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Get Rid of Resignation, Resentment, Bitterness and Hopeless/Despair (15 minutes)

Updated: Jan 28

Here is the Audio File of

By Dr. Nancy Moelk[1]


Delayed grief will cause us to lose zest for life. It will slowly take your energy and leave you without the expectation that things can ever improve. If you observe small children, you see how game they are for life. Babies exude how much they want to live and live to the fullest. They broadcast “I’m here” and expect others to respond to that and delight in them. They are plucky and full of fight!


Grief is the God-given tool for getting rid of hurt, making peace and finally forgiving. This results in plenty of room in our souls for more of God’s joie de vivre: peace, adventure, curiosity, hope, enjoyment and pleasure, accomplishment and the list goes on and on.


My co-worker, Richard Kinney came upon these insights into resignation through his work with a client.[2] John was a strong believer and often traveled on mission trips with a renowned healer. They witnessed the blind seeing and lame people walking and many other miraculous healings on these trips. Richard had been mentoring John and asked him why he never asked this healer with whom he was very close, to pray for his chronic pain. It was very curious to Richard that requesting help from such an obvious source was not something John had automatically done. It was at that point that Richard began to recognize the role of resignation in the believer’s life.


Resignation cons a person into the false assumption that “there is nothing to do to make things change.” Or, “my efforts will only result in failure, so why try?” Resignation, on the surface, looks like a seamless floor that we are so used to, we take it for granted. And beneath it lurk hopelessness and despair and other evils that scare us into leaving resignation in place. We reason that resignation is a better choice than feeling hopelessness and despair. And it would be except that we can get rid of both through Jesus Christ. Here is an idea for prayer:


“Lord Jesus, I ask that you expose the top seamless surface of resignation in me and tear it up then pump and remove the lies underneath.” The floor is hard to see, and many say, “I don’t have resignation.” But upon further investigation they discover they have quite a lot.


God is a God of answers and solutions. It was Jesus who said, “knock and the door will be opened and seek, and you will find.” He is heavily invested in helping us to be cleansed from every negative and destructive reaction. Just look at creation. There’s joy, even in the animal kingdom. You can watch puppies play, dolphins swim, birds sing. Birds like singing—they don’t have to sing. God could have made the world in grey-tone, not color. And why use more than one color? The extravagance and variety of creation broadcasts the “aliveness” that is the “way it should be.”


Most of us are living well below our potential in terms of joy and energy and effectiveness. One of our main roles as counselors is to restore people to their natural levels of effectiveness, joy and success. And as God aids us to excavate this debris in the soul, we always want to fill it with the Father’s love, optimism, energy, and good health.


Scattered hopes and dreams are often the reason resignation begins to lay its tiles in our souls. When resignation takes a hold of you, your deepest held belief causes things to which you’re resigned, to happen. Such as “People don’t like me”, “life is hard”, “people don't cooperate with me”, “I can’t make any friends”. It’s a different song and dance for each different person, but there are many commonalities. “Life’s a drudge”, or some version of “life’s a bummer then you die.”


Some call this “self-fulfilling prophecy.” If we hold lies as truth, now without knowing it, we are praying against ourselves. And as our history becomes more and more filled with these negative life experiences in answer to our hidden prayers, we refer to our “history” as concrete evidence these lies are valid! Do you see how this vicious cycle can keep us stuck in a lackluster life at best and deep discouragement at worst?


When we have not dealt with loss in a timely fashion our hearts can become hard. Some of the various by-products of delayed grief begin to fill our souls. Besides the obvious unforgiveness that accompanies unresolved hurts, there are four other “soul conditions” we want to talk about here. Our Lord wants to help us to make more room for connection with Him and He will help us to address each of these things that contribute to our hard and negatively full hearts. This list is not exhaustive but very helpful.


1.     Resentment

2.     Bitterness

3.     Resignation

4.     Hopelessness and Despair


Resentment is a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will over something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury.[3] Ever find yourself mulling over some situation or relationship where you got hurt and couldn’t resolve it? That is the feeling of resentment and as we get older, we can pile up more and more of it! When we reach a certain threshold of resentment and it increasingly becomes a lifestyle, that’s where we become full of bitterness.


Bitterness is supported in our soul by a stance that God or whoever was supposed to help us, did not. Our worldview if we become bitter takes on an acrid quality of disappointment and negativity. Rather than hopeful expectation, we anticipate things will not go well for us. No wonder the Bible warns of someone who can defile many by a bitter root.[4]


Resignation is where we say: My difficulty, my pain, my sorrow, whatever I am facing—there is no way I can beat it or get away from it, so I am just going to give up and become resigned to it as a way to lessen my own pain. As a child, it is true we can’t walk away from an abusing or annoying parent. Or as an adult we can’t walk away from a medical condition. Resignation is never really a good choice for us because we were created to be aggressive, to be warriors, to be proactive. As adults we can always move back against situations that are unfair even if they are larger than we can face openly. We can always pray against them, invoking God’s will and kingdom to enter every circumstance.


But there is an even more compelling purpose to form this false floor of resignation. When we encounter life situations where we have no solution, this provokes in us feelings of hopelessness and despair. Negative emotion is one of the most painful feelings we can experience so we are very interested in avoiding it, if possible. When hopelessness and despair fills an area of our souls, we can cover it up with resignation and pretend it isn’t there. We choose to settle for the dull ache of resigning ourselves to whatever life serves us rather than facing the pit of hopelessness and despair beneath it.


