.”
Well if it were that easy, wouldn’t we just do it?
But in reality letting go of anything that has served us in some way is difficult. Letting go of painful relationships, letting go of unhealthy patterns, letting go of what we’ve done, letting go of what has been done to us, letting go of protective coverings and striving for perfection, letting go of the very things we think we need for safety is usually not easy, and often these things need to be released again and again. Some times it a conscious daily decision not to return to what hurts us, or binds us, or keeps us enslaved. Sometimes it’s literally moment to moment that we choose to leave something behind, and in the beginning of breaking up with an addiction, relationship, or pattern, it’s a continual struggle to leave it behind where it belongs.
We may have to “Let it go” more than once or twice. We may have to grieve it more than once or twice …or for some deep losses, we may grieve hundreds of times before we can, “Let it go.” Which really is a horrible way to describe healing…. we generally don’t just wake up and just poof, let it go. For a friend or loved one to give that advice is hurtful. They usually mean well when they look us in the eye and say things like, “It’s been awhile now, it may be time to just let go.” or “You need to just quit_______” or “when will you just leave______”
Well, for most of us, healing isn’t just a snap decision like that. We have to gather up every single bit of courage, strength, and determination and actively choose to move ahead in the scary direction of healing. It’s not easy to leave behind the comforts of what we know for the unknown. The fear, the discomfort, the pain of missing the old life, or the old pattern, etc often calls us back for short term pain relief. There is instant medication in falling back into the arms of someone we love even when its bad for us, there is relief in running back into the comforting blanket of our bad habits or addictions. The problem is that the relief is a lie. It’s short term and then the pain and shame washes over like a crashing wave. Sometimes it’s a small wave that leaves us with some yucky salty residue, but we are still standing tall, other setbacks can leave us feeling as if a wave has knocked us to our feet and left us without breath. Immobilized, we sit there in our pain and wonder how we will ever have the strength to get back up.
Sometimes it’s right in the midst of our struggle when we are at this very place of complete vulnerabity when a wonderful well meaning friend or maybe a very vocal family member pipes in and says, “Isn’t it time you just moved on.” Or “You’re never going to learn your lesson and just stop are you?” or tell me, “You’re not talking to him again are you?” Not everyone who says these things to us mean us harm, but they want us to hurry up and heal or drop the bad relationship or stop doing this or that. The problem is healing is very personal and often is accompanied by some setbacks a long the way.
We can’t keep walking forward unless we want and desire to move forward. That’s why some people lose almost everything before they get serious about fighting back against their inner demons, additctions, painful relationships, etc. This inner and outer work is HARD work and painful, but the reward so great and freeing.
Setbacks are part of the process. We can embrace them as reminders why we are moving forward and not back. We can allow them to teach us how to be strong and we can use our weapons to fight back against the old life as we embrace the new.
But, be kind and loving and patient with yourself as you heal and leave behind old ways. Change doesn’t usually happen instantaneously and that’s where it’s important to give yourself space and grace. You are doing the best you can. You are choosing to love yourself enough to leave behind what feels good for what is good. Sometimes when a wave knocks you over with a memory, a bad day, a relapse, a reminder of what you’ve lost, it takes all the courage you have to not allow the water to pull you under, so when you are left knocked down off your feet by a wave, just rest for a bit whole you are down there. Then cling to the truth of the Word of the Lord, He says, “I will never leave you, or forsake you.” Look up right where you are, give room for the grief, and then allow the sunshine to rest on your cheeks, and when YOU are ready, get back up, allow the Lord to brush off your knees, and walk toward shore. You got this. You are strong, You are brave, and You are moving forward not back.
When the old life calls, remember your affirmations. Remember who you are in Christ. You are the royal daughter of the might King. You are worthy of a healthy, authentic, joy filled life. I challenge you to accept nothing less.