There I was, standing in the closet looking for something to wear. Oh I am such a creature of habit by grabbing the clothes that are hanging right in front therefore causing me to wear the same old thing time and time again. “Not today.” I determined. I moved further to the back of the closet and started rummaging through items that not seen the outside world in a while. As I sorted through long forgotten (as in out of sight out of mind) garments my hands fell on a piece of fabric that almost made me laugh and cry at the same time. Wrapping my fingers around the hanger and I pulled out a dress that I have kept for too many years. The blue suit I now held before me was the dress I wore away from my wedding reception. The corners of my mouth lifted upward and my eyes brightened as I remembered the day this dress was first worn. As the memories slowly passed through my thoughts I shook my head and questioned…”why had I kept this thing hanging around for so many years?” My husband and I just last month celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I had worn the dress several times those next few years but now it just hangs there. Yes for 25 years, hanging in my closet. Can you say antique?
Oh, I have cleaned out my closet many times over the years but time and time again I would hang this dress back into the recesses of the dark abyss. Each time making excuses why to not discard it. Can you just imagine my reasoning?
“I will wear this again. One day I’ll be back to that size.”
“I will regret if I get rid of it, of course it will come back in style.”
“I’ve had it this long, would it be bad luck to discard it now?”
Crazy thoughts I know but hey you never know when you will need that exact style. Maybe for 80’s dress up day? LOL
Why can’t I let go of it? I have found that it’s not just sentimental dresses or other material things that are hard to let go but some action and emotions as well. Why are there things we simply just hang on and on to? Whether it is something that is weighing us down keeping us from moving quickly to where God wants us or an emotion caused by a hurt inflicted on us. Why do we find it hard to release that which is either old, no longer of use or that which is being a hindrance to our lives? Letting it wrap us in tightly in strips of bondage keeping us from freedom.
Unfortunately we (I) often keep those feelings around just like that old dress of mine. Finding reasons to hang on and not let go. Often justifying why need to keep those things, thoughts and feelings around. Maybe it is better called just like it is…being stubborn or holding a grudge. We’ve gotten a little comfortable having it around.
We may rationalize in our thoughts…
“It doesn’t hurt having that in my life because it has always been “by my side”. I might not have the same life if I remove it.”
“I am going to keep this in my little thought book and remind them of how they hurt me.”
“If I let that go surely I will need it again.”
“It is too soon to let this go. They’ll have to apologize first.”
“I might need that to recall if this ever comes up again.”
“I don’t think I can live without it.”
We can even get to the place when we know we must let go but have no idea how.
I have learned over my years that some things have come into my life or happened that have been easy to let go. I was quickly able to let the waters wash it away never to be seen again. That is such a great feeling and comfort!
However there have also been times where the hurt is so deep, the betrayal so harsh, the pain so severe or the safety of it being there has caused letting go very difficult.
So how do we learn to let go? How do we let the waters wash un-needed things away so we can live with a peaceful and even forgiving heart?
Sadly I, and maybe you, have been at this juncture very recently. I know God wants me to let it go into His strong and ready hands. He wants to wash it away from my battered soul or relieve me from the weight that is dragging me down. But I am often the one hesitating in letting this happen.
I get angry as to why that person who hurt me doesn’t have to admit their wrong. Or confused how they can walk around me with smiles on their face like they didn’t filet me open and leave me gaping with wounds?
Standing confused as to how and why God calls me even requires me, to let it go into His hands.
God is teaching me that it is only when I take my hands that are cupped, holding this hurt or object then place them over His open hands letting it flow out of my hands into His can I truly let it go.
The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” And in Psalm 55:22, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”
Cast means to roll it over, to place all that weight on something else. Isn’t that just like Jesus, wanting the weight of that hurt or object to be placed on Him instead of us?
As we release that which is in our hands into His He will keep us from falling, falling from the weigh that we are trying to bear on our own. But, there is one thing we must remember. Nowhere after these verses does it say, “To let Him have them just for the moment or just for the day.” It never tells us to hang them back in the closet for future use because we might need them again.
I don’t know about you but this is probably the hardest thing for me. To let it go. To let that which is entangling me and hurting me fall into His hands and let Him wash it away. I am learning to ask God, “What does that look like to let it go? Please teach me how. Help me to let you wash it away.”
Some days are easier than others. Some days I have to repent from wanting to take it back but I believe that since I am asking God to show me how to do this He will be faithful in teaching me! For a life unhindered by burdens and hurts is something He wants for all of us.
Oh Father, teach me to let it go!