As we open our arms and give up grasping, here are some prompts for our prayers and thoughts.
- Let go of perfection. You will make mistakes. Your house won’t always be as clean or organized as you like. You won’t keep up with friends as much as you’d prefer. Your parenting and grandparenting will always leave something to be desired. Your projects will always need a bit of improvement.
- Let go of goals. Remember the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.” It’s fine to set goals, but it’s detrimental to beat yourself up when the goals aren’t met in quite the way or on the timetable you had planned. Often we don’t reach our goals because life’s interruptions prevent us from doing so.
- Let go of loved ones. People are entrusted to you—that doesn’t mean they are your possessions. They make their own choices, go their own way, and—yes—they suffer calamity and sadness no matter how much you love them.
- Let go of the happy life. If happiness is your focus, you will obsess over all the ways in which you are not perfectly happy. Happiness happens as we engage life, practice gratitude, and move forward, confident of God’s love.
- Let go of the victim life. No one gets the life she had imagined. Marriages fail—or don’t happen at all; jobs disappear; the body ages; children disappoint you; you or a loved one becomes gravely ill; you can’t afford what you need for your home; a friendship disintegrates; you have too many responsibilities. Be honest in your prayers, but refuse to remain a victim. Get up every day and do what you can.
- Let go of the obligation to please God. The problem with this sense of obligation is that we end up trying to fulfill it on our own. Every day, tell yourself, “I am enough, right here and now. I am open to God’s grace and will add to that my God-given gifts and efforts. But God already loves me—in this situation and with whatever emotions or imperfections I’m living. Because of God’s great mercy, I am enough today.”
Blessings upon you, dear loved one of God.
Do you have questions about the upcoming season of Advent? Share your questions, and I’ll answer some of them on the blog in the coming weeks.