Always toward the end of a year I evaluate. What have I learned this year? How have I changed, if at all?
This year I have come to a realization that as hard as I’ve tried to hold on I have lost several relationships and a couple of dreams that were very precious to me. Friends that were once close and likeminded are now acquaintances at best. Oh, I loved them so dearly and felt so invested in their lives. It is sad to know I have to just let go. This year I’ve also had to release a dream and a part of my business that I thought I never would have to see go until I decided it was time to. In this life we all need the graceful gift of good-bye.
Letting go is hard for me and for most of us, whether it’s letting go of a loved one, a dream, an expected outcome, business, etc. Life in this world seems to take people or things from us that we want to keep. I have asked God to help me to learn how to let go of them in my heart, so I won’t continue to feel such a hurt from the loss.
How do you let go of things or people you don’t actually want to give up? For me, I’ve struggled a lot with this. Although, I am introvert by nature, I highly value and am committed to the people in my life, even the ones who are on the fringe are important to me. I didn’t know it, but in my heart I was afraid of losing people and parts of my life. I needed to learn how to face the fear of loss and let go of people or anything else that I was holding onto out of fear.
What God has helped me this year to learn is to pray about it all. Pray about the relationships I lost. Pray about the things I lost. I would say to the Father out loud over each of those, “I let go of …” even before I actually did. I also waited on Him to reveal anything or anyone I was not conscious of that I was holding onto out of fear. As He revealed these people or things, I tried to respond. Sometimes in many tears but also in the most honest and sincere way I knew. Then I would say again to Him, “I let go of …”
As I did this I began to notice a difference in my peace of mind. The fear and feelings of being upset started dissipating. My vision concerning my own life and life around me broadened. The tunnel vision I was plagued with was gone. I discovered what I thought was hurting and diminishing me was not that at all. That was a delusion. Do I absolutely need this person or thing to validate me, make me secure, happy, etc.? If the answer was yes then I believed a lie and that lie was causing me to fear. Sure, people or things can make us happy and give us a certain level of validation, security or whatever your need may be, but they can’t be the source of it. The Lord Himself is the source. Everything and everyone is a precious resource granted to us. Everything, even relationships, on this earth are the things seen as in 2 Corinthians 4:18: While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
I began to see the privilege God has granted me. I was graced to journey with some awesome people and do some awesome things for a season, but now that part of my life is over and my journey continues. God has given me(us) a future and hope. We are being transformed and the world around us is changing. Just because something or someone was right for me in the past doesn’t mean that is still so.
I also discovered thankfulness plays a role in letting go. One night in the midst of one of my pity parties the Lord showed me what was a sign that said, “Thank You.” I closed my eyes and saw it again. I believe part of letting go is to be thankful for the people and things that made us happy and helped us to learn, grow and become more of our true self. It’s the acceptance of everything and everyone we have been given, everything and everyone we once had in our lives, but also being thankful for the possibilities and hope and people that lie ahead.
The missionary and martyr, Jim Elliot, summed it up like this, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Corrie Ten Boom’s wisdom is also helpful. “I have held many things in my hand and I have lost them all, but whatever I have placed in God’s hand, that, I still possess.”
This year as I head into 2015 I head in with one of my greatest loss challenges right before me. It will be a time of prayer and fasting for me because surely if God has allowed such He has something much greater in store. I pray I learn to count all loss as dung as in Philippians 3:8: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,