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Melissa Schmalenberger, Areavoices blogger, Published July 05 2012

Areavoices: Let us strip off every weight that slows us down

“[L]et us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress ….” Hebrews 12:1b (NLT)

I was sent this passage from the Bible from a good friend last year and the message still sits with me every single day. I have deep emotional talks with friends on a frequent basis. I am one of those people that people just seem to open up to. Becoming a good listener has taught me something in the process, behind many a pretty face and thin body, there is a secret sadness that nobody knows about. This is not to say that people out there have a perfect life, I am sure that there are some, but I think there are rare. The trick is to have this weight and live with it in a positive way. Forgive and move on. We all have our secret struggles, I have mine. Not every struggle can be seen with the naked eye. So instead of being jealous of someone who appears to have everything, remember that they are human and very possibly they could be having a very bad day. I remind myself to come from a place of love and gratitude toward others, as well as to myself.

So let’s break it down to the first part of what “every weight that slows us down” could be. I have some things pop in my head very quickly.

Physical Body Weight: If you are holding onto those extra pounds what is it keeping you from? Can you not be active with your children? Do you stay home and not go out with friends? Do you not fly to visit family for fear of not fitting in an airplane seat? Do you avoid amusement park rides because you don’t think the safety belt will fit?

Emotional Weight: Does the voice in your head keep telling you that you are inadequate. Maybe it is the voice of your mother, maybe it is the voice of your father or maybe it is your own voice in your head. You may look all put together and perfect on the outside but inside you are struggling. Maybe you had a traumatic event happen to you as a child or young adult that you have not yet been able to move past.

Weight of your Job: Do you work in a dead end job that does not pay you what you are worth? Or maybe you are paid well, but hate your job and it is causing you to be sad and angry in other areas of your life. Does your job affect your health in other ways such as high blood pressure or the stress cause you to overeat? Does the idea of finding your dream job scare you?

Weight of the People Who Surround You: Did you know that you can be defined by the people who are closest to you? What do they say about you? Not verbally to others, but by their actions. Are they honorable people? Do they keep their word? Do they help others? Do they make racist jokes? Do they talk badly about others behind their back? Do they show love towards strangers? Are they simply toxic people? These could even be your family members. Maybe you spend as much time as possible at work to avoid your family?

Weight from an Addiction: This could be drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling and many other addictions. Addictions can keep you from enjoying so many areas of your life. What are you missing out on because of addictions? Not only can money can be lost and spent but you can also loose a spouse, friends and family members.

Weight of Clutter: Yes clutter is weight. There are entire books written on this subject. I see my clients when I enter their home to help and I see the look in their eyes. I see their body language. They are stressed out. Their home does not rise up to great them when they walk in the door. They do not relax when they cross the threshold of their home. When clutter gets under control people see their home as a refuge or a retreat.

Financial Weight: Are you living outside of your means? Are you spending more than you are making? Are you trying to buy the love of others? Do you give your family everything they ask without them really appreciating you or the gift at all?

So what can you do? Take action and just do it!

Here are some actions steps that you can take:

Find an accountability partner: This could be a good friend or family member that you know loves you or someone who wants to see you succeed. When you have someone that you have to report to on a frequent basis chances are you will see forward progress.

Enter a 12 step program or treatment: It is better to face your problems with a professional by your side to help you through some of your struggles. There are people out there to help, just ask some people you trust for a recommendation.

Talk to a spiritual advisor: Find someone that you can trust about the weight that is holding you back. This person should come from a place of love and not from a place of judgment. We are surrounded by people who judge us (just listen to that voice in your head), so find a person who can bring you light and love into your life.

Get help from a professional: This person could be a therapist to help you with the mental health aspects, a personal trainer to help get you physically fit, this could be a nutritionist that weighs you weekly, this could be a business coach to help you figure out where to go with your career, a financial advisor, an attorney or a professional organizer to help you with the physical clutter.

So what sin is holding you back? What is slowing your progress? What is that sin that is keeping you from being the best possible you? Take a good look at your life and identify what is making you unhappy and see what you can do to make it better. You only have control over your own actions. For example, I can’t be hired by a wife to organize a husband without the husband being a participant in the session. You are in control of your happiness, free yourself of that weight and live the life that you always imagined!