WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
A new year approaches and with it comes an opportunity to let go of those things that no longer serve you well.
It might be an attitude toward something, or a belief that has proven patently false but that you’ve wanted to cling to because it’s known and comfortable.
It could be an old recording that plays in your head and attacks your esteem or confidence in who you are or what you are trying to do with your life. A recording you know is not true but the machination manufactured by someone bent on building themselves up by tearing you down. A recording you bought into, perhaps for years, because you didn’t understand what was happening, or because you couldn’t believe that what was happening was something that specific person would really do to you.
The thing to which you’re clinging could be a bad habit. They are the hardest to break, regardless of whether they’re physical, emotional or spiritual.
Or it could be that you’re having trouble letting go of someone in your life, alive or deceased.
We hold onto to things and to people, often long past the time we should let go, because we resent or hate or fear change–even when that change is good and we know it. It’s still different, and different isn’t something we easily embrace.
There are among us the adventurers. But even among them, there are those who like safe and secure adventures, not ones that where they come face to face with the unknown.
Most have strong feelings against the unknown because confronting it forces us to weigh, judge and evaluate ourselves. That raises a whole new set of fears and dislikes and questions–ones we shun. Why? Because when looking closely at ourselves, we sometimes see things we don’t like. Things that make us feel badly about ourselves. We tend to forget that only in looking at these things can we change them.
The hope and exception for us is in knowing that we have unconditional love and acceptance. God gifted it to us. And He fashioned us to be exactly as we are. That gives us the strength to look in the mirror, evaluate, keep what we feel is worth keeping, and the wisdom to ditch the rest.
We like control. And we love feeling that we’re in control of our own destinies. When we discover that we have input but not control, it rattles us. Some of us. But I’ve discovered on this spiritual journey that being rattled dissipates when you walk in faith.
In faith, you know you’ll have what you need when you need it to do whatever it is you’re to do. You know that all acts require two parts: you do yours, then God does the rest. You act to prove your will, then God is free to act on your behalf–and does.
There are amazing gifts in faith. But insight has to be close to the top of the list. Having this bond of unshakable trust in God, you’re able to back off from things and to see more objectively. To broaden your view. That broadens your horizons, or narrows in the focus on a specific.
When you look at a challenge and you’re in the middle of it, too often you see only the challenge. The complications. The tough stuff. You don’t see the solutions or how God turns those complications into opportunities or that tough stuff into good stuff that increases your wisdom and prevents you from future challenges of a similar nature.
Letting go is hard. But it isn’t impossible. Sometimes it takes time. You have to grow into the ability to do it. For example, when my mother died, I hit the abyss. I knew she was safe and fine and healthy and happy and well again. She was a believer and had been her entire life. The despair was in her not being a part of my daily life anymore. It hit hard. And it stayed. It took time to work through it.
I was lucky because a friend warned me that while experts say grief is intense for a year, it took her over five years before she could speak her mother’s name without feeling that intense grief. Before she crawled out of the abyss.
Because she shared that with me, I was prepared for those moments of intense grief. I knew that to get out of the abyss, I’d have to crawl. And I did.
There’s a difference in being prepared and in anticipating and then feeling flawed if you don’t have the same experience. Mine was much different. I didn’t take on the challenges, I prepared for them with solutions. Focusing not on the grief but on crawling out of the abyss. So when those moments came, I acted on the solutions. I prayed. And that altered my experience.
Did it hurt? Yes. Was I devastated? Yes. But I was also comforted and reassured. It’s a difficult thing to explain, being comforted in this way. It’s like a knowing that this life is but a speck on the window of eternity, and while it’s important and real, what is most important and most real is then.
Perspective broadens, pain eases, strength comes. One endures and grows determined. One crawls and then walks and then soars.
Letting go in any form–physical, emotional, or spiritual–isn’t easy, and I won’t say that it is. But it is something we all must do, often many times during our lives. The significant thing to recall is that we need to be kind and gentle with ourselves and with others–constructive in our actions and deeds. We need to recall that in letting go–or in holding on–we never walk alone.
c2008, vicki hinze
Vicki Hinze’s Faith Zone is not affiliated or associated with any other entity. It is simply the name of Vicki’s personal blog on her spiritual journey.