Have you ever had one of those late night come-to-Jesus moments where the weight of regret lays heavy across your chest? I've discovered a great source of stress, distraction and exhaustion in my life comes from saying yes to too many things, even good things. It is so hard to say no and let go of opportunities, but if I do not learn the gift of release, I will wrestle with a lack of peace.
I saw this when we took on coaching my son’s baseball team this year. My husband took on the job of head coach. The problem came when I signed up as “assistant coach” and basically as the team’s secretary. I thought I had the perfect schedule laid out for the parents for games and snacks. Game 1 came, and I was signed up for the snacks for the kids, but guess who completely forgot? Me! Game 2 came, and we all showed up dressed and ready for an amazing game. Guess who put the wrong date and time on the schedule? Me, again! There were no games on this day, and I had all the kids and parents out at the fields at 7:30 p.m. on a weeknight. Go ahead and insert the biggest face palm you can imagine here.
I know the weight of carrying more than I should. And usually it is because I have refused to release something before taking on something else. If I want to choose a “Best Yes,” it is crucial I make room for it first. Otherwise, a “Best Yes” can quickly become a stressed yes, which will cause more anxiety and disappointment at our core.
If we refuse to release before we add, we will get overloaded and can pay a high price for our refusals to release — to let go of our ways so we can walk in the amazing way of God. It isn’t God's desire for any of us to suffer the consequences that might come. Each of us has a free will, which means we have the freedom to make choices. God tells us the right way to go, but we must make the choice to do so. Choices and consequences come in package deals. When we make a choice, we ignite the consequences that can come along with it.
Release is a gift to us when we are weighed down, grasping for perfection. We can feel the twinges and hear the creaking sounds of a splitting break about to happen within us, when we know we cannot take much more.
I think sometimes I am resistant to release because I fear missing out. But, in holding on to too much, I wind up stressed, exhausted and at my breaking point. Release brings with it the gift of peace. There are good things I need to let go of so I can make room for the best things. When we release in peace, we signal we're now ready to receive what's next and what's best, right now.
"When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn." – Psalm 142:3
Written by Linda Womack, Buckner Family Pathways program manager in Longview, Texas.