2014…Well, that went fast! It’s amazing how quickly 365 days pass by – especially the good days. Oh, how I wished some of those good days could have lasted a little longer. And the bad days…well, the bad days couldn’t end soon enough.
While I post a lot of positive things on social media about what’s happening in my life, my family or at our church, you’re all smart enough to know that even my sunny flower garden of life has a smelly pile of dog crap dumped in the corner.
Like you, my 2014 doled out it’s fair share of struggles with the kids, tough moments in our marriage, things that broke and cost a lot of money to fix – and so, so much more. There were moments when I thought life couldn’t get any better alternating with moments when I just wanted to crawl in bed and never get out. That’s just life, right?
Now it’s December 31. Aaannnnd I’m still singing the song “Let It Go” from watching the movie for the first time on Christmas Eve. My husband rented the movie because we both secretly wanted to see it, but we were too cool to admit it to each other. How come no one told me that this was an animated movie disguised as a film for adults?
If you’re hating me because you’re singing the song now, you’ll thank me later. “Let It Go” is a great song for leaving one year and heading into the next.
Can I admit that I teared up while listening to the song? Goodness, yes I did.
As we leave 2014, there are three lines from the song that resonated with me. I’d like to share those three lines and a few questions that you may consider as you reflect on how you lived over the past year:
1. “Here I stand, here I’ll stay…”
I love how Elsa stamped her little animated foot as she built her ice castle, causing the snowflake to form as a symbol of who she was. Once Elsa decided it was time to stop running, she didn’t waver or falter. She stomped her foot and stood her ground.
What about you? Did you live by your convictions in 2014 OR did you struggle to know what to believe or say when issues of racism, homosexuality or immigration took over our news feeds and Facebook threads?
In 2015, where do you need to respectfully stand up more for what you believe and not be intimated or hushed by opposing viewpoints?
2. “I don’t care what they may say…”
If you watched the movie, you saw how Elsa became a prisoner to her fear of what would happen if people knew who she really was. So, she hid behind closed doors, shutting everyone – including her sister – out.
How much of 2014 did you live based on what others thought of you? How did it feel every time that you didn’t get a chance to say or think what was really on your mind? How can you live differently in 2015?
As long as we live according to other’s opinions of what we should think, say or feel, we will be miserable because we will not be living authentically. Ask yourself this: Who has God created me to be? What has God called me to do? How has God called me to live?
As we head into 2015, I hope you take the time to figure out the answers to those questions. Then, you tell everyone else with an opinion to shut-up. (Okay, I wanted to be dramatic. Don’t use “shut up” – it’s not a nice word and Jesus wouldn’t use it. At least I don’t think that he would.)
3. “The past is in the past…”
We’re all dragging around old records of life events in metaphorical suitcases shackled to our ankles. The number of those suitcases vary per person. Yet, I suspect that those of you carrying a full five-piece set know that you’re being crushed under the weight of your past.
Are you being held hostage by painful memories or emotionally controlled by memories of the past?
While it’s not possible to erase the memories, you don’t have to suffer when you do remember. Holding onto every single memory of what was done to you doesn’t make you a survivor. Holding onto your need to know “why” something happened won’t make the real pain go away. Hostages are trapped with no means of escape. You aren’t a helpless hostage. God wants you to be free. Surrendering your grip of the pain, anger or worry and giving it up is what frees you!
Here’s some practical tips if you need a place to start moving away from the past:
1. You’ve got let it OUT before you can let it GO… Most of our bad memories stay trapped in our imagination on a continuous replay reel. It’s time to stop replaying the movie and acknowledge each event. Start with make a list of the past memories/incidents/people that cause you to feel pain, fear, guilt or anger. Be specific.
2. Sit down with someone that you trust and share those memories with him or her. There’s a wonderful scriptural principle (James 5:16) that tells us that when we talk about our struggles, that puts us on the path to healing. This is why counseling and recovery groups exist. You cannot let go of the painful past on your own!
3. You may need a recovery group like Celebrate Recovery or professional counseling…If you’ve got a lifetime of abuse and pain, your struggle may be more than a good friend can or should handle. Yes, it’s tough asking someone for help and sometimes, it’s expensive. But, the price you’ve paid for holding onto that baggage has been even higher.
4. Invite God into the new space…Holding onto the past occupies a lot of space in our lives. Letting go of baggage can oddly leave us feeling empty because we’re so used to that space being filled by pain, anger or fear. This is the place where you can invite God to fill. If you’re already a Christian, that’s great! Now God has more room to work in your life. If you aren’t a believer, then consider trusting God with your life and letting Him show you what a life of purpose and freedom looks like.
My prayer for all of you is that 2015 is the year that you live fully, freely and faithfully. Let go of any past that is dragging you down and let go of the fears that keep you from living as God has called you to live.
Thank you for letting me be a part of your social media life this year. I’ve been honored by every person who has clicked the link to my blog. I pray that you’ve been blessed by what you’ve read. My words mean nothing if you aren’t encouraged, inspired or blessed.
Happy New Year!
By the way, my new book, Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle with Beauty is available NOW wherever books are sold!
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