Day 25 – Thursday, Dec. 29: Learning to let go

A little over a year ago, I wrote something in my reflection journal that I appreciated reading this morning. I was responding to several things: a verse from Philippians (4:11), where Paul writes that he has learned to be content with whatever he has; a reflection with this verse from a Daily Guideposts devotional (not sure which year, probably 2010); and the events that were going on in my life at the time – upcoming surgery, final semester in seminary and so on. In some ways I am in a very different place in my journey; in other ways, I am very much in the same place. Here’s the gist of what I wrote:

The (devotional) author talked about a mythical place called “When,” as in when I get done with xyz, I’ll do this. I know this place well – I think I lived there most of my life. But when I read this devotion, I realized I have already moved out of “When,” at least for the most part.

I can hear lingering thoughts in my mind even now; wistful images of happiness when this happens or time to do that when that happens. The difference is that now I know better. I finally get that things in me, especially behavior patterns, do not change just because outer circumstances change. Moving into a nicer room will not magically cause my files to suddenly become organized. Nor will buying new organizers relieve the problem either. (I’ve tried that many, many times.)

It’s taken me a long time to get this far and I still have a ways to go. Most of my progress has been through letting go of the fruitless seeking of quick fixes. And that has been a slow lesson to get.

I still dream of a larger room, a nicer apartment with lots of light and camaraderie, a loving partner to share my life, and so on. But I know it takes time for all of this to happen – especially for me to become ready to receive these dreams. In the time between now and whatever blessings may await me, I am learning more and more to appreciate all that I have now.

 The funny thing is, I did get a couple of those things. I moved into an apartment with a friend. The place had lots of light and my room seemed much larger, although it probably wasn’t that different in size. But my fears kept me from moving forward and I didn’t know how to break the patterns of my behavior that were holding me back.

I’m still working on this, which is why I am here, writing this now. I read something else that I wrote in another journal entry last year that I keep thinking about:

Every step toward trust is a step away from fear.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the last few days after coming across it. Sometimes I think my fears are this giant challenge I have to overcome all at once, with or without God’s help. I forget that sometimes it really only does take those small steps, one by one, little by little putting distance between me and the fear that used to hold me back.

Today I took another step, trusting that whichever way things went, God would show me the way to what I need. I’m still learning how to make this more of a consistent way to respond to my fears and know that this, too, takes time and practice.

How do you let go or move past the fears and challenges in your life?

Today’s action step(s):

  • Getting my thyroid prescription filled – affordably and gracefully easily! (I was anxious that the prescription was “past due,” but that wasn’t an issue whatsoever.)
  • Taking some things to storage.
  • Parking a little farther away from where I need to go just to get a bit more walking in.
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