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Going Deeper to Find What's Holding You Back

elissa swihart letting go megan babcock personal growth surrender Jun 10, 2024

Our past experiences can profoundly impact our present circumstances, often without realizing it. These influences don't always have to be dramatic or easily remembered. Sometimes, they're subtle occurrences or remarks we may not even consciously acknowledge. It's not uncommon to deny or downplay the significance of past experiences, especially if they didn't seem particularly traumatic at the time. However, seemingly innocent events can leave a lasting imprint on our psyche, subtly influencing our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Consider this: perhaps you've experienced a series of minor disappointments or setbacks throughout your life that have gradually eroded your confidence. Or maybe you were told you weren't good enough, smart enough, or worthy enough, and those words took root in your mind, shaping your beliefs about yourself and your abilities.

The impact of words spoken over us by others can be incredibly powerful, shaping our self-perception and influencing the trajectory of our lives. Whether it's a casual remark from a friend or a hurtful comment from a family member, these words can plant seeds of doubt, insecurity, or unworthiness that can linger and grow over time.

If you're interested in delving deeper into how childhood experiences, even within loving relationships, can shape our beliefs and impact our relationships later in life, I invite you to listen to the first episode of the It's Your Story to Tell podcast. In this episode, I share a personal story that sheds light on the power of these early seeds of belief and how they can grow into narratives that influence the health of our relationships. Hearing this story may provide a clearer understanding of this process's profound impact on our lives. Listen Here 

So, while it may be tempting to dismiss or overlook the significance of our past experiences, doing so only perpetuates their influence over our lives. By acknowledging and confronting how our past has shaped our present, we can break free from the hold of negative beliefs and patterns, allowing us to move forward with greater clarity, confidence, and purpose.

Still wondering whether this is something that could benefit you? As I see it, it is fundamental to unlocking our fullest potential. However, if you're still unsure, consider asking yourself the following questions. They may help spark curiosity and guide you towards recognizing the potential benefits of delving deeper into understanding the thoughts shaping your reality:

  1. Do I feel stuck or repeating the same patterns in my life?
  2. Are there areas of my life where I feel unfulfilled or lacking?
  3. Do I notice recurring negative emotions (anger, overwhelm, anxiety, or disappointment?)
  4. Could self-limiting beliefs be causing self-sabotage in your life?
  5. Have I experienced difficulty in achieving my goals or manifesting my desires?
  6. Have I received feedback from others suggesting areas for growth or self-reflection?
  7. Do I have a desire for deeper connections in my relationships?
  8. Do I want to deepen my understanding of myself and my experiences?

In short, if you answer yes to even one of these, it is time to look deeper into what's going on in your life. Facing old problems can be scary, but it can also help you feel better and live the life you want. If you are in this situation, I want you to know you're not alone. If you are not struggling, please pay attention because things can change quickly, and you want to be ready.

Life throws challenges our way, which can shake us to our core. When faced with such moments, it's important not to shy away from them. Instead, call forth the courage to invite the Holy Spirit into your situation and ask for guidance. Don't worry if you're upset or overwhelmed; God welcomes your honesty and encourages you to express your feelings openly. By doing so, you're taking the first brave step toward healing.

Remember, "You cannot heal what is not revealed." Acknowledging and confronting your wounds is the key to unlocking the healing process. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, for it is in this vulnerability that true strength is found.

Are you ready to open your heart to what God wants to reveal? In this week's podcast, I embarked on a journey similar to what I'm encouraging you to do today. I must admit I felt a mix of anticipation and apprehension. Fear crept in because I knew deep down that I'd been avoiding something important. I hesitated because I knew that whatever I uncovered would require me to make changes.

Our minds are wired to keep us safe, so when discomfort arises, it's natural for our instincts to signal danger. However, I realized that the discomfort wasn't a threat but rather an opportunity for growth in this case. Despite the fear, I consciously decided to push forward because facing this discomfort will ultimately lead to a meaningful and rewarding outcome. Drawing from my own past experiences, I can attest to this truth. And if you haven't encountered it firsthand, I encourage you to lean on my faith. I've witnessed this pattern repeatedly in the lives of those I've assisted in their journeys of self-discovery and healing.

I hope I have convinced you of the value of going deeper. While you, too, may be apprehensive, you will join me and participate.

Take a moment to gather some paper, a pen, and a highlighter.

Start by letting your thoughts flow freely onto the page. Allow yourself to vent and pour out everything without any self-criticism.

As you write, tune in to how your body reacts. Notice if tension begins to ease as you release pent-up emotions onto the paper. You may find that a burden lifts from your shoulders with each word, and your mind feels lighter and clearer. Take slow, deep breaths to support regulating your nervous system, and lean into your trust in the process!

Next, grab a highlighter and ask the Holy Spirit to highlight some words and themes as you read through your writing. Take each highlighted area and ask Him to bring greater clarity to it. Working through each item could take some time, but the goal is to understand where seeds of doubt, fear, rejection, or abandonment (to name a few) were planted in the foundation of your subconscious mind.

