What is your weapon of choice? Mine is holding a grudge. Well, it used to be.
When I felt a sense of injustice or felt wronged by someone, I whipped my bitterness and resentment into an anger-fueled grudge. I employed my grudge like a weapon of war, designed to destroy my offender and protect me. I got really comfortable with my weapon. I could aim a grudge toward someone for years! Like a skilled marksman with focused concentration, I fixed my grudge on the target. I would think, ‘This is payback for what they did’ or ‘I’ll make sure this never happens again!’
However, weaponizing my feelings of bitterness, anger, and resentment became an attack on myself. As I harbored grudges, my focus became fixated on the past, reliving the hurtful events over and over again. This mental and emotional burden restricted my ability to think clearly. Grudges kept me trapped in a cycle of negativity, draining my joy and hindering my ability to embrace the abundant life Christ has promised. My capacity to create and receive abundance was smothered by the weight of my weapon. Essentially, holding onto grudges hindered my spiritual growth and stifled my creativity.
Negative emotions – anger, resentment, bitterness – consumed my mental and emotional energy, leaving no room for creative thinking, reimagining, and problem-solving. Psychology research backs up what I experienced. When our mind is preoccupied with negative thoughts and emotions, there is no room for generating new ideas. Concentrating on keeping my target in the crosshairs colored my perception and limited my ability to see other perspectives and possibilities. Nursing negative feelings fosters a defensive, judgmental mindset which staves off resilience and a willingness to learn from trials. Holding onto grudges can also contribute to mental rigidity, where we become stuck in our own perspectives and beliefs.
Hiding behind my weapon became unbearable when I realized that I was not keeping myself safe – I was actually keeping myself stuck. I hate feeling stuck!
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, urges us to release negative emotions and destructive behaviors from our lives. He encourages us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31). These words resonated with me, reminding me that holding onto grudges, using them as weapons against others, hindered my own liberty and suppressed my ability to be creative.
However, as a follower of Christ, I had access to a better way. I had a choice. I chose to lay down my weapon. I chose to surrender – to let go of grudges. And when I made the conscious effort to release it, I created space in my heart and mind for something beautiful to flourish — creativity. Now, when I feel myself fashioning negative emotions into a weapon, I recall Isaiah’s prophecy:
“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”
The imagery of beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks symbolizes a transformation of weapons of war into tools of agriculture, growth, and flourishing. This metaphor suggests that resources and skills once devoted to war and destruction will instead be used for peaceful and productive purposes. The act of turning weapons of war into tools for farming also implies a shift from violence and aggression to peaceful coexistence and cooperation.
So for me, instead of fashioning a weapon of defense, I choose to make a conscious effort to cultivate seeds of creativity.
As we relinquish grudges and embrace creativity, we align ourselves with God’s heart. We reflect His creative character. By sowing seeds of creativity, we become vessels of God’s grace, demonstrating His transformative power to a perpetually hungry world. In this process, not only do we experience personal growth, but we also contribute to creating healed and restored relationships and communities. When we release grudges, we make room for God’s transformative work within us, allowing His love and grace to flow through every aspect of our lives, including how and what we create.
When we let go of grudges, our hearts and minds are renewed. We experience the freedom to dream, explore, and create. Walls that hinder the outpouring of our talents, gifts, and abilities collapse. Laying down our weapons unlocks our creative potential, enabling us to express ourselves authentically, and positively impact the world around us.
Today, let us examine our hearts and identify any weapons we may be holding onto. Let us bring them before the Lord, seeking His guidance and strength to release them. As we choose to let go, let us invite the Holy Spirit to ignite our creativity, infusing every area of our lives with renewed inspiration, innovative thinking, and a passion to make a positive difference.
Holy Spirit, I come before You today, acknowledging the burden of grudges I have been carrying. I confess that holding onto these negative emotions has hindered my creativity and prevented me from fully experiencing Your love and grace. I surrender my weapons to You and ask for Your strength and guidance to release them. Awaken my creativity, Lord, and help me use it to bring glory to Your name. Amen.