Are you good at letting go of things? I’ll be honest; I’m not.
A few weeks ago I shared that I have been trying to make a conscious effort to let go of fear and control. But letting go of fear and control are really just two smaller parts of the greater challenge of letting go. I’m not good at letting go of anything really. This is a constant area of growth for me.
Instead of letting go, here’s what I do. I ruminate. I obsess. I glorify things from the past that do not necessarily need to be glorified. I replay conversations. Not only do I replay conversations, but also I rehearse conversations I would like to have where I tell that person exactly what I think. I’ve got several scripts all written and ready to go in my head.
Like I said, this is a part of my personality I really don’t care for because nothing good grows out of it. This struggle to let go only brings forth more angst and anxiety into my life. I would love to be that super peaceful-at-one-with-the-earth-wearing-long-skirts type of person who is all, “Go. Fly away worries, hurts, and resentments. I am releasing you.” But instead, I’m more of the going-to-sit-and-spin-like-a-tornado-on-a-scratched-record type of person who is all, “Why? Why? How could this happen? It’s not fair! What if, what if???”
Last week, I had a five-hour car ride to get in some good ruminating, and as I was moving into hour three it hit me- you’re glorifying Egypt.
Egypt? Let me explain…
One of my favorite Biblical figures/stories is that of Moses and the Israelites. The entire account of Moses and the Israelites starting with Moses being called to go to Egypt and set the Israelites free to the great exodus to the wandering in the wilderness for 40 years really resonates with me. No, I’ve neither been enslaved nor led a nation of people to freedom. And no, I’ve never wandered in the desert for 40 years, but I love the accounts of Moses and the Israelites because I am an Israelite.
I think we like to judge the Israelites. We like use the Israelites wandering in the wilderness as poster children for complaint-filled doubt. We like to wag our finger in disapproval at their repeated lack of faith and frequent grumblings about their circumstances. But come on, if we’re honest, haven’t we all been like the Israelites at some time or another?
Oh sure, I would love to think that after I had seen the ten plagues I would have walked up to the Red Sea and instantly thought God’s got this. I would love to think I would have been in grateful awe of the daily provision of manna and water in the desert. But the truth is I’m sure at some point I would have resented the manna and found it to be bitter. I’m sure I would have complained that the pillar of fire guiding me by night was keeping me up because it was too bright and that the cloud by day was blocking my view of the sun. I am sure I would have joined in dancing around the golden calf because my memory is short and my fears are mighty. And I am absolutely positive I would have joined in the mass moaning about how life was better in Egypt and how at least in Egypt there was meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
Forget freedom. Forget reaching the Promised Land. Forget seeing the impossible become possible. In Egypt, there were cucumbers and onions and fish!
At some point along our journey, aren’t we all guilty of glorifying the Egypt of our past?
I’ve found that sometimes when we have a hard time letting go of the past it is because we are glorifying the past. We remember the cucumbers and forget the slavery, so to speak.
Yes, I know the relationship was bad and it kept my heart broken and anxious, but we had a connection and what if I never find a connection like that again.
Yes, the job was soul crushing and mind numbing, but I had all those vacation days and now pursuing what I really want to do means starting at the bottom of the ladder again.
Somehow in the midst of the pain of change (and change is painful… that’s why so many people choose not to change), we forget how unhappy, unfulfilled, unhealthy we were in our “Egypt”. Instead, we remember some distorted version of the past where our “slavery” wasn’t that bad. We convince ourselves there were some good moments and maybe if we could just go back it would be different this time. Or we think that it will not be that good in the future. Oh the lies we are susceptible to when we are in the midst of change.
Discomfort clouds our vision. It is hard to leave our past behind, especially when we are struggling in the present. Occasionally when we are confused and feel like we are wandering it is because we are truly lost, but sometimes when we feel like we are wandering it is really because we are being prepared for our future. When we revere our Egypt, we don’t see the healing and freedom that is happening all around us. But mind you, there is always a price for freedom and health. And sometimes the cost of health is the pain of letting go of those unhealthy habits, relationships, and parts of yourself that are keeping you enslaved in the past.
Do you have an “Egypt” in your life that you sometimes glorify because the present is challenging? What do you need to remember about your “Egypt” that will help you let go?