Reflections: Holding On

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come back from vacation, and find that half of the stuff in my suitcase is either still clean because it hasn’t been worn, or was never even thought of while I was away.  

We can get caught up so easily in the what if’s, and don’t get me wrong, it is great to be prepared, but going to a summer cottage do I really need a hoodie, jacket, and two long sleeve shirts for July?  

But what if it is cool and rainy? Then I will need this.  What if it is cool and windy? Then this will come in handy.  What if it is cool, rainy and windy … ? Oh boy then this will really come in handy.

I find we sometimes plan so much that it can actually bog us down. Or we hold on to things so much it bogs us down … I can’t throw this away because what if in three years’ time I actually need it?  I have family members who moved to a new house, were there for 12 years and when they moved again they had boxes that they hadn’t unpacked yet. I believe that they were smart enough to realize if they didn’t use those items or even open them in 12 years, they probably didn’t need them anymore, and didn’t move them again. 

Sometimes these things we hold onto actually hold us back. They can be our safety net, but that net is actually tangled around our feet, and doesn’t allow us to move around freely. 

We all have held onto something in our lives that doesn’t really serve a purpose anymore, and in many situations, holding on to that thing actually weighs us down. 

It is not just things however.  We can hold onto assumptions, or ideas, that at one time served us very well, but don’t actually work for us anymore.  It can even be the same with our faith.  Our spirituality, our beliefs can change over time – in fact they should change over time; as we grow and learn new things so to should our faith grow.

It doesn’t mean that what we used to believe is now wrong, or that we were wrong when we believed it. We have a tendency in religious groups to group things into right and wrong.  If you believe this then you are right, if you believe that or act that way then you are wrong. If we have that understanding then it can be hard to grow in our faith, as we don’t want to grow out of what is right. Or likewise we don’t want someone to think what we once thought of was wrong.

But God’s love doesn’t work that way. There is no right or wrong, there is only love. If we treat everyone we meet with love, that is the only thing that matters. Sure we might still make some mistakes, but I’ve found that if I approach a situation with love in my heart and in my spirit, people are much more willing to accept mistakes I make.

I invite you to have a look at your spiritual life. Are there things that you are doing that at one time served you well but no longer do so?  Or even that are perhaps holding you back from experiencing something else? 

Take the risk to step out of what you have been holding on to, to let it go, because you will find there will be something else to fill that gap. There is always space for the Spirit, if we just allow it in. 

Mark Laird