Archive for the ‘Letting Go’ Category

Unenforceable Rules

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Often when trying to enforce unenforceable rules we write mental tickets to “punish” the one who has acted wrongly. Unfortunately, if our rule is unenforceable, the only person we end up hurting with our ticket is ourselves. We clog up our minds with these tickets. We become frustrated because things do not go the way we want. We become angry because something wrong is happening. We feel helpless because we cannot make things right.

I am convinced that when you try to enforce something over which you have no control, you create a problem for yourself. That problem gets in your way as you try to figure out what is the best thing to do. It is much harder to know what to do when you are angry, frustrated, and helpless. Making a good decision is tough when you are constantly writing tickets and there is no one to give them to….

We have as much chance of enforcing our unenforceable rules as of getting blood out of a stone. Think for a minute about why trying to do so makes our lives so hard. Have you ever tried to force someone to do something they did not want to do? How successful were you? Have you ever tried to get what you needed from a person who did not want to help? How successful was that? Have you ever demanded your spouse or partner be nicer to you? Were you successful? Have you ever gotten mad at yourself for making a mistake? Did getting mad help? Ever demanded your boss treat you better? Did this change your boss’s behavior? Each of these normal desires is an example of trying to enforce an unenforceable rule. Trying to change what cannot be changed or influence those who do not want to be influenced will meet with failure and cause us emotional distress.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 49

[Photo: Duart Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland, July 12, 2003]

Other People’s Needs

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

We think we know so well what other people need. Often enough we do. But before we can tell what we know, we must first, paradoxically, forget we ever knew it. We must enter the fire of a person’s living presence and accept the risk of spontaneous, unpremeditated relationship. Only in the midst of the free fall of real personal encounter may we discover, when we least expect it, the wisdom to confront a thorny problem.

Whenever possible, it is best to let others take the lead in correcting themselves. It is surprising how willing many are to do this if only they catch a whiff of genuine love. In this atmosphere, as often as not, the forbidden issue will actually be raised by the other person first, and suddenly we’re invited to give the counsel stored up within us. Alternatively, once we come to know and appreciate others, it may no longer seem so important to give them a piece of our mind!

— Mike Mason, Practicing the Presence of People, p. 155

[Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 11, 2018]

Getting Out of the Blame Game

Friday, January 19th, 2018

When we are in pain in the present, we often blame our bad feelings on the hurts done in the past. One of the ways we do this is to assume that people meant to hurt us. Another way is to link the cruelty in the past with our current feelings. Both of these hypotheses make it harder for us to heal. This is not to say that understanding some of the causes of our feelings and behavior is not helpful. Remember that feeling hurt does not automatically mean someone meant to hurt you. The crux of the matter is that even when we think we understand where our feelings originated, we still have to develop skills in the present in order to change for the better.

We can learn to make hypotheses that will motivate us to improve our lives and thereby heal our hurts. This is the opposite of blaming. When we blame someone for our troubles, we remain stuck in the past and extend the pain. Unfortunately, we are unaware of how much we limit our chances of healing when we blame someone else.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 24.

Even Our Kids

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

By becoming a Christian, we say we are giving our lives to Christ. If that’s true — if we’ve given our lives to Christ — we’ve given it all. Everything.

And if that’s true, it includes — and boy, is this tough to say as a dad — it includes our very children. They’re his.

No one can take anything, or anyone, from His grip. They can take from ours, but not His.

So watch them sleep, and thank God for them, and know that they’re on loan. He loves them even more than you do. And whatever happens, He’s got the big picture; we don’t.

— Brant Hansen, Unoffendable, p. 121

Letting Go of the Past

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

When we are holding on, we are living in the past. When we are living in the past, we are just living in a fantasy that we made up. Holding on can never make us happy, because fantasy is an illusion. As we are willing to let go of the ghosts of yesterday, we allow ourselves to receive what life has for us now, which is better than what we are letting go of. Life has something that is true for us that would move us forward. It is something that would let us really make contact and be satisfied.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 262

Forgiveness and Grief

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Forgiveness is so difficult because it involves death and grief. I had been looking for patterns in people extending generosity and love, but not in people feeling grief. At that moment it struck me: Given the dark fears we feel when we experience loss, nothing is more generous and loving than the willingness to embrace grief in order to forgive. To be forgiven is to be loved.

The death or ending that forgiveness necessitates comes in many shapes and forms. We may need to bury our expectations or dreams. We may need to relinquish the power that comes with “being right” or put to rest the idea that we can do what’s in our hearts and still retain the support or approval of others.

— BrenĂ© Brown, Rising Strong, p. 150

Obstacles to Joy

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

It’s easier to let God’s law convict than to let His gospel set free. Two great obstacles to joy are guilt and grudge: Either we feel guilty about our own sin, or we bear a grudge against someone else. In each case we fail to grasp the gospel, which teaches that both conditions are entirely unnecessary, for they can be readily healed through forgiveness — either receiving it for ourselves or extending it to another. The prerequisite for forgiveness is our repentance.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 17-18

Hand in the Grievances

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Dear God, I declare a day of amnesty
in which I gratefully volunteer to hand in all
my resentments and grievances to You.
Please help me to handle well all the
peace, love, happiness, and success
that must inevitably follow.
Amen.

— Robert Holden, Loveability, p. 183

Releasing to God

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

It often helps to explain that forgiveness is not saying it didn’t matter; it is not saying we simply choose to overlook the offense. Forgiveness is saying the cross is enough — we require no further payment than Jesus paid. Forgiveness is releasing the person to God for him to deal with.

— John Eldredge, Moving Mountains, p. 195

Restful Joy, Joyful Rest

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Throughout my experiment I noticed that whenever I felt worried or pressured about whether I was happy enough, joy eluded me. It is not the way of joy to be grasped. Rest is like unclenching a fist, letting go of the need to do or to know, in order that receiving might take the place of grasping. If we aren’t willing to rest, God will arrange rests for us, because He doesn’t want us to rush through life but to enjoy it.

One interesting property of happiness is that we cannot be happy without knowing it. We can be many other things — rich, blessed, lucky, loved — and not know it, but to be happy we must know it. The awareness is a part of the happiness. Rest is an opportunity to become aware of joy. We need sleep because we need dreams, and we need rest because we need daydreams.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 12