Life is not fair, as people say but God is good! Each one of us will have problems, challenges, obstacles and hurts that will cause us to either be bitter or better. Some grow up through the challenges while others give up. Challenges will either cause you to pursue your goals and dreams or make you give up. You have a choice which path you want to take. You have to decide how you are going to respond to the tough times life brings you and how you go through it. Charles R. Swindoll said, “We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” Going through tough times is what happens to all of us; however, what happens to us is not nearly as important as what happens in us.
My father was a building contractor and was blessed to work on some neat and large building contracts. After a while, he was no longer getting contracts so he decided to take on other businesses which did not perform as well as planned. My dad heard of an investment opportunity where the company promised huge return on his investment. Lured by the returns, he withdrew a significant amount of his retirement money and invested it in this so-called investment opportunity. Having received a certain return on the investment, he convinced my mother to also invest in the business. After a short while they lost all their investment. It was a scheme to collect people’s money, give a reasonable return on investment to show that the scheme was working until they got a critical mass. The people who started the investment left the country with all the investment. Mum and Dad lost all their retirement benefits. Dad was very upset for a period of time and realized that there was nothing he could do to get his money back so holding onto the pain was a waste of time.
We were afraid at the time that the experience of the loss would eventually kill Dad but he survived through the experience to tell the story of how not to be lured by highly inflated return-on-investment or too-good-to-be true schemes. Dad decided to let go and think outside the box. He forgave the crooks, put himself together, and got into small businesses to keep busy for some time. Dad had to let go in order to see other opportunities. I am suggesting you do what my dad did; forgive, calm down, let go, and have a clear head to see beyond the challenges. There are and always will be opportunities when you position yourself mentally to see it. It was Josh Shipp who said, “You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you”
It is important not to allow hurt to linger for a long time; let go and move on. Our natural inclination or default drive is to hold onto pain and disappointment, but that will be detrimental to your well-being and drive you nuts. Free your mind from the pain, learn from the experience, and move on. Author TD Jakes said “Either your troubles make you better, or they make you bitter. We must always examine what’s going on in our hearts.” –
What have you been dealt with? What are you holding onto and refusing to let go of? Who are you holding onto, thinking that letting go may be interpreted as a weakness? You will always win when you take the higher road. Someone said, “Refusal to let go is like allowing someone to occupy your mind rent free.” I thought that was a great way to put it. You control your mind and you should decide who you keep in your mind and who you should let go of. I recently wrote an article titled, “The Gift of Good-bye”. Little did I know that a significant number of people I knew in this particular organization had issues letting go of stuff. The responses I received from a number of people were very humbling and also revealing. So many people are holding onto things and issues they have no business clinging to. I trust that you are not one of those people, holding onto bitterness because of a failed business, relationship, experience or something someone did to you. Don’t waste your energy. It takes too much energy to hold onto the wrong stuff, especially issues that challenge and impact your emotions and feelings negatively. Simply put, “Be better, not bitter”.
I read this proverb but can’t remember where I got it. It says “Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.” Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger. You will live longer being a positive, possibility, gracious and focused person whose primary objective is leaving the world a better place than you found it! Make the choice to get rid of all bitterness so you can live a life of freedom!