Learning to let go... embracing the unknown... these are alternative titles I had for this post. You might think I get my inspiration from the movie Frozen but I swear even though we have seen both Frozen movies MULTIPLE times this is merely a coincidence! Once again I am getting ready to share a bit of my heart with vulnerability hoping that my struggles and inner thoughts of the moment can resonate with at least a few of you.
As you know by now, I’m a book lover. I read whenever I can spare a few minutes. And when I’m not reading I’m thinking about reading so please bare with me as I share yet another quote from the book I just finished reading:
“The more deeply we experience sorrow, the more deeply we can experience joy(or vice versa). We began to visualize the dichotomy as living wholeheartedly but with open hands. The choice to simultaneously live abundantly while releasing control strained all our seams at times, but we were learning that we could not receive anything when our hands were tightly gripped, even on the things that were most precious to us.”
Jay Wolf in Hope Heals
My biggest struggle lately has been over control. Not that I think I’m a huge control freak(well that’s what I hope) but just learning to release control as the little people I brought into this world are slowly growing up and coming to me with daily reminders that they are their own people.
Gone are the days of having all four of them strapped up in their booster seats at the table for an arts and crafts morning. I now have to deal with a wild spirited child who wants to do acrylics on canvas while the two year old is running around naked and the two boys are roughhousing it on our tiny sofa in our tiny house threatening to fly through the window at any given moment. And, I know, as more experienced parents have told me many times, this is nothing compared to what’s still ahead. (Thanks for the... hummmmm... encouragement? I guess??)
Yet this is all new to me. I came to the realization that not a single parent on earth has ever parented before actually parenting. Did you get this right?
I used to work as an early childhood educator for ten years before having my kiddos and I thought that some parents really did know what they were doing. They really looked like they had their s***tuff together. But now that I’m wearing that hat, I can see and mostly feel the awesome task (and privilege) that is entrusted to me as a parent. And as much as this could be enough of a revelation to stop me in my tracks and paralyze me for fear of messing it up, I am choosing to “release control” and trust in Someone else’s!
Releasing control over things we spend our daily lives organizing and caring for can seem like two opposing poles. How can I let go of my control over someone who is depending on me all day long, someone who not only needs me to prepare his/her meals but also needs me to tell him/her when it’s time to eat said meal or sleep or take a bath? And let me tell you the latter is a REAL struggle at our house while the feeding part seems to be a 24/7 kind of thing! I feel like I’m being called to the basics, to remembering that we are all dependants but not only dependant one on the other but dependants of Someone much bigger.
“Funny how we can sense the potential impact that the love of God will awaken within, and it scares us. It can be so painfully hard to receive that love because in the receiving we are confronted with our inability to gain it.”
Jay Wolf, Hope Heals
Since we are a home educating family, I have slowly started planning our upcoming school term and have been researching great literature for the kiddos... and I, of course, cause everyone knows I homeschool for myself and not the kids right?? ;)
Mark Twain is a beloved author, and I admit that I love most of his quotes, but as I was actually browsing through some of his material a few mornings ago I stumbled upon this one:
“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”
I totally get the point of this quote... and would have agreed with it a hundred percent would I have read it a few months ago(and I’m pretty sure that I did) but somehow something about that quote just didn’t sit right with me this time around!
I feel that my trying to be too protective of my time and energy and resources has somehow robbed me of great connections I could have made or at least of life lessons I could have learned(maybe the hard way but still “life lessons”).
For quite some time, I have felt like I was the sole protector of “me”, the one that had to make sure I wasn’t too vulnerable, too invested, too caring, too tired... you get the picture! But in doing so, I was actually doing the opposite. I was exhausting myself trying to protect myself and the ones I loved most.
I am slowly learning to let go. To lean into the sometimes uncomfortable seat of vulnerability, to let myself live life with hands open to receiving rather than holding on tightly to what I’m afraid of losing. It is a learning process, and to be honest somedays my old default mode kicks right in and “control” takes over. But then, at the end of the day, I realize that I have spent that day more as a spectator or even as an orchestrator of events rather than as a character in the play that is my life. And then, I hope and pray that I can do a little better tomorrow!