What Will You Give Up?
“We can go anywhere we want to go, most of the time, based on what we want to give up. Everyone thinks change is based on what you’re going to get – but change has a lot to do with what you’re willing to get rid of.” Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
This is a profound piece of wisdom so obvious it often escapes my notice. When I strive to improve any area of my life I am liable to fall into the logical trap of thinking only of what I hope to get: A raise; a vacation; a new car; a new tool or ‘toy’; dinner out for my family; a closer relationship with God. If you also fall into this trap I want you to consider something: Is it true that in order to get what we want in life all we have to do is choose a desired outcome and work toward it?
Of course not!
Let me give you an example. When I decided to get in better shape I set goals regarding what I wanted to get: Bigger muscles, a slimmer waistline, better conditioning…but I couldn’t stop at just setting lofty goals. I had to commit to give up certain things to get those benefits: I got rid of certain foods from my diet, and I decided that I will never get a ‘real’ lunch break at work. Without giving up my lunch break I would not have the time to work out, and can you imagine what would have happened to my waistline if I had not changed my diet? That’s right, nothing!
Let me give you another example. When it comes to my pornography addiction, sobriety and recovery are my goals. However, I cannot ‘get’ sobriety or recovery without giving up certain things first. I cannot stay sober unless I give up my right to lust every day, and I cannot recover unless I get rid of the anger, jealously, selfishness, bitterness, and fear in my heart.
I will only ever be as healthy as the sickest thing I am holding on to.
What are you holding onto that you need to give up?