After 15 years of driving kids to school, this week will be the last full week of daily drives to drop off or pick up one of our kids from school.
I am simultaneously really happy about having the freedom to do something different with that time and sad that I won’t have the daily moments in the car. Those drives began with small kids in car seats and finished with giving rides to adult-sized people. The rides were often quiet but they also included laughter and frustration, trivial and life changing moments, Bible verses and prayers, stories about life, relationship or sex talks and lots of unsolicited advice from dad.
Admittedly, changes like this do make me more than a little contemplative (see ‘A Thief Named Regret‘) . .. . maybe too much so, but I don’t want to miss the opportunities in the moment.
As I was processing the moment and what it means for us as a family, I had this thought:
Growth = the delicate balance of letting go and taking hold
I was reading Philippians 3 this morning and realized it was a great example of the Apostle Paul describing what it means to move forward in growth. Here are a couple verses from that chapter:
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” Philippians 3:13-15
Letting Go – Grieve
Earlier in the chapter, Paul was letting go of old things, actions, accolades, regrets and disappointments. There was a time he was on the podium, so to speak, receiving gold medals and awards from the circles he was a leader of. Some of those achievements actually were things he was not proud of and now considered to be worthless or even a loss.
If we are going to grow into the future instead of be stuck in the past (good or bad) we will have to learn to let go. A couple months ago, Holy Spirit said to me, “Healthy grief is learning to let go of the pain and provisions of the past to be able to receive what Father has for your present and your future.” We have to learn to let go (grieve) the past, old seasons, provisions, blessings, hopes, successes or disappointments. Many people get stuck holding onto memories of blessings, promises or pain from the past and forgo goodness in the now and the future.
Taking Hold – Celebrate
But Paul turns a corner from what he was letting go and in verse 14, he says he was pressing on to take hold of the prize ahead. If you are feeling the pain or sting of grief, here is some good news from Philippians 3. No matter what we grieve because of letting go, we must recognize the ultimate prize (Phil 3:8 & 14) is not in the past, it is in the future! That is why we press forward. We can take hold of new provisions on the way to the ultimate prize of being fully united with Jesus beyond the veil of our earthly existence.
Taking hold is learning to celebrate new provisions, new mercies, grace, opportunities, responsibilities and blessings. One of the names God gave Himself is “I AM”. That means He is all we need right now! He was the one that provided for and blessed us in the past and He is the ultimate prize in our future but He is and has all we need in every present moment.
So, we take hold of present provisions and press toward the ultimate prize ahead. Growth requires all of the above and you were made to grow!
Process it with some coffee or a friend:
- What are some seasons of life change you remember? ex. starting or finishing high school, getting a degree, marriage, new career, etc.
- What were some things you had to let go of in those seasons in order to move forward?
- Have you ever gotten stuck in a season or a cycle and couldn’t move forward in joy to the next season?
- What were some of the new things you took hold of to move forward and thrive?
- How did you see God working in your new season to provide and bring new opportunities in the change?
- Letting go and taking hold prayer:
- Father, today I let go of things I have been holding onto as a security from the past. You are not just here in this moment but you are providing for my thriving out ahead. And. . .. YOU are the best and ultimate prize so I let go of all other things that I have pursued above You for my well being. Today I press forward toward all you have for me now and ahead.