ONCE upon a time in a place called Freedom Land there lived a person named Ruby who didn’t know how to be free. Each day she ventured through the town with her heavy backpack which had caused a tremendous strain on her exhausted body.
One day Ruby built up the nerve to speak with Joey who seemed to be as joyful and care-free as ever. “Hey Joey, got a second?” Ruby shouted as she approached the intersection where they both were planning to cross the busy street. “Sure Ruby, what’s going on?” replied Joey. Ruby exclaimed: “I noticed that your backpack is always light and you seem so energetic and joyful when walking around the town. My backpack is the complete opposite and I’m always drained before the day even starts. What’s your secret because I’m tired of being tired all the time.”
Joey smiled, “Well Ruby, at the end of each week I just empty out my backpack and say good-bye to the things I no longer need and keep those that I do need. I guess you can say I’ve become good at letting go.” Ruby repeated the words to herself, “letting go” before thanking Joey for his time just as the traffic light turned green.
At the end of the week, Ruby decided to empty her backpack and say good-bye to the things that had been weighing her down over the years. She was surprised at what she had been carrying: fear of rejection from being picked on in grade school, doubt and uncertainty from a lack of affirmation as a child, bitterness as a result of a mother who was too busy to spend time with her when she was a little girl, she even harbored anger towards God whom she blamed for her misfortunes.
That night, Ruby decided that she would not carry the toxic weight any longer and began to forgive those from her past as well as shift her mental paradigm. Soon Ruby was walking with a skip in her step, a song in her heart and joy on her face because she had learned to let go of the dead weight that had been suffocating her for so many years.
In Matthew chapter nineteen Jesus was approached by a young man who wanted to know if he was on the fast track towards eternal life. In response to his question, ‘what do I need to do to earn salvation?’ Jesus finally replied, ‘sell what you own and give to the poor then you can follow Me and have riches in heaven.’ The young man walked away from the offer saddened because it required him to let go of many things he had become attached to. Usually when I read this I think of physical possessions and although this is true in this context, I have realized that we have possessions within our spirits that are sometimes hard to let go of.
In order to follow Jesus we are required to let go of resentment that we may be harboring, pain caused by someone from our past, regret from missed opportunities, fear and doubts, pride and so much more. These ‘possessions’ prevent us from being channels of light and living an abundant life which bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
We are not ready to receive what is new until we are willing to let go of what is old. Second Corinthians chapter five and verse seventeen says “If anyone is in Christ they are a new person, old things pass away and all things are made new.” It is a process to learn to let go of the things (habits, patterns, tendencies, etc.) that are weighing us down (emotionally, spiritually and even physically). It took the Lord an entire week to organize the earth and create animals and humans when He could’ve done it in one breath. This should encourage us that ongoing transformation is not completed in a moment. Though learning to let go is not always easy, it is often times necessary because in order to receive something new we have to let go of what is old.
Father in heaven, please help us to let go of anything that is hindering us from following You more intimately. In Jesus’ name. Amen.