When we struggle to let go of something we think we can control, that path to letting go feels so difficult. It is a painful struggle that we often have to wrestle down. Maybe this will help if you are in that struggle.
Letting go feels callous and uncaring.
As we struggle with the learning curve of realizing we cannot control other people or circumstances, just the thoughts of letting go feel callous and uncaring. “But,” we say to ourselves, “if I dont try to fix this or keep this from happening, then that means I dont really care. How can I let go and watch someone learn the hard way; fail, fall, and pay consequences? If they would just listen to me, I could save them a lot of pain.”
Avoiding pain is part of our problem. It’s our own pain that we are avoiding. We fear watching another, especially teens, grow and become their own person as they stumble, fall, and fail. Sure, we will hurt if they hurt–that’s a given. But often it is our fear of hurting that keeps us clutching to the hope we can fix and prevent their pain. If we let go, it will hurt to watch our teen learn hard lessons. It can feel callous and uncaring.
Fear of letting go shows our level of trust.
Fearing what might happen if we let go could be a snapshot of our relationship with Jesus. We can’t let go of trying to control if we don’t know and trust Him well. Who of us would allow our child to go get ice cream with an acquaintance? We dont trust anyone we dont know really well. In order to trust Jesus, we need to grow in knowing Him first. This we can control. This is the place for growth. We must grow our inner life to be so in tune with Jesus and His character that we trust Him with our most precious thing–our family.
Somehow we have to learn that Jesus is with us either way.
Letting go of precious things feels especially difficult when children become teens. Now it will be clear whom we trust when it’s time to let them go. We are not trusting that “everything will be without pain.” Nor are we trusting that the teens will do and become exactly what we hope. Somewhere, sometime, somehow we have to learn on a deep level that Jesus will be with us either way–in the joys–and in the sorrows. It’s impossible to control which will happen when–joy or sorrow. But we can control getting to know Him.
For help on letting go, see my book Joy-Filled Parenting with Teens
For help getting to know Jesus, see my book Living Lessons on Intimacy with Christ