My New Year’s Eve tradition has been to write a reflection piece. I often chose a word to summarize the past year or a resolution for the coming year. This year I am choosing a word that does both –release.
Release is a verb. It is active. It is hopeful. I love the images stirred up by its most common use: to free from confinement, bondage, obligation, pain, etc.; let go. Don’t we all desire to be released from all those bitter things in our lives. However, it was another meaning that caught my attention- to allow to be known. Isn’t that our deep desire? Do we not hide our flaws in fear that we will fall short of some expectation? Don’t we worry that we will be rejected or unloved? We yearn to belong, and so we become acutely aware of everything within us that makes us different or makes us the other. In order to fit in, we masquerade, as whatever we perceive will make us acceptable. And it is our façades that ultimately make us all the more isolated. We cannot drop our guard, let our hair down, and be ourselves. We cannot release.
The recent years have been hard. They have been filled with loss and grief and pain. Yet in the midst of dying a million deaths, I found surrender. When we stop wrestling and clinging to the things that we believe protect us, we find release. A sense of healing comes when we stop fighting the tears. What freedom we find when we stop striving. We find a sense of community when we cease holding on to our masks. 2016 most certainly brought with it many struggles, but it was in letting go that I found real hope.
My resolution for 2017 is that I will continue my journey of release. I will let go of all that holds me back, most notably myself. I will allow myself to be truly known by letting go of the many different facades I have carefully crafted to meet the many different roles that I play. (Can you not hear the theater lingo in this common phrase?) I will allow myself to be known, by releasing myself from the need to prove my character, prove my faith, prove my intelligence, and prove that I am right. I yearn to release myself of the obligations I have allowed to be placed on myself by others and myself. I commit to leaning into the struggle rather than clawing against it because that is the only way to really let it go. I commit to clinging to Christ alone.