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Live Intentionally, Die Empty

How long do you allow someone to stay down or harbor resentment and disappointment about a dream deferred or when life does not exactly go the way they planned it… even in a once in a lifetime event? Is it a year.. or longer? I suppose this can be a quantifiable amount of time. You might even be able to assign appropriate grieving time based on certain situations or more generously on a case by case basis. The point being, and probably with a great amount of consensus, that there comes a time to “get over it.” 

I don’t particularly mean that in an insensitive way, but rather just the opposite. It is more detrimental to a person to continue to let an incident that did not go as planned in your past to continue to haunt their present day and future. Maybe haunt is not a strong enough word. In some cases, a past let-down will control the present. It can stifle progess. You just can’t get past it.

There are a couple ways to realize if you are allowing a past disappointment to control your present day.

1. Whenever you encounter things that remind you of the let-down you can hardly stand to engage in it: I had a friend who was looking for employment for a long time after graduating from college. He started out gung-ho in the process but because his plan of working in a job closely related to his degree did not come to fruition in the time he had planned it greatly caused him distress. It got to the point that he could not even look for a job anymore, though he was literally sinking into debt and bills were going unpaid.

 2. Whenever think about and especially talk about it– it brings back the pain even to the point of tears: This is a point I learned from my wife. She once told me about her mother used to have a hard time discussing some things in her own personal life. My wife told me that whenever the discussion came up, she would wave it off, change the subject or allow it to bring her to a point of crying. She told me that she remembered a day when her mother was able to freely speak about it– unashamed and even give advice and counsel people concerning the same. that was the day she was free. But if everytime a situation is brought up.. tears flows, you are allowing it to control your present day

3. You let the past situation poison relationships or endeavors: Relationships are important. As a matter of fact, there is little if nothing at all that you can do to progress in life outside of relationships. As the saying goes..”no man is an island.” Every person is at his poorest relational point AT LEAST, a peninsula. You need people in your life, but if you are allowing offense or past disappointment to cause resentment in your relationship, it is controlling your present day. It can even be something subtle that is lying below the surface that is causing you to not fully give yourself or trust others in important relationships. You can even have seemingly happy and functional married couples who have something underlying causing it from reaching the next plateau that marriages typically graduate into. That is very dangerous. It can even be that one of the parties in the relationship doesn’t even know that there is a problem.

4. You lie to yourself and others regarding the problem: There are people who say that if you lie to yourself long enough that even you will begin to believe the lie. I don’t know if that is true in every case. Because every time that you tell that lie you are the one that knows it’s a lie. What actually happens is that you learn to live with the lie, until it comes to a point where it can not be contain or covered any longer. What is in the dark will always be reveale and come to the light. My point is that you can be dishonest and cause everyone to believe that the situation doesn’t bother you anymore about the problem, but the very fact that you don’t let the truth be known shows that you allow the situation to control your ethics, honesty and integrity.


Now don’t get me wrong, it is normal and acceptable to be and display disappointment and hurt. You can’t heal a wound by saying that it’s not there. That’s insane. By pretending that you are not hurt or disappointed will only stand to hurt you more as you continue to try to function

normally with an injury. I remember running track in high school and having a stress fracture in my foot. I wanted to keep running on it and not let anyone know so when asked how I was feeling, I kept saying that everything was alright. Well, naturally the injury got worse because I tried to continue to function in a normal way on something that needed recovery. The same holds true in your life with let-down and disappointment.

So it is understandable that to be hurt when things don’t go your way. In fact, the Bible says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” So naturally people become “heart sick” when their expectations don’t happen. But the Bible also says to place you hope (expectation) in God. I am not saying God caused the thing to not go right, but I am saying that by shifting your expectation in what he can do, you will be able to move on a get a different outcome. Things may not be the same again (and you may not be able to go back and change it), but that doesn’t mean that God can’t make it good again.


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