In the past few days, I’ve been involved in quite a few conversations or heard several people talk about the need to “let go.” This idea particularly impressed me when I was sitting in Sunday School yesterday and hearing people express exactly what I struggle with – the need to control and make things “work the way they should.” Wow! Boy, do I ever think that!
When things aren’t going the way I THINK they should, I feel the need to manipulate the situation, to get MY results out of it. I want people to feel better, even when they can’t. I want people to act better, even when they won’t. I want the world to be better, even when I know that’s not always possible. In the end, the only thing that happens is that I get weary and the people around me are annoyed.
This morning, as I was reading Captivating by Stasi and John Eldredge, I was struck by just how much of a habit this is for women. Almost every woman I know feels the need, at least on some level, for things to be perfect. We talk about “setting boundaries,” or “putting on the show we need to be put on,” or “doing it ourselves” because it’s easier that way. And while there is some element of truth and reality in all of these statements, I think they also often come out of a deep wounded place that says that we aren’t good enough as who we are. Instead, we must do more, be more, STRIVE more. At least I know that’s how I think.
After Sunday School yesterday, my pastor Jesse preached on lives of “scarcity” or lives of “abundance.” (He was borrowing from Tim Kimmel liberally). People who live lives of scarcity are always worried that there won’t be enough for them if other people get what they want – jobs, money, love. People who live lives of abundance take joy in when other people get wonderful things and know that our God is big enough to provide abundantly for all of us. Again, so true for me, and so often for me this is linked to control. I sometimes think that if I just do more – if I wear myself into the ground trying to control people and situations – I will get everything I need. That’s pretty sad.
The beautiful irony here is that I don’t have to DO anything to get that abundant life. God has promised it to me already. Jesus says, in John 10, that he came “that we might have life and have it to the full.” Imagine if I could must let go and live in that abundance. Imagine if all women could – how beautiful would be in our true selves if we stopped trying to make our jobs perfect or our kids perfect or ourselves perfect? What if we, what if I simply accepted that I am beautiful in my imperfection, that God’s strength (and beauty) are made perfect in my weakness?
What an abundant life that would be. Today, I will try to start that journey, and tomorrow, when I haven’t done so well today, I will start again. That’s the glory of days, right? We get to start over each and every morning – seizing hold of this prize for which Christ took hold of us. Life abundant – what a glorious idea.