The world is full of mixed messages. Like when I ask my wife, Stephanie, where she wants to go for lunch on my day off. Most times she will say, “Wherever you want.” So my response is “Ok, how about In and Out” (a local burger joint).
She may say the word “fine,” but I have learned over the years that when a wife says “fine,” it does not always mean “fine” as the word “fine” is actually defined. I learned this the hard way, several times in fact. The world is full of mixed messages and the message I want to share with you now may sound like a mixed message, but it is actually the second part of what I call “The Principle of Balance.”
Here it is, the principle of hanging on and letting go.
I define balance as equal amounts of weight or tension at opposing ends. If one side is not equal to the other, you cannot maintain balance.
Let’s briefly examine the balance of hanging on and letting go.
I was in my garage the other day and noticed all kinds of little toys, school papers, etc. that belong to my sons. Steph and I held on to those because of the memories attached to them. However, you cannot possibly keep every toy, school project, article, award or t-shirt that is connected to a memory. And if you do, you end up on the reality show “Hoarders.” But it is great to hold on to some of those items that are connected to fun memories.
Sometimes we hang on to negative things as well like bad decisions, mistakes, past feelings, etc. We all have them, but we do not all deal with them the same.
Life is a series of decisions. Some work to our advantage and some to our detriment. Either way, you live and learn. But that is why it is important to hang on to those lessons and feelings just long enough to learn from them. It is a part of the growth experience.
Even Jesus, though He was God, set aside the independent use of His divine attributes and the independent exercise of His will. He became man and He learned through experience.
So even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. Hebrews 5:8 (NLT)
I have friends who hold on to nothing. They do not store things. Once the object has been used, they get rid of it. You know who you are…you are the “tossers.” The first step you take in organizing anything is to throw stuff away. Now, this makes for a clean garage and uncluttered house. But what happens when we take this approach mentally and emotionally?
If we avoid our hurts, past and pain by “tossing it out” too soon, we might not benefit from the life lesson connected to it. It is important to “hold on” just long enough to learn the life lesson connected to that pain or pleasure.
The other side of this scale is “letting go.” There comes a point where it is no longer healthy to hold on to a memory, past decision, painful experience and we must let go.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead… Philippians 3:13 (NLT)
Think about the rear view mirror in your car. That mirror is helpful when you glance in it, not stare in it. When you glance in it, you have a great perspective of where you have been, the traffic around you and what is going on behind you. When you stare in it, you create a hazard for yourself and everyone around you.
The past becomes your enemy when you stare in it and hold on too long to those events, memories or actions that you wish were not a part of your life. The enemy loves to use this trick, using guilt when we try to move on from our past.
You cannot and should not pretend the events of your past are not real, but you will crash and burn if you hold on too long to the past. You must know when to let go. That is the balance…holding on long enough to learn, but letting go quick enough to move on.
I appreciate your commitment to Children’s Ministry. My prayer is that you and I would strive to maintain “balance” in our lives so we will continue to make an eternal difference.
Hang on and let go. It sounds like a mixed message, but it is a part of a balanced life and ministry.