i ran across this american proverb a while back & then a dear friend gave it to me on a magnet for christmas: “let go or be dragged.”
it is so appropriate in more ways than one, and now i see it first thing every morning when i get creamer for my coffee.
i need the reminder.
as a parent, as a leader, as a friend, as someone healing from woundedness, one of the greatest gifts we can learn is the art of “letting go”. letting go doesn’t mean giving up. it doesn’t mean not caring. it doesn’t mean not being engaged or connected. but it does mean taking our grip off of things so tightly.
it means learning how to be less codependent.
it means trusting God is at work in ways we can’t see.
it means respecting our limitations.
it means practicing becoming better human beings.
it means being very aware of how much power we give to things in the past or the present that we have absolutely no control of.
when i think of church woundedness, “let go or be dragged” comes to mind. when i was hanging on so tightly to the past, i was the one suffering. i was the one pissed off. i was the one in misery. the people & systems who hurt me were perfectly fine. they had moved on but i couldn’t seem to. i was being dragged around by them even though they weren’t even doing the dragging!
when i think of parenting teens, it is also oh-so-appropriate. i personally think parenting is one of the trickiest spiritual & personal formation opportunities in our lives. it is butt-kicking sometimes, just how easy it is to get hooked in to unhealthy, nutty dynamics as a parent. there are times when i am trying so hard not to get sucked in and next thing i know, boom, i’m being dragged all kinds of places i never intended to go.
when i think of leadership, in whatever shape or form some of us might find ourselves in, this thought is a helpful guide. the struggle with people-pleasing is real for many of us, even if we don’t want to admit it. we care when people criticize. we take things more personally than we should. we can’t stand it when people disapprove or disagree. one of the biggest learnings of 2011 for me was practicing the art of letting go as a leader. of realizing that there are so many things beyond my control and i have to trust God & people & the bigger story instead of operating out of a place of desperation or fear.
when i think of journeying with people in the midst of hard stuff, this is also critical. learning what’s our responsibility and what’s another person’s is really difficult when a lot of pain & struggle is involved. gaining greater understanding of our responsibilities & also limitations is a skill that requires God’s tangible help and active-spirit-at-work-showing-us-the-way.
so this year i am going to keep practicing what it means to let go. to take my white-knuckled-grip off-of-all-kinds-of-things-that-i-can’t-really-control-anyway-even-though-i-think-i-can. to stay engaged & present & “in” without getting yanked and dragged into all kinds of places i don’t need to go.
what about you? what do you need to let go of this year?