Maybe I don't have an addictive personality, though other habits I have tried to give up would say differently. All I know is, generally, when I am ready to make a change and know in my heart of hearts it's time, then I am able to do it. These moments don't come around all that often. I gave up cigarettes New Year's Eve 1991. 1992 found me smokeless. That was 23 years ago.
I know I have been able to give up other bad habits, but I can't remember what they all were. What I can remember is the feeling.
Somehow in that moment I know I am fully and completely done with ____ and I walk away. Maybe any other time I wasn't truly ready to give it up? Maybe I simply didn't want to give it up for whatever reason. That's the crux of it, isn't it? We choose what we do with our lives, and sometimes even though our head might say it's ready to walk away our heart isn't so sure, so the habit stays around longer than we would like to admit.
New Year's Eve is tomorrow night. New resolutions, habits, ideas are being born a million a minute right now. It's something about this time of year. On Facebook I asked who else was ready to reorganize, rearrange, plan, and schedule, and several friends agreed with me. This is one time of the year the majority of people are trying to find ways to make their lives easier, better, run smoother, and more enjoyable.
I'm doing it. I rearranged furniture through the entire house. At the beginning of December I began the bullet style journaling to see if it would work for me, and I will carry it into January. I have a stack, and a list still needing more titles, of books I will be reading in 2015. I have removed all games but Words with Friends from my phone. (*gasp*) And I have my word for the year as well. It's a magical time of the year when we all strive to be better.
And there's something to be said for that. None of us will ever be in a place where we can't find ways to improve ourselves. We can always be and do better. It's the working hard which brings us success, even if failure comes first.
But there is also something to be said for accepting yourself right where you are, flaws and all. To know that deep inside you are doing the best you can right now, and even if you fail at releasing the habits you want out of your life, you are still lovable, lovely, and loved. Actually, I believe until you can get to the point of accepting and loving yourself for the sinful mess you are because God has redeemed you right now before any changes happen, until you can do that then it's so much harder to move forward into any kind of improvement. You may get a baby step here and there, but for God to fully work through your hard work and bring things around you have to be accepting of who you are, not condemning.
So... in that vein.
I have tried my hardest to release bitterness I have been holding onto, but I haven't been successful. I have pretended it away, hiding it in the corners of my mind, but God saw it and has been pushing it around to get my attention. See, I have to admit it's there before I can clean it out. Oh I can encourage others to forgive with the best of them, but apparently I wasn't fully ready to release the hurt and anger I had such a tight grip on.
Am I ready now? Is there a flip of the mind switch I can hit like I did with the cigarettes? Should I spend tomorrow morning doing morning pages on all the hatred, ugliness, and bitterness that lives in my heart so that I can move past it the next day? Maybe that's not such a bad idea.
But what I do know is if we want to move forward we need to...
well, I'll be honest with you. There is no list. There are a million things which might work for you, which might help you into moving in the direction you want to go, but until you let God do something with the work you are doing, you might be working in circles.
I'll start with the journaling, include some praying, and hope that the switch does happen, because I believe in my heart of hearts I am ready to walk away from this angst. I pray you allow God to work in your heart of hearts as well.
Some possible journal prompts I will be using if you are interested:
- what is it that is bothering you?
- why is that bothering you?
- what do you wish had happened?
- what do you wish would happen?
- what if it never happens?
- can you accept they are as flawed as you are?
- can you accept they did the best they could in that moment?
- what lessons can you take away from the person/situation?
- not to put roses on a stinky mess, but how can you look at that event/person differently?
- what is your benefit for holding onto the angst?
- what would your benefit be to release it?