Wednesday, February 5, 2014

letting go

I'm letting go. I'm letting go of my plans and my expectations and my wants. I am letting go of stress and worry and doubt and BUSYNESS; all of which are idols (sins, really) onto which I have desperately held tightly for as long as I can remember. And I am letting go of my flimsy earthly identity, because it's not important. (Click here if you missed yesterday's post about my identity crisis.)

See, I was really good at having faith when the situation required it. Brody's crazy adoption? I had faith because I knew it was all completely out of my hands. Brecken's situation: Faith, because I couldn't keep that kid in my womb and pump air through his lungs with my own willpower. But selling a stupid rental house? Not much faith. Getting through the lengthy to-do lists? No faith, and in it's place: stress and busyness. Why? Because I felt like I could control those situations and many others through my own efforts.

If we just beautified the house and shared its info more often, more people would see that house and someone would buy it. If I just stressed about details of financing a stay-at-home life next year, I could take care of it all. If I just stayed extremely busy and stressed about it all, I could get everything done and keep everyone happy.

Not so.

While I gripped those things--worry, doubt, stress, busyness--with such tight fists, it was nearly impossible to have my hands open to the gifts God had in store for our family. Where was there room for his gifts and his goodness when I was grasping worry and busyness so tightly? Where was there room for a mustard seed's worth of faith for Him to reveal His miracles? There was no room in my clenched fists.

So I've let it all go. My snow days--which we have had plenty of this year--have not consisted entirely of to-do lists and wringing hands, worrying about some far-off stressor, or  planning every step I'll take next. Instead, it has consisted of tickling kids, slow breakfasts and snow runs.

Mostly, it has consisted of the open hands of letting go. When my hands are open, I am more able to praise God for this family, this house and the thousand other gifts we have been given, and I am also more able to receive more of the gifts He has to give. How many gifts have I missed because my hands weren't open to receive them?

(Image: Colourbox.com)

Why do I share all of this? Because I have missed it for so long, and I think many other people have missed it, too. Busyness is almost seen as a status symbol. Stress and worry make us think we can control outcomes. None of it is true. As someone who has battled through all three--busyness, stress, and worry--somewhat successfully "on my own," I can tell you that it is infinitely better to LET IT GO.

And although I don't think I should have to prove it's better this way, I will share that in the last few weeks (as I've been learning to let go), I have rediscovered purpose in my life, we have gotten a contract on our rental house, I've received confirmation about spending more time with my kids next year from nearly every direction, and our adoption and foster care ministry at church (which is dear to my heart) is finally gathering some steam. How's that for evidence that God had gifts to give and no hands in which to place them?

Stress. Worry. Busyness. Let it go.

And in their place: Peace.

 Proverbs 14:14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

{{If you don't recognize this sentiment, I learned it from Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts.  I can honestly say that it has changed me for the better. It took a while for me to get into it, due in part to the fact that the first chapter was so incredibly sad that I had to take a break for a while. I picked the book up for the first time shortly after learning about the twins, when Imara's situation seemed to be deteriorating quickly as well, and I just couldn't handle one more incredibly sad situation (which the first story in Voskamp's book was). When I finally picked it back up and read the rest, it was as if God himself was giving me fresh eyes.}}