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My pup Ella’s favorite toy is what we call Ms. Blueberry. It’s a blue plush toy that, for some inexplicable reason, has won Ella’s heart over. She usually picks up this toy first thing in the morning and sometimes falls asleep with it right beside her mouth. I had to chuckle when, earlier this week, I offered Ella another favorite treat: an ice cube. I set it on the ground while she still had Ms. Blueberry in her mouth.
Boy was she ever puzzled. First and foremost, she was NOT ready to let go of Ms. Blueberry. It remained firmly within her mouth. But when she heard the ice drawer open, and saw the ice cube on the floor, and sniffed it, she knew she would like it very much. She kept circling around and around, trying to figure out if she could pick up the ice cube while still keeping Ms. Blueberry in her mouth.
She never did pick up the ice cube.
As I wiped up the melted ice off the floor after a few minutes, it made me think about how holding on — or not letting go — makes me miss out on something better. Like Ella holds onto Ms. Blueberry, I realize I’m pretty good at holding onto old ways of thinking.
“I’m not someone who is athletic” — that old idea keeps me from going to the gym regularly and feeling better about myself physically. Gotta let that one go.
“Staying busy is better than making time for prayer” — I really don’t know where that idea came from, but it’s been around for a *long* time. I really need to drop that one off the play list.
Here’s an old favorite that I hold onto for dear life sometimes: “I”ll show HIM!”
It’s the idea that I have the position and/or power to punish someone who’s offended me. It is SO not worth hanging onto. Just leads to more anger, frustration, and brokenness. And it keeps me from experiencing the gifts of God’s spirit in my heart and life.
[Footnote: Unlike angry condemnation, loving confrontation can be a good thing when done from a place of genuine concern and care. I'm letting go of condemnation because it's not my job.]
This idea of letting go also works with chapters of my life. I often think, “I want things to always be this same way, the way I’m used to, the way I’m comfortable with” And more often than not, God calls me to let go of one thing in order to discover the something new. Like the melody of a song, I have to let go of one note in order to sing the next one.
Letting go can be hard, scary, and uncertain. And then I remember that God has good things in store. God desires to bless me, love me, and nurture me (and all of us) into becoming more and more like our Savior: people filled with joy, peace and love. Jesus called it living water — and like that ice cube, it can be pretty refreshing.
But first, I gotta let go.