Most instances of disappointment, stress or heart ache can be alleviated if we just let go.
Perhaps statues and shrines aren’t as popular in our American culture but the generation of millennials have several idols. Whether its perfection, (my instagram photos reflect my top best seconds in the right angles), finding identity in the people we associate ourselves with, or the titles we wear, anything we love more than God is an idol. There is nothing wrong with having amazing photos, friends, and career, but if we find our sole identity in these things we walk around empty until our next fix.
Jesus met a rich young man who was interested in what it takes to enter the kingdom. Jesus replied “Obey the commandments; do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,” and “love your neighbor as yourself”. The rich young man says “I’ve done all of these things! What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
What does all this mean?! I don’t believe it means we have to sell everything. Jesus was challenging this man on where he found his identity. The bible refers to this man as the “rich young man or rich young ruler”. For this particular man, it meant lying down the very thing that made him – him.
The story ends like this: When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
He couldn’t let go.
In an alternate ending, I wonder what kind of life this rich young man would have had if he decided to let go. Would he be full of healthy relationships, contentment and purpose? Would he find letting go worth it?
Life is constantly moving, and being open to how the journey unfolds is the most exciting part of this adventure.
It takes courage to let go, and sometimes holding on becomes more detrimental than we think.
Holding on to toxic relationships, getting upset because a friend or spouse don’t meet our needs (which is not their job in the first place), hoarding too many unused possessions, or obsessively trying to cultivate an image to be accepted is down right exhausting.
Trying to hold on to the past or how things ‘were’ can create an unhealthy mindset. It reflects not being present, and can block us from being grateful for what is going on now.
The Minimalists have a great podcast about walking away from things / letting go. Bottom line: we shouldn’t have an unhealthy attachment to people or possessions.
How exciting a time can be when we let go of our expectations, and control, and just enjoy what is happening in front of us!
How unburdened would we be if we just committed to 1 or 2 things that aligned with our values, and not because we want to please people? Giving us margin to be excellent at the few things we commit to.
What kind of moods would we be in if we woke up to a clear, uncluttered space, and only possessed in our homes what we found beautiful and useful?
Maybe try to let go of a couple things. A sweater you hardly use, donate it to a local charity. Furniture or items you don’t use. You don’t need four shelves of mugs, do you? And while you’re at it, throw in old hurts, expectations, and comparing yourself to others too.
The other side of letting go is freedom.