One of the signs that a person has hopelessness and despair is when they must go around things instead of straight at them. They take an overly non-confrontational approach to issues because they are afraid of confronting the hopelessness and despair. There is a time to be confrontational and a time to be a peace maker. If we act out of fear and not love, we will be a less effective in our lives.


The fourplex of resignation, bitterness, resentment and hopelessness and despair provide seemingly convincing evidence that you can’t go any deeper in life’s pursuits.


Deep happiness for you? Nah. A little bit of happiness for you? Yeah, maybe. A life with deep friendships? Nah. Just some casual connections if I get lucky. A lot of success for you? Nah. A little bit of success for you? Maybe.


There is no safety for you in the floor of resignation. Everything beneath it (resentment, bitterness, and hopelessness/despair) are not your friends[5]. It slowly takes your energy and robs your life of joy and pleasure.


My friend and co-worker, Richard Kinney, likes to go after the hopelessness and despair in a person first. He treats it like moray eels silently slithering through the person’s soul. One of their goals is to make it especially difficult to deal with the other negative qualities inhibiting the person.


The task before us looks insurmountable. The negative threats of resentment, resignation, bitterness and hopelessness and despair have thwarted us. But we can start breaking them apart. Imagine that there is a 30-pound block of ice hindering my way and I have a hammer in my hand. Who is going to win? Me or the block of ice? I am going to win. Even if it takes me some time, I am going to pound on that block of ice until it is all little ice chips. That’s the situation we are in. Even though this may be a work that takes some time, we can win out against resignation and everything we thought it was protecting us from. With Jesus Christ we are more than conquerors who strengthens us, so we don’t have to give up


Even people in prison or those who are being tortured don’t have to give up. There are small choices we can make both in prayer and outwardly that make a difference. Richard Wurmbrand was a Romanian Pastor who spent fourteen years in communist prisons suffering for his faith in Christ. When he wasn’t in solitary confinement, he endured physical torture and exposure to long periods of hunger and freezing temperatures. In prison, he was given one slice of bread per week for food. Every tenth week, he would “tithe” his food… giving the entire slice to a weaker prisoner as an act of obedience to God.[6] By that small choice he remained   unresigned to his fate even though he couldn’t break out of jail or kill his captors.


So, resignation is this floor built on hidden concrete blocks inside your soul. It very difficult for you to swim and flow with the Spirit of God. Our goal is be increasingly lifted-up in a weightless state, able to receive the gentle nudges of the Holy Spirit moving us. If our hearts are heavy and hard, God has to use quite a bit more muscle to get us to turn and go in a different or new direction.


Be suspicious if you always have an explanation as to why “things happen to me like this all the time.” You look at your track record and feel you can prove that people in churches don’t like you, or that when you start a new program someone’s going to disdain it.


This is not at all like little children. Little kids expect to be successful. When they draw a picture and show you, they expect you to clap. They rejoice in whatever they can do and assume others will rejoice with them. They invite us to share their pleasure at accomplishing whatever they do simply because it is their life and they love it!


We, too, can enjoy and appreciate our own personal best. Even if I’m not the best artist, I can have a good day. Most of us are in some way gifted and very lovely given an opportunity. And we give ourselves that opportunity by allowing God to help us remove any resentment, bitterness, resignation and hopelessness and despair that has weighed down our souls. I pray for you right now that the energy and love of God would begin to pull up out of you any and all this debris as you open your heart and expectations to Him.


All that we are speaking of here is part of what it takes to deal with the effects of delayed grief. The idea that we need to settle for all this soft coal packed down in our souls repressing and suffocating our real potential is based on lies. “That’s just the way I feel, that always happens to me.” Whatever our story is, we have got to realize that the son or daughter of God has possibilities that we don’t often see expressed around us.


If we seek God to show us whatever walls of unbelief have constrained us to live much smaller than we were meant to live, He will reveal to us the foundational lies that keep those walls in place. Here are just a few of those lies:


I don’t belong.

I will never really be loved.

I am a disappointment to others, and they will eventually disappoint me.

I should never have been born.

The world is a hostile place. People are always out to hurt me.


“The Lord wants to propel us into something that looks more like Jesus Christ being manifest on the earth. I think we could see more miracles, genuine joy and salvations based on people saying I want what that guy has. Whatever he has, I don’t know what that is, but I want that. I don’t think many Christians are witnesses like that, but I think they could be.”[7]


Richard and I have helped many clients with resignation problems as described above and seen very good fruit. Ridding yourself of resignation and lies will make it easier for you to connect to the spirit man.


The key to becoming fully alive is in our spirit man (gender non-specific) who is already inside of us. The grieving process God placed within us will guide us out of misery. Our spirit man can lead us into a vibrant and joyful life.


Most Christians are unaware of their spirit man. But this powerful part of us can mentor and coach each area of our souls into communion and harmony with Jesus Christ. Our spirit man and how he can help us is the subject of our next chapter.



[1] My thanks to Richard Kinney for permitting me to expand and illustrate his teaching on resignation.

[2] Any name referring to a client in this book is changed to an alias.

[4] See Hebrews 12:15.

[5] You may also find plenty of unforgiveness, hatred, jealousy, envy, malice, etc.

[6] Quoted from Troy Gramling website:

[7] From a conversation I recorded with Richard Kinney, my co-worker at Firehouse Ministries, Inc.

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