We can’t erase the past and live in denial of its existence, but we let go of it in a way that yields to healing and growth. In the process of release, we can also learn more about the blind spots in our life — the dark places we need God’s light. And maybe that’s what this is more about: asking for God’s help as we learn to let go.
Once Upon a Time…
I had something like 11 photo albums. And they were heavy. And they’d go in a closet after every move and sit there for a couple of years taking up space. The photo albums somehow became a part of me, and even though they felt burdensome to move, even though they required space in a closet or under a bed–space that may have been needed for something more frequently used–I kept dragging them around year after year.
What was this strong grip on the photo albums? There were tons and tons of photos… and I don’t mean just the photos that were fun and memorable with close family and friends, but these albums included photos of people I hadn’t seen in years. Or photos of people I’m no longer involved with in some way. It made me wonder if I had a problem with letting go of the past — or letting go of “things.” Or both??
Letting Go… Physically
Eventually I challenged myself to take on the photo albums and get rid of unnecessary items. Every time I felt like keeping a certain photo — one that somehow opposed walking in faith or had little meaning — I’d ask what I was really wanting to keep. In the end, I eliminated hundreds of pictures. The ones I kept were for memory’s sake; they were pictures I could feel good sharing with my family. But the greater lesson was in trusting that it was “ok” to let go of things… and their emotional pull.
Not only did this relieve physical weight, but it felt emotionally lighter. I keep turning to God and asking for help releasing the self-imposed burdens in my life. Photo albums are only a small item in the big picture, but it was a starting point. Letting go of things we can see could help us reflect on and let go of the things we can’t see.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
I wish I could say that all the material things I once clinged to were as simple as photo albums, but that’s not true. God helped me see what needed to go in my life (thank you Lord!)… and I’m still asking for His help in this area.
What are You Holding On To?
It could be money, clothes or some other “thing” that feels like a permanent fixture in your closet of life. Start there. Think about what’s hard to let go of… something that you know you grip too tightly. Pray that God sheds some light on the blindspot. Ask Him why you find it so hard to let go of this material item. Much will be revealed in the process.
We have greater things to let go of, so go by faith and trust that God is leading the way. Let go of something you’ve been clinging to by this Friday and see how it feels.
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it” (Luke 17:33).