“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?