Just five months ago, my 7 year-old adopted son, Dalton, was literally pulling his body away from my bedtime cuddles and was passionately displaying his passive aggression towards me.
My resentments were escalating - cementing into my being.
I hated that I struggled to be the grown up and chose to take things so personally. My husband would gently remind me - “Jenny, remember his woundedness. He is still scared. Don’t be so hard on him.”
I knew Dalton’s pain was deep. I knew his birth mom had picked his twin sister as the “chosen” one, and that he just didn’t know what bonding to a mother looked, or even felt like. And yet, there I was, allowing my life-sized resentments to fester.
Today, miraculously, and without a whole lot of “work” on my part, Dalton initiates hugs with me, and he won’t let go. They are the tightest, sweetest, most generous hugs. He is rarely playing his passive aggression games with me, and we have a growing, healthy, fun and open relationship.
I wish I could point to behavioral strategies and countless therapy sessions that helped us get here, but it was way more simple than that.
I stopped resenting him.
I chose three simple steps and I got over myself, and I allowed God to make something beautiful,
instead of pretending I had anything to do with the outcome.
It’s truly remarkable what can happen when I get out of God’s way. It seems what He said is really true:
He makes all things new, in His time. Ecclesiastes 3:11
He performs miracles beyond our imaginations. Job 5:9
He and His ways, are way bigger than my understanding. Ecclesiastes 11:5
And all of this can be true in YOUR relationships as well. It will require YOU letting go, YOU surrendering, and YOU discovering His “It” and His ways. No matter the relationship – parent/child, child/parent, brother/sister, co-worker/boss, husband/wife – the miracles are real. Anything is possible!
Here are 3 Critical Steps to Releasing the “It” in Your Resentments:
1. “It” doesn’t have to look a certain way. And almost 100% guaranteed, it won’t look the way you imagine it to look. As you let go, and allow God to be in control (which means you really have to let go – it’s really hard to have two sets of hands on the steering wheel) – He will be the Creator and Sustainer that only He can be. “It” will unfold, slowly, painfully, and often when you are least expecting the change to come.
The change may not be as fast as you want, but I can guarantee you this – you will miss it altogether if you don’t let go of the painful, ugly, deeply rooted resentments within you.
God can’t place His best in your hands when you have them wadded in tight and furious fists.
2. “It” could always be worse (and can always get better). It’s often way worse in our minds then it really is. And even when it’s really bad, really hard, and seems hopeless – it could be worse. AND, with open, receiving hands and heart, it CAN always get better. Review what was once good about the relationship. Once we see the wrong in the relationship, it truly can become the only focus of our hearts and minds. Choosing to replay the old tapes of what was good, and what was healthy, will support you in releasing your resentments and in believing in what the relationship will one day become again. Here’s what that might look like.
Spouse: When did you first fall in love? Why? What do you like about your spouse today?
Child: What makes this kid wonderful? What about him/her makes you laugh? What are the good memories you have made together?
Boss: Why did you choose this job in the first place? What quality do you admire in your boss? What is the personality difference in the 2 of you?
Parent: What did your parent do to take care of you? What did they suffer in their childhood that caused them to miss the connection you may want today?
It is so easy to focus on the “it” that’s not going well. It’s your choice what you focus on.
What you think about will likely come about – so think wisely.
3. “It” is not yours to carry – the grudge, the unforgiveness, the past – none of it. “It” is not your cross. The cross covered it all, and only He was meant to carry the pain, the sin, the crushing blows that we all cause in one another’s’ lives. His arms open wide. His blood shed for ALL mankind. So why do we hold onto the garbage? Why do we choose to carry the grudges to our graves even?
So we can be ‘right’.
So we can ‘win’.
So we can be ‘safe’.
And as long as you are prepared to chain that person to your every day existence – literally – as if you are walking around all day dragging their body all over the place with you. You wind up the prisoner though. You are the one carrying around all the pain. The person you think you’re punishing likely doesn’t even know – that you’re so busy being tied to their junk.
As soon as I let go of my resentments, God made something way better than I had in mind. He is God by the way. And I am not!
TODAY: Dalton has given me over 6 hugs – and it’s only 3pm. I am blessed. Not because I figured it out, but because I let HIM – the God of the Universe always has the better way. The added bonus of my personal growth in my relationship with Dalton is this: I have chosen to practice the very same principles in two other challenging relationships and I absolutely am no longer carrying around resentments. The relationships are still challenging AND I trust God AND I don’t need to know what “it” will look like.
I would be honored to support you in releasing the resentments in your life. If you refer to this post, we can do TWO free 30 minute sessions – focused on you recovering from your wounded relationship. Just email me (referring to this post) and we can set it up. firstname.lastname@example.org
I coach @ www.everydaylifeline.com
Please COMMENT: What other steps have you practiced in successfully letting go of built up resentments?
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