A Different Path

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.

10 Responses to “A Different Path”

  1. Eileen says:

    Okay, this has got to be one of my favorite posts from you.

    “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.” Yes!

    I came to that realization several years ago. I lost my mom to cancer as a teenager. For years, I had the misconception that I had to “get over it” I don’t believe that any more. Yes, we are able to heal and find joy and peace and LIFE again…and I have!

    But, loss and pain becomes a part of who you are. It shapes us for the rest of our days. And, you are right we need to choose whether we move forward in fear and bitterness or whether we hand all the broken pieces over to Him and allow Him to shape something beautiful!

  2. “It’s the choice to find hope in your hurt. It’s the choice called surrender.” Absolutely beautiful! I can speak from first hand experience that this attempt at letting hope in, is the most difficult. I remember many times trying to find healing from past hurts (self inflicted and from others), and something always held me back. But Pete, you really nailed it when you write of the choice!! Any way you hash it, the results far outweigh the work involved. Well done!

  3. Kim says:

    “It’s the choice to let go of your desire to have life go the way you planned it.”

    Out of everything, this line really jumped out at me. That’s really what it comes down to doesn’t it? Letting go of that desire. You’re definitely right about the choice. This is probably one of my favorite posts of yours too.

  4. RJ Clarke says:

    “They will hold on to the idea that they shouldn’t have had to go through that pain and that life is not fair.” Such a common and misplaced struggle. So much time and effort is spent thinking about how and why the pain was there, and how it just isn’t fair, and unfortunately, this process only prolongs our actual suffering. So then we have to make a choice….

    “It’s the choice to let go of your desire to have life go the way you planned it.”
    “It’s the choice called surrender.”

  5. Ingrid says:

    “There is strength in letting go”
    This sentence oozes hope to me. I’ve gotten stuck in the hurt of my past and in looking for the supposed strength I should have gleaned from the experience. When really, holding on to the pain or assuming that a new found strength and callous should come for it was my great mistake. The hope and strength is in letting it all go and moving forward. Yes, I learn from past hurts but the strength that gets me past the paralyzed stage of wallowing comes from the incredible hope of inviting God to help me let go of the hurt and choosing to move forward – broken, bent and beautiful as that might look.

  6. Amanda says:

    “God will actually use the pain of their past to help redeem others, in effect, allowing them to find purpose in the pain.”

    Love this. It’s 2 Corinthians 1:4 and I’ve seen it in action in my life.

  7. Lorrie says:

    I love this…

    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 is not easy at all…but necessary. I know.

    Thank you so much for this! Beautiful.

  8. Susie A. says:

    As we studied last night in small group, God is El Roi — the God who sees. He has seen the rejection and the hurts we have experienced. He knows the violations against us. For me that is something that has continued to help me “let go” and cling to hope.

    Great post Pete!!! Can’t wait for the book to hit the shelves!!!

    Susie

  9. Karen says:

    I love the part where it says there is strength in letting go. So true. Holding on is just keeping us down. There are several things I have learned to let go of and others I still need to, but, I know the power of letting go!

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