I wrote a book about letting go. And now, here I am, on the cusp of that book’s release, and I feel it: the subtle but sure tightening of my grip.
Turns out, releasing a book about letting go smack in the middle of the busiest time of the year and amid the deafening drumbeat of the holiday season is truly a lesson in letting go — a lesson I am living out minute-by-minute in real time.
A lesson, if I’m honest, I am not living out well.
The outcome of this book is largely out of my control. I know this. This is the time to release… not only the book itself, but also my expectations of what might be.
And yet, as soon as I step into the spaciousness in which God has so generously invited me, I find myself turning back toward myself, redoubling my own efforts, trying futilely to control circumstances, manage outcomes, grip ever more tightly.
Long before the sun glints its first rays over the frozen horizon each morning, I sit in the same spot on the sofa, the same soft blanket pulled up to my chin, the same mug in my hands, and I read from the first word to the last in Chapter 8 of Paul’s letter to the Romans.
I’ve read these same words, this same chapter, for ten consecutive mornings.
I don’t know why I keep rereading this same chapter. Honestly this is quite unlike me. I don’t typically linger in Scripture. I always keep moving. And yet, God has stilled me in these pages.
Every day the same chapter, every day the same words.
“Obsession with self is a dead-end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.” (Romans 8: 5-8).
Earlier this week I stood in the cold on the edge of the golf course and watched a young fox play. He was alone in the stillness of the late afternoon, his russet coat catching the sun’s last warmth as he picked up a honey locust seed pod in his teeth, tossed his head back and flung the seed pod into the air, leaping and then pouncing on it when it landed in the snow. He was beautiful — sleek, agile, exuberant — and watching him doing his fox thing, undoubtedly practicing his predatory skills in a field on a winter afternoon, was mesmerizing, pure magic.
It was such a simple thing, but in that instant, watching that fox cavort in the waning sunlight, time slowed. Everything but that very moment fell away as the Spirit moved, beckoning.
“You don’t owe your old do-it-all-yourself life anything,” Paul reminds us. “There’s nothing in it for you. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. The Spirit beckons.” (Romans 8:12-14)
Paul’s not talking about releasing a book, of course. And yet, I hear God, through his apostle, speaking to me, to all of us, in this place, in this moment, in our particular circumstances.
God is calling us to release whatever it is we are grasping at so desperately, whatever it is we have taken upon ourselves to try to control, manage and manipulate.
There’s nothing there for us in the do-it-all-ourselves life. There’s nothing there for us in the clutching. There’s nothing really there to hold onto.
I listen to these words from Paul every morning before the sun rises. I read and reread them, and slowly they begin to move from my mind to my soul.
The Spirit beckons. He moves across the surface of each day, leading us into the open, spacious place where a young fox plays.
True You: Letting Go of Your False Self to Uncover the Person God Created, releases on New Year’s Day – a particularly apt day for a book about the journey toward beginning to know who you are.
If you pre-order before January 1, I have some lovely free gifts for you:
– a companion journal
– a guided audio meditation
– and a series of beautifully designed Scripture cards.
You can find out about where to pre-order True You and how to receive the free gifts over HERE.