Let Go: Fear, Freedom and Fullness
“Love: an expression of the freedom to receive. Love: that which permits us to be enriched and to be ‘given to,’ made alive, to be breathed into… a state of openness and joy.”
Rowan Williams, Being Disciples.
At the start of the new year, I am back in my familiar writing place and, as always, I am inspired by the trees outside the window. They have shed their leaves, and in this season, they are resting, drawing nourishment from deep under the ground, preparing for new growth. They are teaching me what it means to let go.
Letting go is an act of vulnerability and trust. It is a reminder that I cannot provide for myself the things I need to grow and flourish. It is the opposite of grabbing and grasping for what I want or think I need. Letting go is living with open palms instead of clenched fists. It chooses gracious release over anxious tension.
Letting go requires the disciplines of silence and solitude. I have to choose regular rhythms of coming away from the busyness and the noise. It’s easier for me to fill up my moments with distractions: Netflix, Instagram, audio books, work. In the silence, I am forced to face things I usually choose to ignore. Difficult emotions. Hurts I haven’t dealt with. My own selfishness and shortcomings. When I take time to stop and listen, I can see what’s really in my hands, the things I need to let go of.
It is painful work. Who I am if I don’t hold onto these things? What happens if I let go and I’m left with nothing? What will the void left behind feel like? What if I’m left abandoned and alone?
But letting go is following the way of Jesus, who ‘did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself…’ (Philippians 2:6-7). Jesus graciously let go of everything he was entitled to and humbled himself to become a servant. The way of emptiness led him to the cross and the letting go of life itself.
However, the story does not end there. After obedience comes the gift. After death comes resurrection. After emptiness comes life in all its fullness.
When I let go, I make room for Jesus. When my hands are empty, they are free to receive the gifts that Jesus has for me here and now. When I forgive, I am free to receive grace in exchange for my bitterness and healing for my pain. When I let go of my own agenda, I am free to see what Jesus is doing.
When I leave space, I find that I am not alone. Jesus is right there with me. The one who knows, sees and understands me, welcomes me, filling my emptiness, breathing life into me.
This year, I want the rhythm of my breath to remind me of the gifts that come from letting go.. Each exhale an act of emptying, each inhale an image of the fullness to come.