Letting Go


When my son Ethan was little he loved to eat. (He still does.) But just one of whatever he wanted—let’s say Oreos—was never enough. So, he’d grab a chocolate and creamy wonder in each of his little palms and hold on tightly. He would not give them up!

Then, when I poured a sippy cup full of milk for him, his mind was blown with a hard decision. He wanted the milk bad, but he DID NOT want to set down his cookies to take a drink. He needed both of his hands to properly operate that sippy cup. But what about those precious Oreos?

“Ethan,” I’d say. “Just put them here for a minute and take a drink.” The soft curls on his head shook from the force of his repeated and adamant “no.”

“Well, Ethan, you have to let go of one thing to get the other.”

Wow. Isn’t that the truth of it all? At the time, I didn’t realize the wisdom of the argument. We have to let go of some things to get other things.

Sometimes that’s hard. Real hard.

Friends move . . . little ones go off to school . . . jobs change . . . children graduate . . . loved ones are gone too quickly . . . it seems we are always letting go. I must admit: I hate change. Just like Ethan, I don’t want to let go!

Then I remember Ethan’s solution.

He stared at that sippy cup for a minute with brows furrowed. Looked at his two fistfuls of cookies. And without another thought, he shoved both cookies in his mouth and grabbed the cup. Problem solved!

The little booger trotted off to his room, cheeks bulging, cup in hand with a smile on his face. He devoured those cookies lickety split, took a long satisfying drink of milk and went back to his Lincoln log adventure.

Hmmmm. I guess it wasn’t that tough of a decision after all.

I remembered this moment the other day as I lamented life’s changes. Ethan was right.

Yes, what I hold in my clenched fist may be precious. But if I hold on too tightly, I’ll miss out. I need to devour it, savor it, let it become a part of me and keep reaching out for that next stage of life God has poured for me. It’ll be good and refreshing, too.

As a young adult, I had to let go of a little freedom and self-focus to be a parent. Boy, was it worth it! I let go of my comfort zone to pursue my dreams. I’m so glad I did. Now, as I start letting go of children, I can see that I’m gaining some pretty amazing adults in my life. It’ll be worth it.

I remind myself that change is a good thing. God said, “Behold, I am doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19).

God’s life plan is so cool. He knows just what we need. So, whatever you’re holding onto today, don’t be afraid to devour it, savor it, let it become a part of you and keep reaching out for what God has for you next. It’ll be good, too.