Brave Enough to Let Go

This blog was originally published on The Road to Brave.

I hate change. 

There. 

I said it. 

I don’t always hate what comes after change. But the process of change is something I used to wrestle with, currently wrestle with, and in all likelihood, will continue to wrestle with till the cows come home. My mom jokes that I’ve hated change from the very beginning of my life, when the doctors induced her labor after I hung out an extra 2 weeks past her due date and then they still had to physically drag me into this world. (Sorry, Mom.) 

Sometimes it’s the comfort thing. I love those little snippets of time when life feels normal, as few and far between as they may be. Patterns are easy and our brains love them. That’s not a bad thing, of course. It’s how our brains are designed. It’s just when our patterns get to be more important to us than our willingness to follow our Shepherd into something new and unfamiliar. The leaving-familiar-and-going-and-experiencing-something-totally-new is just downright uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s even scary. 

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Sometimes it’s the control thing. No human being likes to feel like they’re out of control of their lives and environments, and change has a way of just taking everything, shaking it up like a snowglobe, and making us realize that we really didn’t have control all along. 

Then other times, it’s just that I so, so deeply love what is currently reality that I don’t want to let it go. As of the writing of this post, that’s actually a current and timely reality for me. This year, not one 

but two 

of my sisters have been married

and after 29 years of singleness, so was I. (Sorry, Dad.)

Which meant leaving dear friends and the rural home I’d lived the last four years and moving to a bustling new city with my new husband while he attended law school. 

On the other side of the country, two months after my wedding and after almost twenty years in the home I did most of my growing-up and coming-of-age in, my family moved several hours away to a new job, a new home, and a new season of life. 

Two months after my wedding, my cherished grandparents faced the difficult change of leaving their home, and my home-away-from-home, to move into assisted living within a week of my family’s move.

And in the span of six months, almost every single thing about my life looked drastically different.

It wasn’t the hardest thing my family’s gone through — not by a long shot. And, as I kept reminding myself, these were life-changing events but not life-shattering ones. I hadn’t lost someone. No one was sick. This time, death or illness hadn’t altered our reality forever. 

The thing was, most of these changes were actually beautiful. After a long wait I had assumed God had singleness as His plan for my life, and to suddenly be married — and have two sisters married nearly simultaneously — made for a crazy season but was so, so beautiful. 

But, as I type, looking out my new window on a strange and unfamiliar and very busy street, I also come face-to-face with the realization that sometimes, taking hold of something new and good and beautiful means letting go of something else that may also have been good and beautiful. 

And that’s hard and sometimes really sad. 

And it’s okay that it’s hard and sometimes really sad. 

To let something go is to acknowledge that we aren’t God. It’s to acknowledge that letting go of something doesn’t make it less valuable to us. It’s to acknowledge that even though we may deeply cherish whatever it was we’re being called to now release, we love God — and can rest in His love — even more. Our loving Father is going to carry us through into this new season. Into a different dream. Into a new place. 

It’s okay to rejoice in times of change. To take joy in the incredible beauty of new gifts, to notice all the sweet details surrounding us, to delight in the wonder of a hundred fresh experiences with the exuberance of a child. 

And it’s also okay to grieve change. Over this last season of letting go, there have been many times I’ve felt that familiar, almost-physical ache in my heart and whispered, Lord, this hurts. I don’t like this. Every time, He has never ceased to give grace and strength for each present moment. I wonder sometimes if it means a great deal to Him when we bring Him our sorrows and tell Him how we feel, rather than just trying to muscle through and pretend we’re too strong to be hurt. To not hide from pain, or change, but bring it to Him instead. 

And it’s okay for change to be weirdly good and hard both. It has taken me a long time and a lot of grace to realize that humans can feel many different things at once, and that’s okay. It is okay to be excited and challenged and afraid and anticipatory and sad, all tangled together like the yarn in my knitting box after I moved. 

And it’s okay to spend some time untangling all those different yarns. To think. Pray. Play music. Journal. Walk. Run. Write. Talk. Being healthy is a brave thing, and to deal with change in a healthy way means, well, we have to choose health. Not to shove things away, or shove things down, but to be okay with kindly and graciously walking through them and finding the health and healing on the other side. 

When we do that, we can walk alongside others with grace in their seasons of change, too. 

As I type these words, it is fall and the world is all aflame in color right now. Autumn wind is dancing like a fairy through the trees outside, sending whirlwinds of leaves flying away. It’s one of my very favorite times of the year, and even now I feel a little of that old ache again, remembering how dearly my grandmother also loves fall and how cheery and decorated her home would be with autumn decor every year. It’s hard to let go of that. 

But I choose to put my hands in those of my Shepherd and keep walking. To find new threads of beauty woven into this season. To rejoice over the gifts and deep, deep blessings this season has brought. To find ways to express the sorrows. And to look forward with hope, knowing that in this place, in this time, our God can do far more abundantly than all we can ask or think. 

This week, may we be brave enough to let go.

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