Clearing Your Recycle Bin

By: Anita Carman

When I delete a file on my computer, it goes into a recycle bin. It takes me an extra step to clear the recycle bin before the file is completely gone. I find in life that as much as I may try to block out or ignore unresolved questions, they just go into a “recycle bin.” They continue to exist beneath the surface, and while they are not always visible, just like the files on my computer, they take up space and don’t go away by themselves.

In order to clear these questions from my spirit and make room for a cleaner perspective, an extra step needs to be taken. Over the years, I have adopted a process to empty my recycle bin so I can stop “recycling” my old content. That process involves purposefully studying God’s Word for answers to my questions, instead of just blocking them out and waiting for them to go away. Once God reveals His answers to me, I can begin anew. Here are resolutions to three questions I have stopped recycling:

1.  How do I stop giving power to people who wound my heart?  
For reasons rooted in my childhood, I find myself still begging for crumbs of approval from certain individuals whom I have given the power to become a parent figure in my life. In their acceptance of me, I believe I’ll find a place of belonging. Sadly, interactions with such individuals often leave me feeling shaken and more wounded.

God’s answer that set me free is in Judg. 17:6, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” In this verse God showed me that those who impose their views on me do not necessarily share His values. I need to stop allowing them to play the role of “king” in my life. I only have one King and His name is Jesus. I need to stay connected to the vine of God’s Word and weigh the messages I hear against the Bible.

2.  What is my role as mother now that my children are adults?

God’s answer that set me free is in Gen. 2:24, “…a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” The word “leave” in the Greek has the idea of forsaking. Dr. Henry Cloud said the role of the parent is to feel this forsaking and to allow it to happen because God grows our children to be adults in order to fulfill His will. My role as mother is to raise my children to become adults and then let them go. The ache I feel in my heart is normal because it is an adjustment to transition from caretaker to relating to my children as independent adults. I find my peace in knowing this is God’s role for me as a mother. Though I may have moments of missing those days when my children needed me in a caretaking role, I trust God’s design.

3.  Am I free to do what I want with my estate planning?

God’s answer that set me free is in Eccl. 2:22, “For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.” What spoke to my heart was the need to pass down the right values to my children, so they can be trusted with assets. I settled on the following model for my family: all able-bodied members of the family must be diligent to serve at his or her God-given potential. Our combined effort will provide strength for each other with an end goal to support God’s values in our family and in our community.

What questions have you been recycling? Is it time for you to set them aside to clear your recycle bin?

Anita Carman is a columnist for Just Between Us and the Founder and President of Inspire Women, an organization that inspires women across ethnicities, denominations, and economic levels to connect their lives to God’s purpose. It also funds biblical resources and scholarships to train women for missions and ministry. She has an M.B.A. and completed graduate level studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Anita writes a regular devotion and is author of Transforming for a Purpose and A Daughter’s Destiny. She lives in Houston, Tex., with her husband, Robert; they have two sons.


  1. What a wonderful read. This article had lots of great advice about issues that so many of us face. Thank you for sharing it. God bless, Cat


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