COLUMN: Letting go — The cost of something new

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What is it about the weather changing that motivates us to get rid of things. I am suddenly looking around our house, our garage, and even my office confused where all of this stuff came from and how long it has been here. I know I bought it for a reason, but for some of these things that reason is long gone. There is no real need to keep it, but it’s difficult letting it go.

Do you every find it difficult to let go of something you don’t really need or maybe even want?

This is when my mind turns to salmon. The lifecycle of these fish is strange. Some salmon spend only a few months in the stream or river they are born in before they go on the move. They eventually make their way to the ocean where they spend the majority of their lives. That is until they eventually make the journey back to the birthing place. Salmon will use up almost all of their vitality getting back to this place. They will lay eggs with their last bit of energy before they die. Out of death will come new life.

I think that’s always hard. I think we go through seasons of hungering for something new, but do not want to pay the cost of something new which is often the death of something old. So, I stand for far too long staring at shirts in the drawer that have not fit me for longer than I admit thinking but I like this shirt that hasn’t fit for years. I know it has to go, but there is a grieving that takes place that I encounter every spring.

Just like I know there are physical things I need to give, I am reminded that there are emotional and mental things I need to give up that haven’t fit me for a long time now.

Many of us are finding ourselves in a place where we know we need to give something up that we’ve held onto for far too long. This Lent we are working our way through John and we are coming to the place where Jesus is giving His close friends some last minute instructions before they have to let go of three year’s worth of memories, plans, and dreaming to start something new.

The Disciples didn’t understand the cost of something new is always something dying. In John 16 Jesus is explaining to them that to let go is hard and it’s okay that it’s hard. But they can’t hold onto that stuff for too long or they’ll miss out on what’s about to happen. Through the Cross we experience death, but we also experience new life. Jesus’ promises the disciples they will experience peace, joy, and heart because He goes through the grief so we can have the good. Peace and Joy are obviously things we all want right now, but I want to emphasize that something happens to our hearts when we allow ourselves to let go of what has not been working in order to embrace something new.

As we celebrate this Palm Sunday it is an opportunity to process the grief of letting go of something you should have let go a long time ago in order to grab onto the thing God has been offering you. Jesus’ death paid the cost for you to experience something new. But that old thing has to die with Him. What is the thing He asking you to let go of this spring? What is the thing He wants to give you in its place?

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