Empty Out the Negative

Make Room for More Joy, Greater Confidence, and New Levels of Influence


By Joel Osteen

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Release the negative thoughts and feelings that are weighing you down and make room for the good things you should have in your life with #1 New York Times bestselling author Joel Osteen.

You were created to be filled with joy, peace, confidence, and creativity. But it’s easy to go through life holding on to things that weigh you down-guilt, resentment, doubt, worry. When you give space to these negative emotions, they take up space that you need for the good things that move you toward your destiny.

How much room are you giving to shame, to regret, to being against yourself? Whatever it is, it’s too much. Life is too short for you to live bitter and discouraged, letting your circumstances hold you back. Every morning you have to empty out anything negative from the day before and put on a fresh new attitude. Power up and get your mind going in the right direction, and you’ll step into all the new things God has in store for you.



Empty Out the Negative

It’s easy to go through life holding on to things that weigh us down—guilt, resentment, doubt, worry. The problem is, when we allow these negative emotions in, they take up space we need for the good things that should be there. Imagine your life is like a container. You were created to be filled with joy, peace, confidence, and creativity. But if you allow worry in, it pushes out the peace. There’s not space for both. You can’t go above 100-percent capacity; you have a limited amount of space. If you allow guilt to take up space, that’s space you don’t have for the confidence you need.

The reason some people don’t enjoy their lives is because their container, or their heart, is contaminated with so many things. They have 10 percent filled with worry, being stressed out over their job; 12 percent bitterness, being mad at their neighbor; 20 percent guilt, beating themselves up for past mistakes; 9 percent jealousy, thinking their coworker is more beautiful. They don’t realize 70 percent of their container is negative. Yet they wonder why they don’t have joy, creativity, and passion. They only have room for 30 percent of the good things they should have.

The Scripture says, “Give no place to the enemy.” That’s not just talking about the forces of darkness. That means to give no place to guilt. Give no place to worry. Give no place to bitterness. Those contaminants can’t come in and automatically take over. You control what’s in your container. You control what you think about and what you choose to allow in. We all have negative emotions, negative feelings. But you have to make the choice that says, “I’m not going to give this jealousy, this bitterness, or this anger valuable space and let it poison my life. I’m going to protect what I allow in my heart.”

Every morning when we wake up, we need to empty out anything negative from the day before. If somebody offended you at work, and they didn’t treat you right, it’s easy to let that offense stay with you. It can feel good to carry around a grudge. But you have to be disciplined and say, “No, I am not giving this offense any room. I am not going to let it sour my day.” That person hurt you once. Don’t let that person continue to hurt you by holding on to the offense. Being offended is not harming the other person; it’s harming you. It’s taking up space you need for the good things that will move you toward your destiny.

Let’s say you wake up in the morning and thoughts of worry come. How are you going to pay your bills? What if the medical report’s not good? You’ll never get out of this problem. Don’t allow these negative thoughts in. Don’t make the mistake of dwelling on them. Just say, “No, thanks. I know God is in control. He has me in the palms of His hands. He’ll get me to where I’m supposed to be.” Take inventory of what you’re giving space to. Life is too short for you to live with negative things holding you down.

Make Room for the Good Things

David says in Psalm 103, “God fills my life with good things so I stay young and strong.” I’ve learned that if you empty out the negative, if you make room, God will fill you with good things. If you empty out the worry, God will fill you with peace. If you empty out the insecurity and the negative things people have said about you, God will fill you with confidence. My question to you is: Is God trying to fill you with good things but there’s no room? Is your container full of worry, regret, bitterness, and jealousy? Why don’t you start emptying that out? If somebody did you wrong, you could hang on to that bitterness; instead you need to say, “God, I forgive them. I let it go.” You didn’t just forgive. You made room for God to fill you with good things. That’s when He’ll give you beauty for ashes and joy for mourning.

Perhaps you’re in a tough season. The medical report wasn’t good. You should be stressed and worried; instead you say, “God, I trust You. You said You would restore health to me.” You just made room for God to fill you with healing. You empty out the worry, and God will give you peace in the midst of the storm.

Perhaps a coworker got the promotion you worked so hard for. Envy and jealousy will come. “I wish that were me. I’m smarter than he is. I don’t understand that.” Instead of letting that jealousy stay, you need to say, “God, I know You’re no respecter of persons. You got the promotion for him, and I know You can do it for me.” The good news is, God doesn’t run out of favor. He doesn’t have a limited supply. If you empty out the jealousy, then when it’s your time to be promoted, God will open doors that no man can shut. If somebody got what you wanted, that simply means it wasn’t supposed to be yours. If someone else got the promotion, be happy for that person. God has something better for you. If someone else got the person you wanted to date, don’t be upset. God knows what He’s doing. If it worked out your way, that person would be second best. The bottom line is, what has your name on it is not going to go to anyone else. Don’t go around bitter, with jealousy, in self-pity—that will poison your life. Empty it out. God is in control. He’s directing your steps, and at the right time, what has your name on it will show up.

