Why is Letting Go So Hard?

Well this is a weekend we’ve been looking forward to for many, many, many years at the Foster household, but one we’ve also dreaded with equal anticipation. It’s the weekend we are moving our youngest daughter, Paige, off to college.

You’d think that after doing this two times previously it would be easier, but it’s not. Life is funny that way. It’s a series of taking-hold-of’s, and then letting go. Your children are born and the moment they’re born, you pray for a good life, that they’ll do well in school and grow up to be good, loving, responsible adults. But all along the way you never anticipated the transitions that would be a part of their growing up process.

As I have discovered so painfully in the past, life is a series of transitions. Things never stay the same. They always change. Although none of us can do much about the past, we can be present and savor the sacredness of the moment. So while I’m here moving Paige into college, getting her room decorated, buying books and parking passes, helping make sure she knows where to go, we’ll be leaving before long and she’ll be here alone.

For me the only way I am able to face the big and small, the subtle and epic changes in my life is in leaning on Jesus Christ, when the Bible tells me to trust the Lord with all my heart, lean not on my own understanding, and in all ways acknowledge the sufficiency of Christ, He will make my path straight. I’ve been quoting Psalm 23 a lot lately, “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” I read the story about a young girl in Sunday school who was quoting that verse and said, “The Lord is my shepherd and that’s all I want.” They said she was wrong. I say she was right.

It’s during these times of bittersweet transitions where you raise your children to let them go to be on their own, to grow, to mature, to take on the responsibility to learn, and to move into the amazing future that God has before them, that your own maturity and resolve is tested. One of the signs of maturity, I think, is to be willing to graciously let go of that which has passed and then reach out with as much vigor, vitality, and vision toward the future that God is creating and bringing into focus.

What transitions are you facing? What losses have you been counting up? And what choices will you make in light of what you have lost, but also in light of the possibility of what you might gain? Forget what is behind. Strain toward the goal of the high calling of Jesus Christ. Let nothing deter you or slow you down. Let no bitterness, malice, unforgiveness, or cynical spirit rise up to choke out the new life, the new vision, the new hope that Christ is bringing into focus in your life that is right there.

While living is a good thing, I’m not sure it ever becomes an easy thing. Maybe it’s the very reason that it’s hard that drives us into the arms of Christ. And if it were easy, surely we would lean on our own understanding and make an ultimate train wreck of our life, and at the very minimum lose the joy and the thrill of starting over again.

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