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It is important and necessary to take ownership for whatever suffering I have experienced. It empowers me to recognize and own my participation, however small, in the things I’ve suffered. Even if it’s a fraction of a percentage point, at least it gives me the power to take it back then let it go.

So let’s use an example from my life: I found the church to be, especially during my final years serving it, very soul-killing. It had become toxic for me. I could blame the church and go through life bitter, resentful and angry. Or I could recognize how I participated in the toxicity.

So, here’s how I take ownership of my negative church experiences. I participated in it so that…

1. I could have friends and be loved;
2. I could have theological approval and security;
3. I could have a job and an income.

There! That’s my involvement in my own suffering. That was my personal tradeoff. The problem isn’t “out there” so that I can blame others. I can take responsibility for it, forgive myself, and move on in freedom with no strings attached to my suffering. It is gone.

How can you take back your suffering so that you can let it go?