God promises that if we make room, He will not only fill us with good things, but He will keep us young and strong. The reason some people are not young and strong—I don’t mean just young physically, but young in spirit, vibrant and passionate about life—is because they’re filled with the negative. Worry will make you weak. Living stressed out will make you old, give you wrinkles, and take your passion. Being bitter, angry, and resentful will shorten your life. Proverbs says, “A relaxed attitude lengthens life.” You can be eighty years old and young at heart. Your spirit never ages.

I met a woman in the church lobby a while back. It was her hundredth birthday. She was standing there dressed impeccably, looking beautiful, with hardly any wrinkles, and full of joy. Her mind was as sharp as can be. I asked her what her secret was so I could tell Victoria. She said, “I don’t worry. I let things go, and I laugh a lot.” She’s lived by this principle. But you know that in her hundred years, she had troubles, people hurt her, and she made mistakes. Life happened. Offenses came, but she didn’t hold on to them. She kept emptying them out, and as God promised, He filled her life with good things and kept her young and strong.

I don’t want to get old, grouchy, grumpy, and fall apart. I want to stay young, strong, good-looking, and full of faith, joy, and energy. The way this happens is to give no place to the negative. Get in the habit of emptying out the offenses. Empty out the worry. If you make a mistake, empty out the guilt. If you didn’t do your best, empty out the regret. Do better next time. If nobody gave you credit for what you did, empty out the self-pity. If you had a bad break, and you don’t understand it, empty out the questions. If you get good at emptying out the negative, you’ll be like that woman—strong, young, vibrant, full of faith and full of joy.

Release It

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” The word pure in the original language is where we get our word catharsis from, which means “cleansing, releasing, purifying.” If you have surgery, sometimes the doctor will put in a catheter. A catheter is a tube that drains out the impurities in the body, and it comes from the same root word as catharsis. A catheter automatically takes what’s not beneficial—the toxins, the infections, the waste—and flushes them out of the body. The doctor knows there will be contaminants. He’s not alarmed that the body has waste and infection. He’s only alarmed when it’s not being released, when we’re holding on to things that should be flushed out. When God says, “Blessed are the pure in heart,” He’s saying, “You’re going to be blessed when you learn how to release the impurities of life like a catheter does, when you get in a habit of emptying out things that will infect you.”

Do you know what bitterness is to our spirit? It’s an infection. Guilt is an infection. Worry, doubt, and self-pity are infections. These things are not unusual. Impurities come to us all. But you have to push them out. It’s when we hold on to them that they contaminate our spirit and cause us problems. You weren’t created to carry around guilt, regret, bitterness, and anger—that poisons your life.

“Joel, I’m bitter because I had a bad break.” “I’m sour because somebody walked out on me.” I say this respectfully: That’s simply an impurity. Why don’t you release it so it doesn’t infect the rest of your life? Don’t let a disappointment, a divorce, a layoff, or a loss poison your future. “I’m worried about my health. I’m worried about my finances. I’m worried about my children.” Worry is a part of life. Those thoughts come to us all. The key is to not hold on to them. Recognize that they’re not beneficial; they’re not moving you forward. That’s an impurity that wasn’t meant to stay. You have to release it. “God, I don’t see a way, but I know You’re still on the throne. I know You’re bigger than this problem. I know You’re supplying all my needs.” You just released the toxin.

Are you holding on to an infection? To impurities? Are you angry? Jealous? Worried? Discouraged? Maybe you had a disappointment, something didn’t work out. Imagine there’s an angel who has a delivery package with your name on it. It says, “Beauty for ashes, new beginnings, new opportunities, and new friendships.” He’s en route with those good things. The problem is, if you’re holding on to the old, there’s no place for him to deliver it. I wonder how many things are en route right now. The angel is standing by with our joy, our peace, our confidence, our creativity, or our spouse, but there’s no room. Because we’re not releasing the toxins—the anger, the bitterness, the jealousy, the worry—he can’t deliver those good things. Instead of living blessed and excited about our future, we’ve become infected. The good news is, you can get rid of that infection. It is not permanent. If you start releasing the regret, the worry, the bitterness, or the anger, it’s just a matter of time before that angel shows up with your delivery. When you make room, God promises He will fill your life with good things.

Keep Your Heart Pure

This is what David did. He was an expert at emptying out the negative. As a young man, his family looked down on him and treated him like he was second-class. He could have let that infection take root and lived insecure. Instead, he let it go in one ear and out the other. He knew that if he held on to it, it would keep him from his destiny. Later, David went to the palace and served King Saul faithfully. When Saul was sick, David would play the harp to help him feel better. In return, Saul tried to kill him. Saul was jealous of David, chased him through the desert, and made his life miserable for many years. David could have become bitter and thought, What’s the use? Everybody’s against me. Life is not fair. But instead he kept his heart pure and emptied out the self-pity.

As David did, we all have impurities and infections that come. People come against us for no reason. Our plans don’t always work out. It’s easy to think, Why is this happening to me?


On Sale
Nov 9, 2021
Page Count
160 pages

Joel Osteen

About the Author

JOEL OSTEEN is a New York Times bestselling author and the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Millions connect daily with his inspirational messages through television, podcasts, Joel Osteen Radio on Sirius XM, and global digital platforms. To learn more, visit his website at JoelOsteen.com.

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