Now that areas of your life that do not align with your true identity given by God are highlighted, you're at a crossroads. You can either carry on as you have been, enduring the discomfort or ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to move forward, choosing to reclaim and redeem those areas of your life. The decision lies in your hands.

Our God is loving and respects your free will. He won't compel you to do anything against your wishes, even if He knows it's the path to fulfilling the desires of your heart. The power to choose lies within you, and embracing change may lead you toward the peace and fulfillment you've longed for.

Okay, so are you ready to choose something different? It is time to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what He needs you to do. Surrender is often the first step. You must be willing to lay it down, release your control, and allow Him to take over.

These moments of struggle and acknowledging the reality of our present situation often bring us to the point of surrender, which is frequently very painful. However, when you finally let go, you feel so much better. Even if things don't magically improve, you feel lighter when you realize you can't fix everything. It's like a weight lifts off your shoulders.

I want to offer some thoughts on this point in your journey of surrendering and letting go. Let's start by looking at the definition of the words. "Surrendering" and "letting go" are often used interchangeably, but they can carry slightly different connotations depending on the context:

  1. Surrendering: Surrendering involves a deeper sense of acceptance and release. It's about acknowledging forces or circumstances beyond our control and relinquishing our resistance to them. Surrendering can involve surrendering the ego, surrendering the need to be right or in control, or surrendering to a higher power.
  2. Letting Go: Letting go is more about consciously releasing attachments or expectations. It's about freeing ourselves from the grip of thoughts, emotions, or situations that no longer serve us. Letting go can involve detaching ourselves from outcomes, forgiving past hurts, or releasing negative patterns of thinking or behavior.

In the Prayerpy session on the podcast with Destiny Thomas, I received a profound revelation when I sought guidance from the Holy Spirit to understand the disparity between surrendering and letting go. The Holy Spirit illuminated that surrendering entails a heartfelt recognition—a deep acknowledgment of our circumstances and a readiness to relinquish control. Conversely, letting go goes beyond mere acknowledgment and acceptance; it involves taking proactive steps. It's about actively loosening the grip of our thoughts and emotions, embracing a new mindset, and initiating transformative action. Essentially, surrendering lays the groundwork for letting go, facilitating a profound growth and change journey. It's the moment when our thoughts and actions align, and we opt for faith over fear.

Over this past year, I reached a stage where I acknowledged my present circumstances and knew I did not have control, but I hadn't yet entirely relinquished control over the situation. Consequently, I was not experiencing emotional freedom, making it difficult to hear the voice of the Lord in all the noise. When I slowed down and asked the Lord, He answered, providing clarity.

As I sought to understand the root of this situation, I discovered that it was rooted in my past experiences. I realized that when faced with difficult situations in my teenage years, I did not feel adequately supported by my parents, which left me with unresolved emotional wounds.

This realization shed light on why I found letting go of my desired outcome challenging. It wasn't just about releasing control; it was also about addressing and healing the emotional wounds from my past. By acknowledging this connection, I could work through my feelings of inadequacy and develop healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with uncertainty and disappointment.

I do not blame my parents; I did not ask for help as a teenager. My behavior did appear to be what society labeled as a rebellious teenager, but in reality, it was me acting out in brokenness. I felt my value had been stolen and wanted to see them fight to prove I was valuable. While that is what I was thinking, I also did not tell them what happened because I feared being blamed. So, now, as a parent, I am very concerned with not wanting those close to me to feel alone, rejected, or abandoned, but I act without knowing what they need. How I have chosen to respond has also unintentionally harmed the connection in relationships, and it is time to try something different because what I have been doing has not resulted in the desired outcome.

I needed this reminder as I walked through this practice, and I wanted to share it here in case anyone else struggles with similar feelings. When we talk about letting go, it's important to understand that it doesn't mean we're giving up on the problem. Instead, it's about releasing the idea that we have the power to fix everything. It's about acknowledging that some things are beyond our control, and that's okay. Even though society often tells us never to give up, there's strength in surrendering the need for total control.

It's time for a change. I need to try a different approach that fosters open communication, vulnerability, and understanding. What about you?

Along the way, remember to practice self-compassion. Change won't happen overnight because it requires conscious reprogramming, constant reassessment, and ongoing adjustments to stay aligned as you grow in wisdom and knowledge. Personally, the Lord has been guiding me through a similar process for a year, and while it's tempting to be hard on myself and wonder why it is taking so long to do what He is calling me to, that won't propel me forward. Instead, I choose radical responsibility, and with each step, I move forward, seeking greater purpose and fulfillment.

It's important not to feel ashamed or hesitate to reach out for support when undertaking this journey. Sharing your struggles and vulnerabilities with someone else provides emotional support and offers fresh perspectives and insights you may not have considered. Whether it's a trusted friend, family member, coach, therapist, or spiritual advisor, having someone to walk alongside you can make the journey less daunting and more empowering. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and can lead to deeper understanding, healing, and growth.

Stay committed to this process because healing and redemption are not one-time processes. When you do, you will witness the promise that nothing is impossible with God. He can abundantly exceed your expectations! I am so excited for you and would love it if you would reach out and share your story with me!

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