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Release and Receive
By Victoria Osteen - Jul 20, 2010
In my book, Love Your Life, I tell the story of a woman in her mid-thirties who had an abusive, tumultuous marriage. Her husband was a heavy drinker, had several affairs, and finally abandoned her and her three young children. Understandably, she had many worries and concerns that were consuming her thought life. She felt the weight of the world on her shoulders and was completely overwhelmed. At night, she'd lay awake imagining confrontations with her former husband. She would play in her mind over and over all of the offenses and wrongs that he had committed against her. She wanted so badly to get even.

It was the most difficult time in her life. She got to the point where she didn't even want to face the day. She was so discouraged that all she wanted to do was pull the covers over her head and stay in bed. The only solace she could find was her faith in God. One night as she was praying, she realized she had to do something to regain her life. She knew she had to change her perspective and find a way to keep moving forward. She had her whole life ahead of her and three beautiful children depending on her. She cried out, "God, You've got to help me. I can't go on like this. Please help me release this unforgiveness." Even though she knew that God would help her, she realized it was going to have to start with an act of her own will. She had to make the choice, and then God would make the change.

One day, she came up with a way to visualize those burdens being released. She imagined herself holding a bunch of helium-filled balloons, each one representing a specific offense, worry, concern or care. Then she stretched out her arm, and one at a time, she released the balloons and watched them float away. She would say, "God, I'm giving You this pain and unforgiveness right now. I'm releasing this to You." And then she would watch it rise up to the heavens. She'd take the next balloon and say, "Father, all the doubt and insecurities about my future, I'm releasing it to You right now." As she would release each balloon, she could literally feel the weight of those offenses, cares and concerns that had consumed her begin to lift off of her. Her spirit began to breathe in hope. Faith began to fill her heart. She felt a new strength come into her body. Every morning, she chose to release her balloons and not allow herself to be consumed by the hurts of the past. As she did, she received a fresh portion of God's strength to face each day.

Before long, she noticed a change in her mental attitude and how she approached life. Eventually, she received her nursing certification, and today, she is the head nurse at a well-known nonprofit clinic. Her children are grown and successful as well. It all started when she made the choice to release her "balloons" and not allow discouragement and offenses to weigh her down and keep her from her destiny.

What are the "balloons" that you need to release today? It may seem overwhelming, but like this young woman, you do it one step at a time. Start today by releasing those cares, hurts and unforgiveness and make room to receive the blessings God has in store for your future.
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