Emotional Healing - Time to Let Go!
Hope Weekly, April 2, 2012
Emotional Hoarding – Time To Let Go?
There has been a lot of talk these days about “hoarding,” including a popular TV show that allows us to be voyeurs into the lives of those who stockpile seemingly meaningless items to the point of being unable to live in their homes.
I’m sure many of us think that we are sheltered from that kind of behavior, but are we really? True, we may keep our homes, apartments and work areas nice and tidy but what about our minds? Are we hoarding thoughts and feelings that we should be cleaning out?
Author Carol Gioia defines “emotional hoarding” as holding onto grudges and hard feelings for unreasonable lengths of time, refusing to forgive, deal with or let them go and move on with your life. She goes on to say that those who continually experience this condition never come to terms with their hard feelings over another person or event, and think about it long after it is in the far distant past.
Are you holding grudges, keeping thoughts piled up that keep interfering with your life? Here are some questions to consider:
- Have you stopped speaking to a relative, friend, coworker or anyone else because of something they have said or done that offended you?
- Have you cut someone out of your life rather than confront a supposed wrong, not giving that person an opportunity to explain or make it right?
- When someone upsets you, do you say nothing at the time, but then continue hold a grudge against that person?
- Do you still think about something today that occurred years ago and become irritated?
- Do you walk away from altercations thinking about what you might do to seek recourse or vowing never to speak to that person again?
If you answered “yes” to some or all of these questions, you may want to consider what God’s Word has to say about emotional hoarding. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:26&27,
"…don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.”
Paul also goes on to say in verses 31&32:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
In Matthew 6:14 we read these instructions from Christ himself:
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Jesus is telling us that in order for us to stay in a healthy relationship with God that we must offer forgiveness to those around us. If we harbor resentment and anger our thoughts and actions are clouded thus taking us away from a deeper fellowship with God as well as a richer life with those around us.
So are you an emotional hoarder? Is this the way you are dealing with your hurts? Are you allowing your thoughts and hurts to turn into hates that build up day after day consuming your time?
If so, then ask yourself this simple question: Is it working? Has that anger or hatred done you any good, really? Sure, you can say it feels good to be angry at the moment, but honestly has your resentment and those continual thoughts of the past brought you any long-term relief or peace? Has it granted you any joy or provided anyone else joy around you? Has it allowed you to effectively be Christ to others and demonstrate His love?
Think about all of the time it takes to pour through those thoughts and feelings of being wronged as well as all of the energy wasted in holding those thoughts captive. What could you do with that time if there was peace in your heart? How would those around you, your family and friends, benefit from seeing you in a better spirit?
Billy Graham offers some wisdom on how to release yourself from emotional hoarding when he writes:
“Ask God to transform you from within, making you more and more like Jesus Christ every day. Make his Word, the Bible, your daily companion, and let its truth reshape your life. The Bible says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since…you were called to peace” (Colossians 3:15).
With spring and Easter right around the corner, maybe it’s time to follow the advice of our Lord and Savior by letting go of these thoughts that capture us and forgiving others.
Don’t offer the Devil the opportunity to reside in your thoughts of anger and resentment because he will gladly take you up on adding a few more thoughts to the pile. Instead, let’s begin to clean out and remove these barriers to living our fullest life in Christ.