"...suffering is one of the universal conditions of being alive. We all suffer. We have become terribly vulnerable, not because we suffer, but because we have separated ourselves from each other." -- Rachel Naoimi Remen

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to -- Let Go and Let God

It sounds cliche, but everyone's saying it. 

Not in the, 'I'm just gonna sit back and relax and wait for God to show up' kind of way... But in the relinquishing control of our circumstances to the Author, kind of way.  In an earlier blog, I talked about being an athlete, and in that, I'm used to setting goals, working hard, and accomplishing what I'm after.  Not without Grace, of course; but many things over the years, have seemed to be at least partially within my control.  I know several with a similar struggle, and this applies to not just family planning but many issues with parenting and other tough things we have to conquer.  A friend with an eating disorder has the same goal; letting go of control - or our illusion of control - and focusing on God's will and direction for our life. 

Rick Warren says, "You don't have to always be in charge. Instead of trying harder, you trust more."

But, this is easier said than done. 

Saying, "just don't worry about it" is entirely unhelpful because it simply is not possible. (hint, hint, please never say those words to a friend who's trying to start or expand her family.)

I've been a Francesca Battistelli fan for a while now, and admittedly, it all started with "I'm Letting go."  However, right now, as I Try to Let Go, this song just irks me.  It's so upbeat it makes me want to barf!  While the lyrics are right on, the tempo is all wrong.  This is not a happy place.  This is no fun.  I am not skipping through a meadow here.  She sounds like she's already conquered the mountain; she is not down here with us.  I'm certain that when Francesca wrote this song, she had already Given It Up.  She wasn't actively Giving Up.  Because the act of giving up is a pit of your stomach rock bottom kind of feel.  It's not fun and it is most certainly not easy.  And although you know there is light at the end of the tunnel, you can only see the tiniest sliver when you start off.  So, send me a dark song about Letting Go and I'll get on board. 

Nevertheless, I want to get where she is at.  Letting Go and Letting God takes serious commitment and active participation.  You can't just pray for worry to go away, you have to pray for ways to hand over the wheel, and then listen and go in the direction you hear. 

Here are some examples of how I think I've been successful, Giving it Up: 

1.  Do something for YOU
Yes, you.  Especially when it comes to family planning, much of what we do revolves around someone else or the thought of someone else.  A friend of mine with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome spent countless hours giving herself injections and suppositories.  For me, 'trying' has taken the fun out of running, since my babies haven't been the picture of health thus far, I fear stressing them on a long or hot run and have therefore avoided getting out there.  But running has calmed my anxieties and brightened my perspective since I was 12 years old, and I miss that peace.  So as an act of Giving it Up, I signed up for my next Half-marathon.  It gives me 3 months of fun running, something healthy to focus on, and makes me feel like I'm choosing and controlling what I can.  (And you can't just say you're going to do it; the signing up part forces us to stay committed... I cannot do this on my own.)

2.  Get rid of something material that you've been holding on to
If you've wanted a baby for some time, chances are, you are holding on to something you don't really need right now.  Having a second trimester miscarriage, I'd bought decorations for a nursery that still isn't built.  They're beautiful and I most certainly plan to use them one day, and have no intentions of parting with them.  But, I've also been hoarding diapers.  When my son would grow into the next size, I'd store them (we're thankful for big closets here!) and so they've stayed... for more than two years.  It is (was) a huge collection.  So last week one day, I donated them to my favorite neighborhood Pregnancy Center, Morning Star and now someone who actually needs them can use them.  What are you hoarding?  Give it Up. 

3.  Give Thanks

picture from Hershey Park website
Ann Voskamp inspires me, "The hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty. The hard discipline to give thanks for all things at all times because He is all good."  In 1000 gifts, she encourages us to look for and write down our blessings.  She keeps a journal in her kitchen and constantly scribes the big and small.  In her opinion, it doesn't have to be a Disney vacation to be a beautiful day.  There is wonder in the routine, we just have to have the eyes to see it there.  I know she's absolutely correct that we have much to be thankful for.  In fact, it's great to not be pregnant right now.  It's also wonderful to not have to worry about a baby for many
reasons.  What are those reasons?  Write them down.  Hang them on the bathroom mirror if you have to. 

So, I suggest that in an effort of Giving it Up, relish what you can do because you do not have a baby, or are not pregnant!

Find a friend with a Hot Tub
Plan a date to the Amusement park and ride every ride
Sushi Sushi Sushi
Have two lattes in one day
Buy some skinny jeans (yes, you can)
Plan a trip to the Wineries (still on my list :))

Please don't hesitate to reply with ways you've Given it Up. 
Suggestions are more than welcome! 

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