16 Ways To Find Peace and Happiness In 2017 ~ Guaranteed!
By: Dr. Rickey A. Nation, Ph.D.
I have always been intrigued about the story of the Prodigal Son, (Luke 15:11-32). You know the story about the man whom had a son whom had an itch he couldn’t scratch (unmet need).
Here is my version of the story. The son goes to his father and wants his inheritance. The loving father, against his better judgment, gives the son, whom does not know God or Jesus as Saviour, his inheritance. The son goes to the very place his father warns him about—down to Egypt.
While I do not want to focus solely upon the son, I want to mainly focus upon what the father did to experience peace and happiness in this very hurtful situation. It is called “letting go”. “Letting go” means the following:
1). To properly let go in a hurtful situation, means you do not stop caring but you accept the fact you cannot do it for someone else. The prodigal son believed he could live life his way—apart from God and his family. His father knew better. However, the loving father let him go so that the son would learn the valuable lesson of “living according to God’s principles and truths” and being loyal to family.
2). Letting go, in a healthy way, means to not cut yourself off but to accept the fact that you don’t and cannot control another. The loving father did not attempt to control the prodigal son’s every move nor did he attempt to stop the son from going down to Egypt and facing hardship.
3). Properly letting go is not enabling but allowing others to learn from natural cause-and-effect consequences that God has built into life and life’s decisions. The loving father did not say “I know you are going down to Egypt and spend all your inheritance. Therefore, I’ll loan you some money so you will not waste your inheritance. When you come back, you can work to repay all I have loaned you.” NO! That is only enabling! Enabling is an act of helping someone to do something wrong or harmful to themselves, others or both. Also, enabling is short-circuiting cause-and-effect which is interfering with God’s built in correction of choosing a wrong path.
4). This next area is the most difficult for a lot of people. Properly letting go means to admit powerlessness and the outcome is not in my hands but it is in God’s control. The loving father freely admitted powerlessness – probably to his wife and most certainly to God. Also, the loving father surrendered his fears, doubts, worries and all concerns to God. Matthew 11:28 reveals “come unto me all ye that labor and I will give you rest.” In this critical step the loving father gained control by giving up control and giving it all over to God. You can experience the same. Go ahead and give it to God now.
5). Before the Prodigal son left, the loving father did not try to change him; change his mind or blame him for the hurts he was causing. He probably did not say “you can’t leave because you will crush your mother.” Also, the loving father probably did not say “if you leave, we will be short handed. Who will do your job? We have no one to replace you.” The loving father let go. You must let go, too! Go ahead and seek God now for strength to completely let go.
6). The loving father supported his son’s ability to choose even though the choice the prodigal son made was not the wisest and directly against his father’s advice. I am sure the loving father did not give three reasons his son was/is making unwise decisions. He simply let his prodigal son choose his own course. Moreover, he did not attempt to fix or correct the son’s actions but supported his right, ability and responsibility to choose his own destiny – right or wrong!
7). An interesting point to note about the loving father…he did not care more about his son making wrong choices –than the son cared (the son actually did not care because if he cared he would not be making this very unwise decision). In other words, if the loving father did not forbid his son from leaving by refusing to give the son his rightful inheritance. If he did, the loving father would be caring more about the problem than his son. Instead, the wise and loving father is more concerned that his prodigal son learn the Truth that will set him free because it is the Truth that will keep his son from repeating the same mistakes.
8). If we could sit in the living room as the loving father and mother were talking, we probably would not hear words of judgment or condemnation toward their prodigal son. Why? To truly let go means to not judge or condemn others but to allow them to be a human being – even though their actions, attitudes and behaviors are sinful and hurtful to themselves and/or others.
9). Interfering? The wise and loving father did not send servants to ‘check on’ his prodigal son. Why not? Because to truly let go means I am not in the middle arranging the outcome. But allowing others to determine their own actions – right or wrong.
10). The morning the prodigal son was to leave, the loving father did not attempt to protect or shield his son from danger or harm, but he allowed his prodigal son to totally face the reality of his very unwise decision.
11). As painful as it was going to be, the loving father did not deny his situation or the pain that was soon to follow. He made the willful choice to accept it by facing reality. Letting go, as the loving father understood it, meant to accept reality and not deny it.
12). As the prodigal son leaves, the Bible does not record the loving father lecturing, nagging, scolding or attempting to convince his rebellious son to not leave. Instead, the loving father focused upon his own life and the different lessons, he too, was learning.
13). The next day after the prodigal son left, the loving father made the most of his current situation. He did not attempt to adjust everything to his own desires or needs because the loving father wisely knew this rebellious situation is not so much about himself but God and his prodigal son. Moreover, he learned to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
14). The loving father continued to be focused upon his own life and the divine destiny God had given him. He kept his own dreams alive by being in touch with God, daily.
15). As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, the loving father did not live in the past but stayed focused on his bright future by keeping hope in God. The loving father did not make his son his very reason for living because he already put God, first.
16). As time went on, the loving father grew in his love for his son instead of focusing upon fear, anger, revenge or unforgiveness.
By applying these timeless principles, you can experience peace and happiness as never before. I apply them regularly and am amazed at the freedom they bring no matter what I am facing.
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