When a New Year rolls around, discussions about New Year’s resolutions and goals for the year always surface and become topics of conversation. I have noticed that New Year’s resolutions almost always involve something that the person making the resolution wants to acquire, or degree of success that they want to attain. We hear resolutions like, ” I want to lose weight and get in better shape.”, or ” I want to quit smoking.” Often New Year’s resolutions involve getting a better job or paying off debt. The common denominator in most New Year’s resolutions is that they involve something tangible that we get or obtain. What occurred to me when I started to think about this is that reaching the levels of success that we really desire sometimes requires that we not simply get something or achieve something, but it requires us to let go of something. So what are some of the things we need to let go of in order to experience a great year in 2014? There are at least five things that I can think of that will be a weight that holds us back from success in 2014 if we fail to let them go.
1) Let go of negative thinking – As long as you continue to be consumed with fears, doubts, and worries about what the future holds, you will never experience true success. I once read a quote that said, “Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” There is a great deal of truth in those words. In order to succeed, it is imperative that we guard our minds from negative thoughts and maintain a positive attitude. We have to look forward to the future through eyes of faith and know that even though the road of life may be bumpy at times, we will succeed if we keep pressing forward and don’t give up. God promised in His word that all things are possible; He never promised all things would be easy. No person will ever rise above the limits that their faith and self-confidence place upon them. Napoleon Hill once said, ” Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
2) Let go of the need to gain the approval of others- All of us want to be appreciated and accepted by others, but there is a limit to how far we should go in trying to gain the acceptance of others. Sometimes in life, we have to make tough choices that are not popular with our friends or family, but are choices and decisions that are necessary for us to continue to grow and become the person we were meant to be. Not everyone you come in contact with will understand your motives, ideas, or the way you think about things, and that is ok. All the great people throughout history that have changed the world have had viewpoints and ideas that initially were viewed as weird or unorthodox. When we begin to concern ourselves with pleasing others, we begin to comprise our values and dreams to fit in with those whose approval we are attempting to win. One of my favorite quotes comes from Dr. Seuss…..”Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?” If we are going to make a difference in the world, we have to be different. When we are different from the crowd, we will not always win the approval of the masses. As long as we win God’s approval that is all that matters.
3) Let go of regrets and guilt of the past- We have to live for today, hope for tomorrow, and forget about yesterday. Any mistakes and failures of the past are in the past. Spending time being upset about mistakes of the past will not change or undo them. What is done is done. If you made mistakes yesterday, last week, last month, or last year, embrace the lessons that you may have learned from the mistakes, but forgive yourself and move on. None of us are perfect, and we are all going to make mistakes form time to time. If you did something in your past that was morally wrong that has left you feeling condemned and smothered in guilt, simply ask God to forgive you and move on. One of the biggest mistakes we make in life is that after asking God to forgive us, we end up being unable to forgive ourselves.
4) Let go of bitterness and unforgiveness- If someone from your past has hurt you, it is common to harbor resentment, bitterness, and unresolved anger toward the one that has hurt you. When we do this, we are placing ourselves into a self imposed prison that will weigh us down and keep us from being truly happy. Harboring bitterness toward another person doesn’t hurt anyone but the person who is bitter. The person that the bitterness is directed toward many times doesn’t know about the unresolved anger and bitterness of the other person, and if they do, often they don’t care. When you forgive someone who has hurt you and cease being bitter towards them, you are not only doing it for them, you are doing it for yourself. It is impossible to live a fulfilling and rewarding life when you carry around unresolved anger. Let it go.
5) Let go of the need to compete with others- There are some situations that being competitive is a virtue, such as if you are competing in a sporting event or playing a game. But the fact is, life is not a sporting event, and it is not a game. Every person matures, grows, learns, and progresses at their own pace. Too many times in life people use material possessions as indicators of who is successful and who is not. This is a dangerous mindset to have because it leads us into a overwhelming desire for things and “stuff”. Sadly, countless numbers of people have discovered that after amassing thousands of dollars of debt in an attempt to “Keep up with the Jones”, and to “compete” with others by indulging in costly material possessions, none of it brings true happiness. The reason is that happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy regardless of whether you have great wealth, or are of very limited means and have very few material things. Happiness isn’t about “stuff”, it’s about a choice. I like the way the Amplified Bible brings out something that Jesus said in Luke 12:15. In the Amplified Bible, Jesus’ quote reads, “ Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs.” Simply honor God the best that you know how, and trust Him to meet your needs. If you honor Him, He will meet your needs, and some of your wants as well. When you abandon the thinking that you have to compete with anyone, you gain a sense of freedom that is priceless.
My hope and prayer is that some of these thoughts I have shared will get you thinking and examining yourself. Are there mindsets, attitudes, and feelings in your life that you need to let go of? A rewarding and productive life sometimes comes about not by the things that we embrace and attain, but by the things that we are able to let go of. I pray that 2014 is the absolute best year of your life! Let go and let God!
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,