Recently, I asked a very successful friend the key to his success. Without hesitation he responded,
"Don, "You've got to let the 'anything' go in your life that weighs you down. It's the 'anything' that causes people to overthink, hold grudges, erect mental barriers, withdraw from relationships, and waste time and energy. Anything Don, let it go."
Starring directly into my eyes, he deliberately let an uncomfortable pause settle his words. Perplexed I sheepishly replied, "Let go of what?" Leaping at an obvious opportunity he shot back in enthusiasm,
"Ah, now that is not for me to answer! You must identify your 'anything.' That thing standing between you and that which moves you forward. The betrayal, lie, or offense, you know, the person, people, or organization you believed wronged you. That 'anything' - you must loose and let go. Otherwise, in the end, it destroys all the creative good stuff you intend to do."
One personal observation of my highly motivated successful friend is that he hangs onto few negatives. I needed not probe my inner-self long for a few "anything" to surface:
ANYTHING of Betrayal
Looking into one's self, identifying a friend, colleague, or organization's betrayal is not difficult to find. Betrayals exist for all of us. The question is, "What do you do with that betrayal?"
A friend of mine once suffered a total financial loss at the hands of a business partner who embezzled the company's 401k pension funds. Even though his business associate was sentenced to prison, my friend still struggles with that betrayal to this day; ANYTHING.
A church learned that $800,000 evaporated from their building fund. During that time their pastor acquired twenty rental properties, and the Chairman of the Finance Committee built a vacation home in Florida; ANYTHING.
On his 20th anniversary during the Sunday morning worship service, an associate pastor stood up and demanded the resignation of a pastor friend of mine. Upon refusing to resign, the associate and 105 adults walked out of the church. Happy anniversary; ANYTHING.
Hearing of a wildly untrue accusation about your character, worth, intentions, or self; ANYTHING.
Promises made to join a team just to realize the promise was nothing more than mere words; ANYTHING.
A confidence you finally gathered the courage to share, only for a friend to tell another; ANYTHING.
ANYTHING of Exclusion
Once a friend of mine wanted nothing more than to be part of a Senior Team at a huge Megachurch in the Midwest. To be sure, in my opinion, he far out talented any member of that team including the Senior Pastor. Perhaps his abilities and talents threatened the members of that staff. The Napoleonic senior pastor tended to hire only staff of far lesser ability than himself; ANYTHING.
Other friends in their middle 50's moved to a small town in Northern Minnesota. They intended to retire there. They loved the town, wilderness, and recreation. However, no matter what they did, contributed, or offered resulted in a single close relationship. A 3rd generation member of that community instructed, "You'll never be more than a welcomed guest here. You not one of us." Selling their house at a financial loss, they moved back to the Twin Cities; ANYTHING.
ANYTHING of Collusion
Another friend built a very impressive medical complex in a 3rd world country. Passion for the people's health and well-being oozed out of him. Devastating news arrived upon learning that an associate secured a contract against his life. Forced to flee the country for his safety, he ceded his life's work into the hands of others. The very group he served colluded to rid his presence of the very thing he championed; ANYTHING.
A pastor friend of mine openingly wept. As tears literally streamed down his face he cried, "Don, I don't know why they don't like me. They've had meetings in their homes talking about me. What did I do?" That pastor just didn't show up to church one Sunday. Believing he wasn't good enough, he simply stopped going to church vowing never to go back; ANYTHING.
ANYTHING of Offense
This anything is the anything most anythings are made of. You know, that person who does or says a thing that just offends you. Those words, actions, attitudes, or things that make you angry. The exchange you take home with you. The words you rehearse repeatedly. The irk robbing you of sleep. The inconsideration so inconsiderable that to you, it seems almost unconscionable. Unkind words. Untrue statements. A condescending look. A belittling gesture. A passed over promotion. Abandoned friendships; ANYTHING
A group of siblings experienced a falling out with each other. My friend issued apologies offering forgiveness for what seemed a very small incident. He couldn't understand why one of the siblings wrote derogatory letters about him, and sent them to his employer; ANYTHING.
Recently, a friend shared disappointment with her church. Suffering major losses in her life the past year, she felt the church failed to respond to any her needs, pain, and heartaches; ANYTHING.
Anything always presents itself:
An unkind Facebook comment; ANYTHING.
A friend's hurtful comment; ANYTHING.
That promotion you deserved, but offered to another; ANYTHING.
The family member you'll never talk to again; ANYTHING.
An injury haunting you years later; ANYTHING.
An undesirable income status; ANYTHING.
A team that doesn't want you on "our" team any longer; ANYTHING.
The cold shoulder; ANYTHING.
The condescending look; ANYTHING.
Nonacceptance people; ANYTHING
Other things causing many things to become ANYTHING.
When it comes to the "ANYTHING" in my life, I think Jesus offers the best solution. He said long ago:
If you hold anything against anyone, forgive them,
Jesus knew that ANYTHING holds great power over us. It hampers self, thinking, relationships, and happiness. ANYTHING conjures up all manner of thought, emotion, and reaction. In the entirety of the verse Jesus pointed out that ANYTHING affects one huge dynamic in our lives:
Forgiving People Experience Forgiveness
Jesus said, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you . . ."
Forgive-less people experience little forgiveness. Letting ANYTHING go encourages others to let their ANYTHING go towards me.
Loosing ANYTHING allows God's loosing of ANYTHING towards you.
Let it go. It's really not worth holding onto. Loose it. Release it. It has only power to destroy. Loose your ANYTHING, before you lose you.
Just My Thoughts
Don was born in North Minneapolis, Minnesota. Having served twenty-two years in South Africa as missionaries with his wife Kathy, and eight years pastoring in the United States, he shares unique perspectives about life, family, relationships, and ministry.