But those negative areas aren’t the only things we sometimes need to release. That is why I chose the photo of releasing a butterfly because sometimes what we need to let go of are things very dear to us: dreams, expectations, and people to name a few.
This is not to say we shouldn’t have dreams, or expectations, or people in our lives, but sometimes we hang on to them to our own detriment. We dream of a certain life, but ours isn’t turning out that way, yet we still crave for and desire that life. We have certain expectations of ourselves and others, but we all keep falling short of those expectations, which in turn frustrates and discourages us. We have people we care for dearly, but for one reason or another they have moved out, or want to move out, or perhaps should move out of our lives, and yet we hang on with a choke hold so strong it almost strangles both of us.
We hang on because we don’t believe there could be something better out there. Ultimately, it means we don’t believe Jesus when He says in John 10:10 that “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” In our limited thinking we believe that we have to have this goal, or this dream, or this result, or this person in order to have a happy and fulfilled life.
It reminds me of the story about how to catch a monkey. African natives would hollow out one end of a gourd, put some food in the gourd, and then attach the gourd to a string. The monkey would slip its hand into the gourd, grab the food, and then try to extract both its hand and the food, but the opening was too small. The native would then simply pull on the string, sliding the gourd and the monkey right to him. The monkey could easily be free if it just let go of the food and pulled out its hand, but no. It wants that food so much, that it is willing to sacrifice its freedom for it. In the end, the monkey is captured and doesn’t even get the food.
How true this is for us as well because of our inability to let go of both the negative feelings as well as those things we believe we cannot live without. Often we hang on so tightly and for so long that we lose both the liberty Christ promises us and, more often than not, that very thing or person we didn't want to lose in the first place. But there is an answer. Next week I will look at the other half of the equation.