How I Found The Freedom In Letting Go
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How I Found The Freedom In Letting Go

Ridding myself of the things I once used to fill a void has made me fuller than ever.

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How I Found The Freedom In Letting Go
Shannon Steffen

You’re not supposed to have your entire life figured out by the time you’re 20. Wouldn’t it be concerning if you did?

When I turned 20, seven months ago, I told myself I was going to make this decade the fullest one of my life. I wanted to constantly be learning about myself and the world around me. I didn’t have any really specific goals, just a general one: to live a decade that I wouldn’t look back on and want to change anything about.

For the first couple of months, this took some dabbling with. It wasn’t until these most recent few months that I have learned more of what it means to make this goal a reality. I had to stop filling a void I didn’t know I had. I had to fill myself up by letting go.

In college, it's easy to do what everyone else is doing. We are constantly trying to make the most of the “college experience” by doing whatever it is that we think will do that. Whether it is getting the best grades possible or having the wildest story to tell after a weekend out.

While my academics are extremely important to me, I loved the idea of the latter. I thought it was fun to talk about what absurd thing I had done the day before. I loved being able to tell stories that got people excited and made them laugh even if it meant embarrassing myself in the process. I figured it was college—this was the only time I could slightly get away with being silly. While all of the memories were fun, they proved to be temporary. Some of the things I was doing and engaging in were not purposeful or benefiting me in a way I had hoped they would. I love to have fun; I was just going about it in the wrong ways for me.

In the last several months I have explored and learned what it means to make my twenties the fullest decade possible. It comes with the lesson of getting rid of things in your life that you don’t want to let go of. It comes with understanding and believing that just because I am getting rid of something I enjoy, doesn’t mean that I am actually losing anything along the way.

This lesson has been most clear in two aspects of my life recently: becoming a vegetarian and strengthening my relationship with Christ.

Becoming a vegetarian meant giving up so many meals that I have loved for 20 years. It meant no more calamari as an appetizer, no more burgers with my fries, no more bacon for breakfast on the weekend, and no chicken nuggets in the drive thru. This was a sacrifice I never thought I was willing to make and now it’s a choice I will never regret. I never realized how much I loved loving the planet until I decided to make a change in my daily life that would help save it. I have gained a whole new perspective on the nature around me, the animals I see everywhere and the maximum health I am capable of. Letting go of something I loved so much has ended up rewarding me in a hundred more ways than a hot dog at the baseball game ever could have.

When I spent time making decisions for the fun of it rather than the purpose, I lost track of my faith. I felt like I didn’t need to spend time in worship or going to church- I was doing fine on my own. To return to what was important to me, I had to let go of habits and behavior I was used to. I felt like I was going against the norm and what was expected of me at first, but doing so has proven that things I didn’t want to let go of were heavier than I ever thought they were. Resisting temptations I once had has made it easy to make choices I never have to question in the future. Ridding myself of the things I once used to fill a void has made me fuller than ever.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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