One of the things God has been teaching me this year is to let go.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably holding onto a lot of things in your life: old relationships, clothes from your childhood, pictures of who you used to be, and that one study guide from high school that you’re convinced will save you some time in the future. I don’t think that’s what God is about. I don’t think that’s what life should be about, either.
Although I hold on to many things, the biggest thing I’ve learned to let go of this year is stuff. Material stuff. The stuff that sits in your closet and on your floor and throughout your entire house. Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate material things for what they are. I love watching the DVDs I own, and I’m a sucker for a pretty book. I’ve always been the kind of person who keeps and admires things. (“Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat…”) It wasn’t until recently that I looked at my life and saw how these things were hurting me and my relationship with God.
Earthly things are meant to make us forget about heaven. They are there to distract us and make us believe that our world is better than God’s. God may have made this world, but it is nothing compared to His true kingdom. I always have a hard time remembering that. What baffles me is that although these things that I hold dear are some of the best parts of living, God’s kingdom is better. I obviously do not know what is in heaven or what comes after death, but we are told that it is paradise. If I’m already in love with my life on earth, just imagine how much I’ll love my life with God.
Let’s get back to the letting go, though.
Recently my best solution to letting go of these material things is not to get rid of them completely, but to let go of them slowly. So far this year I’ve gotten rid of two huge boxes of books and a big garbage bag full of clothes, and I’ve never felt better. I’m actually working on compressing my life so I can move into a smaller room in my parents’ house for one more year before I plan to move out. I’m letting go of as much as I can to make my life easier both physically and spiritually. But I’ve realized that while I’m physically getting rid of a lot of stuff, I haven’t gotten rid of some of my emotional and spiritual “stuff.”
We spend so much time cleaning our houses and our rooms that I think we forget to clean the places we can’t see: our hearts and our minds. So this is me advising you to do a mental spring cleaning.
Get rid of those painful memories, those hurtful words, those thoughts that bring you to your knees. Get rid of your ex-best-friend whose face still comes to mind when you hear that song. Get rid of your old boyfriend and your other old boyfriend and that almost-boyfriend who still broke your heart. But don’t get rid of them by forgetting about them. Get rid of them by giving them to God and forgiving them. As the popular saying goes, “Let go and let God.” Your cleaning won’t work if you don’t give these broken thoughts and relationships to Him. He’s the one who will make everything better. He’s the one who will clear your head and give you the space you need.
Letting go isn’t easy. I still have way too many books. I still hold on to far too many bad thoughts. But I see myself for what I am, and I know what I need to be doing. The more you let go on earth, the more you let God in Heaven.
- Jenna // @jennaclarek