We’re only attached to what we hold on to (Untucked Column #12)

As we approach the time where we turn the calendar, our timelines will undoubtedly be filled with some variation of “new year, new me” posts. And while we can appreciate the sentiment behind all the New Year’s resolutions and the good intentions, statistics show that 80% of them fail by the 2nd week of February. Why? We have an inherent pull towards the familiar and an often-crippling fear of the unknown.

Sometimes the only way to receive something better is to give up whatever we are currently holding on to. Many times we possess the means to be rid of undesirable circumstances and their negative consequences only to find ourselves unwilling to make the right choice of letting go. Consider the story of the Monkey Trap.

Monkeys are fast and agile creatures – it’s near impossible to catch them. The clever hunters in Africa would design monkey traps based on monkeys’ behavior patterns. The hunters would use glass jars with an opening slightly bigger than a monkey’s hand. They would put food like bananas and peanuts in them.

When a monkey would see one of the jars, its hand would reach inside and grab the food, and their hand is now turned into a fist. It then withdraws only to realize that the hand is now stuck. No matter how hard it tries, the hand cannot be freed from the jar. The opening of the jar is simply not large enough for the fist to get out. The only way the monkey can free its hand is to let go of the food. Despite possessing the means to escape the trap, the monkey won’t let go as it grips the food ever so tightly. The happy hunters would then throw a net over the monkey and it’s game over! How can we relate to this story?  

How many times have we been a resident of a prison that we ourselves have created? How many hurts, pains, and rejections have we carried with us for years? How much poison of unforgiveness and bitterness have we drank, hoping it will hurt someone else? You have heard the statement: “time heals all wounds”. It’s a lie. Time can be a factor in the healing process but healing starts with a choice and is a series of choices, not the ever-moving hands on a clock.  

We must remember that a clock cannot do what a decision has to do. What do I mean? New Year’s Day is symbolic of new beginnings but it will not make you be a better person or cause you to make better choices. That is strictly on you, on me. The truth of the matter is that you don’t have to wait until January 1 to start improving your life.

Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it. Don’t weigh how much time and effort you’ve already put into something and have that be your gauge on keeping it in your life. No matter what it is, how long you’ve had it, if it’s a burden to you more than it is a joy, and you can’t fight to change it, then either accept it, minimize it, or let it go.

Bad decisions are not without consequence, but in the frame of grace they are never beyond redemption. You are never tied to who let go of you – you are only tied to what you hold on to.

Change is the essence of life. The question is not where you want to go in life but what are you willing to give up to get there? Are you missing what is because you’re stuck in what was? Who you were does not have to define who you can become. When you really want something, you will find a way. When you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.

The biggest battles we’ll ever fight won’t be against who or what stands before us but what lives within us. If you deal with what’s in you, it will change what’s going on around you. Most of us invest in our outside while our inside is falling apart. It’s like having a good-looking vehicle with a bad engine.

I submit a question for your consideration: What if what you went through wasn’t meant to destroy you but to develop you? The road to resurrection is often paved with rejection. Something will grow from all you went through and it will be you!

Steve Sauceda