Taking Stock and Letting Go

Letting go requires that I first take stock. Until I know what’s in me, I can’t begin to get rid of what no longer belongs. The junk I discard distracts and keeps me from being who God desires for me to be. I heard someone say on Oprah years ago that the best thing you can let go of is the belief that things could have been different.  At first, I thought that was ludicrous, but the more I thought about it, the more I had to agree. Letting go of that notion clears a vast amount of room in my heart. Empty space is just what God needs, but it makes me feel exposed and uncomfortable. It’s not easy to clear and clean when it comes to my heart or my closets!

I sometimes watch “What Not to Wear” and see the pain that comes when closets are emptied and clothing is thrown in the trash. On the outside looking in, it seems a no-brainer to throw out the old and let the experts give you the money and the advice you need to have a completely new wardrobe and a new look. Even when I know the results will be better, letting go of what I find comfortable is never easy. On the show, trusting the hosts is the key. I have wondered if anyone ever says no. Again, fear causes me to miss so much, so I’m not sure I would be any more ready for the makeover than those on the show. The better question to ask myself is how many times do I refuse God’s offer to give me a new life. He offers life in His kingdom now, and He is God. Surely I can trust Him with my transformation.

I cleaned out closets and drawers yesterday, and I would love to have had Clinton and Stacy’s honest feedback as I decided what stayed and what went. Having someone help me see myself in a new light requires brutal honesty, but it helps me make changes that make a difference. The willingness to let go after taking stock is what causes the real change on the show and with me. The change I see in the eyes of those who have been transformed brings tears each time I watch the show. The faces of  those who loved and intervened is icing on the cake as they see the beautiful transformation. The most joyful part of this journey is seeing loved ones see themselves as I see them. It’s the same for God when I finally see in myself in His light.  Before that can happen with God, I have to face that frightening 360 degree mirror. My heart doesn’t fare any better than my body when I stand before it, but I come away ready to change. Knowing I have God’s help and loving friends who truly care makes the looking, taking stock, and letting go possible.

I took lots of things to charity yesterday and got closets and drawers cleared of all that was simply taking up space and getting in my way. I had things in my heart that needed clearing out as well, and that was much more difficult to identify and discard. God helped with all the cleaning and clearing I did yesterday. It really all boils down to realizing who I am and who I am not. All that I got rid of yesterday didn’t fit or wasn’t me. That was true for the closets and my heart:)

Letting God

Lillyann taught a funny little lesson on letting go of what I want and letting God give me what He has in mind, which is always much better. I am learning that differentiation, or letting go, isn’t about losing love. It’s about letting God get rid of all that keeps me from loving as He desires. Fusion is unhealthy and causes feelings that do not belong in my heart. God knows when I truly do let go of  that which I cannot have, He can give me what He desires. He literally used a very sweet example to teach me that as we celebrated Tyler’s thirty-second birthday.

We had just finished our meal and Lillyann wanted the little gummy bunnies she usually has for dessert. She went to where I keep them and got a pack. I told her that we had a very special dessert planned.  Gina had made Tyler a wonderful chocolate mint birthday cake, and I had chocolate mint ice cream to go with it.  Lillyann’s favorite ice cream in the world is chocolate mint chip, so I knew she would quickly put those gummy bears right back where she got them. Instead, she began to wail and say she didn’t want birthday cake, she wanted gummy bunnies!!

Tyler stepped in and told her that she was not getting either if she didn’t put the snack back. Her wailing got louder! He started to count; when he got to two, she turned off the waterworks and behaved as if nothing had happened. I had to grin and think how like her I am when it comes to what I want and what God has in mind for me. God had gotten to two with me the week before when I pitched a fit with Him about what I wanted and how unfair it was that I couldn’t have it! I am so thankful He used humor rather than fear to teach the lesson I so needed to hear.

As Lillyann looked at the rare and beautiful treat, she squealed with delight and ate heartily. With her mouth full and face covered, she chatted away about how wonderful it was. We all looked at one another and laughed out loud! No one mentioned that she almost settled for gummy bunnies, but I was thinking of how much I miss or almost miss that God has for me because I stubbornly hold on to my desires. I seek immediate gratification and think I know what’s best for me instead of trusting God who has something wonderful in mind.

I have never tasted a cake as delicious as the one Gina made, and the fact that she wanted to make something special for Tyler had a lot to do with it’s amazing taste. God showed me that His plan for me is much better than mine. He will amaze me even more than mommy amazed Lillyann and all of us with the special birthday treat. If I go with want I want, I’ll miss out completely on what He has in mind. I’ll get gummy bunnies instead of a cake lovingly prepared and topped with ice cream!

God placed Henri Nouwen in the path to finish the lesson before I went to sleep.  “True love between two human beings puts you more in touch with your deepest self. It is a love in God. The pain you experience from the death or absence of the person you love, then, always calls you to a deepest knowledge of God’s love. God’s love is all the love you need, and it reveals to you the love of God in the other. So the God in you can speak to the God in the other. This is deep speaking to deep, a mutuality in the heart of God, who embraces both of you.” (The Only Necessary Thing) Wow! No wonder I slept like a baby. His healing is beyond what I can understand, and His love is more powerful than I will be able to imagine until I am in heaven. Till then, I look forward to drawing nearer to Him and to those I love as I answer His call for a deeper love of His Word and a closer walk through intimate prayer. So thankful for a patient, loving Father.