Confession…for most of my life I have been a captive to things, people’s opinion, money, titles, and control. That is not an exhaustive list for me but I am sure you get the idea. Over the last five years I have noticed the Lord calling me to a simpler way of living. There has been lots of kicking, screaming, and adolescent defiance. But when Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I found myself intrigued and drawn to a different way of being.
In many ways the last year especially has felt like a purging of all the things that kept me captive. I let go of my home, two thirds of my possessions, old beliefs, behaviors, and titles that seemed to matter. Even as a counselor I did not really understand what it meant to let go. We talk about it as the last stage of grief but what was I grieving? I realize now I was grieving an old way of being but the time had come to move on. Letting go was not about forgetting but more about what I was giving my life’s energy and attention to. I started praying, “In Him I would live and move and have my being.” (Acts 17:28) In the wake of doing this I have been enthralled by Jesus’ response.
Upon letting go of many things I did not miraculously get blessed with a million dollars, free stuff, and instant fame. In fact from a worldly perspective this is the poorest I have been since college. I can also tell you by unloading all that “stuff” I was able to create space for some pretty amazing things. My Jesus has blessed me with an overwhelming sense of His love and presence. I have found rest, an easier way to live, and freedom. While there are other things I am learning to surrender each thing I release allows a little more space for God’s Kingdom to reign in me.
I am learning to let what He gives me be a gift I can freely pour into others. It is as if the light in my world had been on a dimmer switch and now the light has been turned completely on. All of this just by letting go of what never belonged to me in the first place. By fixing my eyes on Jesus I am fully able to run the race He has set for me (Hebrews 12:1,2 par.)
We all hold onto things that we think we need or want. Sometimes those things make us a captive to this world. In fact it is the things of this world that lead us to feeling tired and weak. But God says this in Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” What is the “thing” that makes you a captive or causes you to grow weary? Is it a possession, is it money, is it a desired perception, is it an addiction, or is it a person? Where would God call you to let go? What hinders you from being captivated by Jesus? Do you dream of soaring on the wings of eagles? It is my prayer that we would all be discerning of what we need to let go of. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. “ Hebrews 12:1