Turning 40 was a turning point for me. I realized that I had kept myself from trying new things – out of fear – and that I had held onto old “things” – out of fear. I resolved that I would grab any opportunity to enrich my life, but also to simplify it. Sounds contradictory, right? But winnowing my life down in order to have the time and energy to embrace new experiences and people – feels very RIGHT to me.
Dr. Phil often says, “But don’t substitute my judgment for your own.” That’s how I feel about this process: that I wouldn’t tell other people to do the same thing, unless it is something you have been avoiding and you know it is the right thing to do.
When I was twelve or thirteen, I was prayed over for the gifts of the Holy Spirit (see Isaiah 11: 2 – 3; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 12: 8 – 11) and received the gift of discernment. Over the last 28 years, this gift has enabled me to avoid near occasions of sin, to listen to my conscience, to reach out to the disenfranchised and alienated; it has operated as my inner “still, small voice.” The gift of discernment has also enabled me to avoid destructive people, including boyfriends; and when I have ignored that voice? I always pay either a spiritual or relational price. So when that still, small voice speaks; that feeling in the pit of my stomach or the center of my chest; that thing that others call intuition kicks in – I know to listen to it and to respond with an action.
Yesterday I had a lovely lunch with an old friend. One of the topics that came up is the notion that some people in your life are there for a time, and then are gone; once a person fulfills no conceivable, positive purpose, you can let them go. But one of the hardest things is giving yourself permission to let them go, isn’t it? We feel guilty, even when we recognize that their time in our life has passed, and that keeping them as friends is actually inhibiting our ability to grow, or to be positive, authentic operators in the world. Such a cold word, operators. But that’s who we are, spirit-filled (soul-filled) operators whose lives ebb and flow, wax and wane, progress or regress or stand still.
If there is someone in your life who occupies either a negative or guilt-filled place in your life (even if they are related to you), you can ask yourself a few questions:
* Does this person take from me, more than they give?
* Do I avoid interactions with this person because of how I feel around them?
* Has my spirit (the universe; God; or my intuition) been telling me to end my friendship with them; if so, why am I resisting that instinct?
* Does she occupy a mostly negative place in my life?
* If so, how can I disentangle myself from emotional and psychological entanglements with him with the least amount of personal damage – both to him and to me?
* What would my life look like, without her in it?
May your self-reflections result in actions that enhance your life, simplify your life, give you relief, and grow your heart!