A year ago at this time my life was unraveling at a frenetic pace. They were all good things, but it was not the best for me, or my family. My son had a terrible second semester of 1st grade and my daughter became more clingy after preschool. I should have seen it…it was right in front of me.
Duct-tapping my heart no longer worked.
But that is the trouble with margin. When there isn’t any margin in your life, the buffer that you so desperately need, has vanished. My strategy of continually wrapping duct tape around my heart to hold it together wasn’t working as well as I had planned. Even duct tape unravels over time. The last week of school everything shifted for me and I suddenly was left realizing things had to change. Beginning with me.
I played with the kids in the floor. We watched movies and ate popcorn on a blanket in the living room. My husband and I went on a date. I spent the summer reading, praying, healing, and generally goofing off with my kids. I hadn’t done that in more months than I could count-18? It is painful to admit. It is nearly impossible to connect with the people you love (or anyone, really) when the margin in your life is so thin, you are pressed against a wall to begin with. You can’t connect that way. At least not well.
Friends that normally would have looked me in the eye and held me accountable were not something I had time for.
As I look back now, starting a fresh year, a new person in so many ways, I wonder: was I alone? Could it be your margin is thin too? You may not even realize it. I didn’t. I just thought I was tired and behind, and well, I wasn’t doing anything well. Friends that normally would have looked me in the eye and held me accountable were not something I had time for. I still talked/text/emailed them, but without that eye-to-eye time, it was less apparent how far off the reservation I had wandered. (To clarify: nothing immoral or unethical was going on, I just had my priorities woefully flipped.)
Almost a year ago, I let go. It was not an easy process, in fact if you looked closely, you might even see nail marks scraping the walls. Once I let go and took some time to decompress (I didn’t get that way overnight and certainly could not uncoil from it overnight), I realized it was in the letting go that I was actually able to hang on to the right things. Without the other things I was clinging to, I was able to hang on to Jesus. I could hold on to my marriage and kids again. When a friend was hurting, I was able to extend a hand to hold on to her. My steel-fingered grip on what I thought was worth clenching was not only slowing strangling me, but those around me.
Being completely stripped of all you hold dear is heart-wrenching.
The past year has been hard. It has been painful. Anytime you are stripped of everything you hold with any modicum of value, it is heart-wrenching. Pruning is not without pain. I will not lie and tell you that I am 100% or that I have my “A game” back on. I might always lead with a limp. Just like Jacob was forever changed by God from wrestling with Him, I am too…in a good way.
Letting go allows you to hold on to the right things, giving margin for things that are worthwhile. It is not easy to let go. Letting go comes with great rewards-freedom being the biggest one. Often in our bondage we are unable to see through the forest for the trees. The time, mental space, and emotional energy that you get back will be an unprecedented wave of relief and feel a lot like mercy.
Is there something you need to let go of? Praying for you as you search your heart and listen to His voice.