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image001Georgia Shaffer from Pennsylvania

Recently I read a blog for singles written by a woman who was obviously still bitter about a man she had dated. Her sarcasm and biting comments about men in general and one man in particular offended me.

Her post caused me to stop and reflect on who I am and how my writing might negatively impact my readers.  Am I carrying unforgiveness or deep resentments? Do I have any hurts, feelings of betrayal or frustrations that I have ignored but are slowly seeping out in what I write?

Reading that article reminded me how our failure to deal with these hurts, insecurities, or disappointments in a proper fashion not only adversely impacts our emotional and spiritual well-being but can even put off those who read what we write.

If you want to positively influence others, then you need to be intentional about clearing out negative attitudes, thoughts, and feelings. As the writer of Hebrews suggests in chapter 12, verse 1, we want to “throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles.” It’s our awareness of what we’re holding onto along with the commitment to take action that enables us to get rid of our junk.

Since we all have plenty of heart-junk and only God knows everything that is there, it’s essential to carve out time for prayer and self-evaluation. Are you asking God to show you what grudges or other negative thoughts and feelings you’ve grown accustomed to, are ignoring, or can’t see?  Here are a couple of questions to help you get started. (You’ll find a complete list, along with practical strategies for removing them, in Taking Out Your Emotional Trash).

1.     What unfulfilled expectations or desires have become distorted by wrong thinking?

Sometimes our legitimate desires or unmet expectations can subtly or not so subtly become something we believe we need. For example, the writer of that blog believed the man she dated should be there to meet her social needs. We all have the need to connect with others socially, but no one person should be expected to fill that role.  That one distorted desire could have eroded what may have been a healthy relationship.

Also there is a fine line between hoping a desire will be met and expecting or demanding that it be met. Surrender what can’t be met right now, or might never be met, so that you can embrace the reality of what is.

2.     What grudges or resentments do I have?

Like living near a fast food restaurant and getting use to the smells of grilled meats or spices, resentment is something we quickly grow use to. The writer of that blog may have become desensitized to her bitterness.  She no longer recognized the grudges she still held.

One morning after reading Isaiah 43, I realized I was holding tightly to an old grudge. Just the night before, I had shared with a friend every little detail about something someone had done to me years ago.

One simple prayer, admitting my unforgiveness and asking God to heal and restore my heart, made such a dramatic difference. I couldn’t believe how light and free I felt compared to the months before. I wondered, Georgia, why did you hold onto those grudges for so long? I knew why. I had grown use to them. They had become such a part of me that I didn’t notice how unattractive they were.

Trash removal is about getting rid of anything that corrupts your personal character so that you are free to be the person and the writer God created you to be. Be willing to take your emotional junk to the dumpster regularly. You will not only experience stronger relationships, better attitudes, and less stress, but you will also positively impact the lives of your readers.

About Georgia Shaffer

3Georgia is an author, Christian life coach, and licensed Psychologist in Pennsylvania. Her books include Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make; Taking Out Your Emotional Trash; and 12 Smart Choices for Finding The Right Guy. For more information on Georgia or on her coaching of authors and speakers, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com

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