It’s hard to believe that today is the 12 year anniversary of 9/11. Few of us will ever be able to forget the pain, the fear, and the confusion we felt that day. I’ve learned a lot about pain since that day. Whether it’s the pain of 9/11, a divorce, a job loss, or maybe even a cancer diagnosis. We can’t ignore or deny pain.
My new book, Let Hope In, releases on Oct 1st, and last week I told you that each Wednesday, I’d share a short excerpt or thought with you about hope. I thought this one would be especially fitting on this day. This is a section of the book where I’m talking about the two different paths we can take when dealing with the pain from our life.
Some people will never get beyond the pain of their past. It will wreak havoc in their personal and professional lives because they will keep cursing their pain, and it will keep cursing them back. They will choose to believe they are inseparably attached to their past without realizing they are, in fact, making a choice to hold on to it.
They will hold on to it in one of two ways. Either they will give in to it with a self-loathing that ensures perpetual misery and failure, or they will wage an angry and desperate war against it in an effort to bury its devastation in self-denial. Either way, they will never surrender the past pain. They will hold on to the idea that they shouldn’t have had to go through that pain and that life is not fair. And they will, therefore, miss out on the brand-new ending that could in fact be theirs.
Then there’s a group of people who will take a different path. They will realize their past isn’t really their past. They will come to grips with the fact that their past pain is still impacting them and choose to rise above it. In an incomprehensible twist, they will surrender their pain, instead of ignoring or denying There is strength in letting go. it. They will choose to be emptied of it. And in a glorious miracle, God will actually use the pain of their past to help redeem others, in effect, allowing them to find purpose in the pain.
This choice isn’t easy. You have to choose to do something you think you can’t do. It requires a resolve that can only be found deep within your soul. But this choice does nothing less than determine your destiny. It’s the choice to let go of your desire to have life go the way you planned it. It’s the choice to find hope in your hurt. It’s the choice called surrender.
There is strength in letting go.
There is radical power in surrender.