There are so many ways to let go of things, ideas, thoughts, emotions, limiting beliefs, past hurts, regrets and the list goes on and on and on… Last week, I shared one way to become aware of what you need to let go of and how to place God at the helm in letting go by using JOY as your compass. As physical beings, in a physical world, experiencing life with physical senses, sometimes we need physical ways to let go, too. Let’s explore a few that have and have not worked for me.
I read about this about 15 years ago and tried it out. On little slips of paper, I wrote down my worries, concerns, embarrassments, vices, all those negative emotions, past hurts, and things I was struggling with or wanted to change/let go of. I would place them in a box and then say a prayer to place them in God’s hands.
While I felt relief as I actually did it, the box ended up back-firing, making things worse. As I would open the box to add another slip of paper, all I could see was all that negative stuff. It just triggered all those feelings rushing back. Except now these feeling were topped with guilt, shame & resentment because all that stuff on those papers were still eating away at me. Maybe it just wasn’t a good method for me at that time in my life.
I know others feel a sense of relief and deep peace because they are able to let that stuff go. Every time they open the box, those papers remind them of how far they have come. How broad Jesus’ shoulders are. How deep God’s love and mercy are for us. A powerful way to let go and let God.
OK, you knew this one would be in here somewhere. There are SO many benefits to journaling. A big one is to get things out of your head and see them from a different perspective – with your eyes. As in the words on the paper. The key is to not only write down or list out the negative, but to turn it around. To ask for and seek solutions. Or when you can’t do a darned thing about a situation, ask for serenity (Serenity Prayer) or peace about a situation.
I started journaling off & on over 30 years ago. However, there’s a big difference between the way I did it 30 years ago and how I do it today. I used to just write about my problems, complaining, griping, lamenting my plight. There was no gratitude for what was going right. No request for solutions (or serenity), no brainstorming solutions or what I could do different. That kind of journaling left me wallowing in self-pity, resentment, anger and disappointment. All I did was ruminate about the issues instead of rising above them.
I actually refused to journal for several years because of this. I knew how toxic it was – and had the smarts to avoid it. That is, until I learned how to journal as real prayer. With intention, to heal, to move forward. To rise above the muck that was holding me down.
Now, I use journaling as a tool in many ways. In my daily Conversation with God, I incorporate many forms of journaling to start my day on solid footing. I get in Joy or Gratitude Journaling, Positive Affirmations, and more importantly employ the Ask, Believe and Receive method where I listen for God’s perfect response to my request. Allowing me to end my entry on a positive note and ready to move forward.
Sometimes I just need to see the physical transformation to feel like I’ve truly let go. That’s were fire comes in. There’s something about watching the flames engulf the words on the paper, disintegrating them. Seeing the paper transform into smoke and following it as it rises heavenward – toward God. The burning paper also transforms into light and warmth to support us on our journey forward.
I’ve done this more than once – especially at times when nagging doubts and fears dig their claws in and prevent me from doing what I know God is calling me to do. The bonfire is my favorite way. It’s safe, quick and being outside, I can really appreciate the smoke, light and warmth metaphors. One could easily do it in a fireplace or woodstove, too.
I do not recommend a candle, though. Yep, did this once. Never again! Thank goodness I did it in a safe area. The flame got higher than expected and it took over 1/2 hour to burn a 3×3 sticky note chuck full of words. That’s a long time to sit there & watch a fire when I really wanted to get cracking on other things.
Draw a Picture
Maybe you don’t have easy access to fire or you don’t like to use words. You can draw a picture! I’m not the best artist, but I’ve been known to do this once in a while. Draw a candle, fire pit, fire place or other place to have your fire. Write in the words (or draw pictures of what you want to let go of), in the container or above it. Then draw the flames over them. Obliterate them, with the smoke rising heavenward. I’ve even flipped the page over and drawn a colorful flowerbed sprinkled with gray spots on the ground. You guessed it, the ashes being transformed into fertilizer to make the flowers bloom.
Physically Letting Go Take-Aways
These are just a handful of ways to physically let go of those non-physical things weighing you down. Things you know are holding you back from being, doing and having all the good things God wants you to be, do and have. No way is write or wrong (yes, pun intended). Just different.
No matter which method you use, the important thing to remember is that it works for you. And realize what works best may change over time. What works today may not work well 5 years from now-or it may need to be tweaked a little. Use whatever works for you to recognize the issue, let it go and find a solution. Know the best solutions are God inspired and will bring you peace on your journey, even if you can’t do anything else about it.