“The truth is that sometimes, we feel that our world, our home, our closet is too small to contain all the ‘stuff’ we’ve accumulated over the years, when in reality, we are holding onto baggage that we just need to let go.”Andrea St. Louis, 40 Days Lighter: A Devotional Journey for Women Determined to Live Free
At the start of this journey, I was beginning to have that “walls are closing in on me” feeling in my physical, mental and emotional space. It just seemed like there wasn’t enough room in my life for me and everything else in it. At first, I thought it was a temporary feeling that would pass with no effort on my part. Yet, as I began to evaluate how I got to this place, I had to admit that, at least in part, it was my own actions that brought me here, and it would take some elbow grease on my part to correct the situation.
Just like my original 40 Days Lighter journey, I started with the physical clutter first. And just as it happened with the first 40 days, the process of collecting, shredding, giving away and throwing out non-essentials gave me time and space to consider my bottled up thoughts and emotions. I uncovered that I was mentally tired because despite my previous efforts to ensure a well-aligned, God-honoring, and family-centric schedule, I had fallen back into my habit of saying yes to others, and now I was having to “find time” to fit in my own priorities.
In the time between writing 40 Days Lighter and re-taking this journey, I’ve noticed that I have a tendency towards placing emphasis on ‘doing’ and not so much “being”. So much so, that I found myself in the dangerous place of determining my identity based on what I did, instead of allowing my actions to be a conscious and intentional outflow of who I am.
As I began to work through the process of undoing these tangled threads, I began to literally sift through my calendar and commitments to see where I needed to make changes. Where had I overcommitted? Where was I simply ‘people-pleasing’ and not actually working in and with purpose? Where was I trying to get to just for the money (I mean, we got bills to pay), and not trusting God to be Our Source? Where had I unnecessarily invested myself that I truly didn’t need to be – just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should?!
I realized in that moment that I had taken on activities and assignments that, in my heart, I knew I should have said no to, or scaled back significantly. I also felt that fear of disappointing the people around me creeping up. I’ve spent time in therapy and in prayer addressing this, so I peeped it really quick and decided I had to make immediate moves to shut it down.
The truth is, the thing we are afraid of letting go of, at the risk of endangering our own well-being, will be JUST FINE without us. We’re afraid that if our hands aren’t involved that no one else will get it done, or get it right, or do it like we do. Yet, if we’re honest with ourselves, maybe they don’t need to. We are often putting much more pressure on ourselves than the world around us requires. We put more strain on ourselves than God requires of us. We can’t believe statements like “His yoke is easy and His burden is light,” because we’ve convinced ourselves that if we aren’t 24/7 putting out backbreaking effort (even when no one actually asked us to), that the world will somehow fall apart.
I have news for you – and myself: Sis. Bro. YOU ARE NOT ATLAS CARRYING THE WORLD ON HIS BACK. And YOU MOST CERTAINLY ARE NOT GOD HOLDING THE WORLD IN YOUR HANDS.
It’s okay to LET GO. God’s still got it all under control.