I was out taking a walk around the neighborhood yesterday, in one of those rare sunny and fairly “warmish” days. I had my iPhone/iPod tunes coming through my ear buds and I was humming a happy little tune.
I turned a corner and walked toward a nearby park when all of a sudden the thought struck me: What if I lost all this great music on my iPhone? What if my computer had a melt-down and my WHOLE music library was GONE! In an instant!
Well, while this and other great thoughts invaded my mind along my walk – I had to ask myself, “would it really be a big deal? – I mean, come on – it’s just music, right?”
I had to admit that it would not be a huge deal. An inconvenience for sure – but not the end of the world (as in what’s supposed to happen this Saturday – but that’s ANOTHER story). No – my life and my world would continue on – I would just turn on my Pandora Radio and slowly rebuild my music library again – or just listen to CD’s and the radio in the car until I gathered my music once again over time.
Now while this is a silly example – I thought about the “things” I hold on to. Those things that I feel ownership over. The things that are mine. My personal belongings, my pictures, my books, my computer, my piano, my blog articles and so on and so forth. What if something happened to them? Would I be Okay? Would I survive? If EVERYTHING was taken away from me tomorrow – would I really be able to make it? Is my identity defined by all those things? Would I really be lost without them?
No. I would be Okay. I choose to keep a loose grasp on my material blessings. I can move, sell, sort and get rid of extra junk when I need to – and have in the past done several BIG MOVES across the country and back – to know that I am not defined by things. I’ve witnessed several households of furniture come and go in 30 years of marriage and have not been devastated when the time came to unload it – or lighten our load.
I believe there is a principle in this for not only the material “things” – but I believe we should be willing to let go of our firm grip when it comes to the people in our lives – even if we don’t want to. I was determined when raising our two children, that I was NOT going to be one of those mom’s who couldn’t bear to let my kids grow up, change and become independent from me. It is perfectly normal for them to need me less and less as they mature – and to someday be fully developed and have their own life – apart from me.
Our children are only on loan to us. I don’t believe there are any accidents. God knows what He is doing – and He gave me my children to love and raise. I do not OWN them. And when I have invested into them everything I can – (not always in the most perfect way – but with the best intentions), I can release them, knowing that they are individuals who must answer to God for themselves – they are no longer my responsibility.
Many parents become unhappy when their grown-up children do not need them anymore – when it is very normal and natural that they should NOT need us anymore when they are mature. Some are bewildered because they feel they lose their control over their children and even try forms of manipulation and even guilt to keep them young – while imposing their need and dreams of the “good old days”. While this is natural because of the time investment spent in them – it should not be used as a method of control towards our children. They are given to us – they really belong to God. It is important to raise our children “in the way they should go” and then let them go – loosen the grip – release them in love. Even if we don’t always agree. Pray for them – and then trust God.
And though I am far from perfect as a mom – I have always tried to let my own grown-up children lead their own lives. I feel like Greg and I did everything we could do while they were living in our home – and we tried to set a godly example for them while growing up – through good and bad, happy and sad times.
The secret is to have a “loose grip” on the things and people that we don’t feel we can let go. Have a firm grip on God – and teach your children to do the same. He will make His plans known to them – and He is ultimately responsible for their journey – when they allow Him to guide their steps. This is so freeing to me as a parent and I know it will be to you too. This will lead to a happy life – full of deep joy with no regret.
How’s your grip? Do you feel it tightening around things you can’t bear to lose? Can you just relax and trust? How do you apply a “loose grip” to your own situations?