One of the most challenging but most significant spiritual lessons I have had to learn is that of relinquishment. This is not a new thought of course. I’m sure we have all been encouraged in some form to learn how to let go, to become enlarged in our capacity to cultivate acceptance. Some of you may share my use of the mantra, “It is what it is.” Nonetheless, while there is nothing new under the sun, some of these deep truths require consistent reminders. And perhaps, you’ve discovered as I have that learning this lesson never seems to end. To seem to learn it once is only just the beginning – there are deeper and deeper layers to uncover in just how much we love to hold on, to seek control, to solve, to fix, to manipulate, to want it our way.
I remember one particular session with my therapist. I was feeling incredibly frustrated. There were issues in my life that no matter how hard I tried, no matter how many different strategies I employed, I just couldn’t seem to break through to experience change. It seemed so out of my control, so beyond my capacity to have influence over the outcomes. It was a place that sapped my energy, depleted my hope, and left me discouraged and cranky. My therapist looked at me and told me that I might need to accept that these things would not change. I was pissed. That was really not what I wanted to hear. To me, the idea of accepting that these things wouldn’t change felt like giving up, it felt like I was signing my ticket to hopelessness. If I wasn’t struggling against these things, if I wasn’t trying to change them, that meant failure – failure as a Christian, failure as a wife and mother, failure as someone who thrives on vision with exceedingly high expectations for myself.
And so I resisted this word from my therapist. I resisted it with everything in me. But the truth was, I was already exhausted – exhausted from years and years of seemingly banging my head against the same wall. And in my resistance and in my exhaustion it seemed the still small voice of the Spirit was able to gently draw me towards considering whether accepting the limits of my capacity and the capacity of those I was in intimate relationship with might be a ga