I face it every morning. As a mother, I let go of my children as they walk away from me down the hill to meet the school bus, leaving the sphere of my influence and protection. As a wife, I let go of my husband as he speeds down the street on his scooter on the way to work, separating from our combined life. As a child of God . . . I let go of hurts and disappointments that are the result of expectations and understandings that aren't helpful, that haven't been "of God." Or at least I should . . . let those go. At least as a mother and a wife, I can expect the return of my children at a certain time in the afternoon and my husband in the early evening. That sort of letting go is different.
Letting go of my past without losing it. That's tricky. We all have a past we have survived and, hopefully, learned from. So, in reality, we don't want to lose what we've gained by surviving it. But how can we let go of those diffcult, unsavory emotions that have hung around, long past their expiration date?
I was journaling and working my way through this issue this morning. I was literally flipping through the Bible looking for some inspiration, some guidance and was drawn, once again, to 2 Corinthians -- seems to be my book lately. In 2 Cor. 4:16-18, I found what I needed to hear.
"So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal."When I read this, I saw an image of my soul, my emotions, my identity being layers . . . that false self, the identity I've built up over the years to protect myself from hurt and disappointment -- that "outer nature" is indeed wasting away and is slowly being replaced by the building up of my "inner nature" and its renewal, day by day. So, I guess, by allowing God, every day, to help me loosen my grip on these ancient emotions, eventually, I'll be able to totally let them go. They aren't helpful now; to the inner, true self that is emerging, so why keep them around.
What I have done is recognize why I felt these emotions in my past. What the circumstances were, how mature I was (or wasn't) at the time, how much of those circumstances was simply beyond my control. I can forgive myself for feeling these emotions then . . . and now. I know God has. What I am working with God on right now is forgiving myself for acting on those emotions for so many years.
The grace of God follows me through this process, is already present at each juncture I meet, and precedes me along my path!