the Beauty of Releasing

It’s funny. In high school I had Seniors write in my Freshman yearbook…

“Hold on, don’t grow up too fast.”

“Enjoy it while it lasts”

“Don’t rush any of it”

And though some of those things might have been true in HS, as I’ve grown up reminding myself to ‘hold on’ or ‘enjoy it’ isn’t hard – it’s the times of releasing that are the hardest.

The goodbyes. The letting go. The moving on. The see you laters.

These seem to be more and more frequent, with less and less time for me to ‘hold on’ and ‘enjoy it’ with those I’m releasing.

So recently, after a few heartaches and unmet expectations in friendships, I started asking God the point of it all.

What’s the point of a hello, if a goodbye is soon to follow?

 

What’s the purpose of holding on to someone, if releasing them to someone or something else is inevitable?

And though I didn’t get a direct answer, I did get this…

‘There’s beauty that can be found in releasing, just as there’s beauty in holding on.’

I was 1) thankful for His acknowledgement of my question 2) annoyed at his (yet again) poetic way of putting me in my place, but mostly 3) intrigued to understand what He meant.

Where’s the beauty in letting go? In the days or weeks or sometimes months, even years of replaying conversations, scrolling through old pictures, listening to familiar songs – how is there beauty in that?

And then it hit me. The beauty isn’t found in the absence of whom we release, it’s found in the person they left behind.

Us. You. Me.

Each person we encounter, they impact us. And if they’re worthy of the hurt or longing that sometimes follow a release, that means they were most likely worthy of the time it took them to make an impression.

An impression that led to making a difference in us, around us, for us, or because of us. And with this I started thinking of these people. These impressions and because I don’t know your life, I’ll share a few of mine.

In 1st grade, I had a friend who discovered she had an incurable disease. Though she fought hard and long for two years, she passed away when I was in 3rd grade. Though I barely remember her voice or laugh – what she looked like and the joy I remember her bringing to my younger self playing 4-square and running around the playground is still oh very much stuck in my mind. She had a free spirit that even at a young age I realized was rare and beautiful, and honest – not something I inherently possessed.

I met my first guy best friend in 7th grade. He was someone I could tell everything to. He knew me – even the “me” I tried to hide for over 10 years. He was a brother to me and led his life with a simplicity that I, to this day, have never seen since. His yes’s were yes and his no’s were no – no negotiating. Though our friendship came to an end, the integrity of his life continues to impact mine to this day.

In high school I fell in love. Though it wasn’t something that was ever official, I remember it was the first time I knew what ‘butterflies’ were. He was arrogant and athletic, and though he was cocky 99% of the time, his confidence was something I longed to exhibit.

I had teacher in college who was tough. I was a fashion major, so thinking I’d run into a tough professor – well, it just wasn’t expected. But oh, you only messed up once. However, though she held us all to a high standard, there was a sheer compassion and belief in her for her students that was contagious. And it was her who gave me the dream to live my life that way – with a contagious spirit that gives others the courage to believe.

And in the years that have followed college, there have been multiple relationships that have come and gone. Interactions with fellow co-workers, friends, males, bosses, small group members, church leaders, etc. that have each made an impression on who I am and ultimately, have impacted the person that I am today. Good, ugly, amazing, unfortunate and all of the above – these people are forever a part of my story.

And it’s here I find myself seeing the beauty in releasing.

Releasing, I believe, provides us the process to truly reflect, admire, and acknowledge.

Reflect on what we were able to experience – good or bad. The good we hold onto; the bad we process through and keep with us what we need to change or watch for in the next season and the rest we let go.

Admire those who were a part of that season. Admire them for the qualities they brought to our life and choose to see them for who they truly are – beautiful stops along this journey called life.

And lastly, acknowledge that the person walking into the next season isn’t the same person who entered the last one. Because of our hello to these people and those seasons – we’ve changed, we’ve matured, and we’ve (hopefully) learned more than we ever could have if we would have failed to say yes.

These people, places, experiences we release – they truly are the birthplace of who we’re meant to become.

So my question to the Lord of, why even begin? Why say hello? Why take that risk to love, be vulnerable, start a new job, take that adventure? It’s because of this – on the other side of that hello, saying yes to that risk or job or adventure is us ultimately opening the door to experiencing a new part of who we’re meant to become.

And as I sit here, on a flight to North Carolina, reflecting on who I’ve become – I’m thankful. And with that, realize I’m finally okay with who I’ve had to release in the process to get here.

However, I feel YOU – on the other side of this screen – have found yourself reading this far down because you’ve asked God the same questions. Wondering why begin again or how do release? And my friend, I get it. I promise, I do.

So, from one who’s in process, too – I encourage you to make your list like I did above. Go back to the beginning to the relationships that have impacted you the most – whether they are still a part of your life, or not. Choose to go through the process of reflecting, admiring, and then acknowledging.

And then, release them. Release it. All of it.…the what ifs, the could have beens or the should have done this or that…don’t stay there any longer. Those questions are robbing you of your ability to hold on to today, to the people around you NOW – in this season; who despite yours and my best efforts to resist, are still wanting to be intentional and do their part to make a difference in our now seasons. To earn their place at the table of someone you and I one day look back on and admire. But they can’t do that if we never let go and are unable to hold onto them now, today.

Failure to release our past will result in our present releasing us and those around us before we’ve had time to hold on.

So, go through the process of releasing and my friend…I pray you find the beauty in releasing as I have. I believe the only question remaining is – will you choose to find it?

XOXO

a fellow releaser in process

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