“Let go! It’s going to hurt you!"
These were the words that poured from my lips, during a walk with my dog. He had decided to lock his jaw onto a very thick rose vine with giant thorns. My thought was that he had believed it to be a stick. Frightened by my command to "leave it”, he bit down harder. My pup is ornery at times. Then it hit me. OMG, I’m so much like my pit bull!
How many times have I locked onto something in my life and refused to let go of it even if it would hurt me? (Since I’m a girl, who thinks she can fix and change everything, and tends to like to take control, and want’s what she wants) I can name a few times. Like me with my stubborn pup, how many times has God had to tell me to “leave it” because the thing I thought was something I wanted, was in fact harmful for me? See, my dog thought the thorny rose vine was merely another stick that he could pick up and carry on our walk. He didn’t realize there were thorns that could potentially cut him, but I did. Out of love and fear for him getting wounded, I tried to pull him away, tried to calmly coax him to let go, commanded, scolded…you name it. If he wouldn’t have been stubborn, he would’ve released it immediately. But, like mother like puppy, he refused and tightened his grip until he finally yelped. The thorns eventually got the better of him and became uncomfortable. Looking at me with his big puppy eyes, he released his “toy” and pressed up against my leg. Again I say, I am so much like my dog.
Unlike him however, there are a few things I didn’t walk away from the second they became uncomfortable, no I waited until I was bleeding. Maybe it’s because I would like to think I am always right. Maybe it’s pride. Maybe it’s the challenge. Perhaps it’s my thinking that some things in life require risk and life isn’t always meant to be comfortable. Here’s what I’m learning more and more everyday… I DO NOT ALWAYS KNOW WHAT’S BEST. Like my pup, sometimes, God will allow me to get pricked by a couple of thorns that I mistakenly think I need in my life, in order to teach me that I in fact do not need them. Nor, do I want them…eventually. From that little bit of pain, comes wisdom. And with wisdom (if you apply it) come growth and maturity. Growth and maturity add to your beauty, from the inside out!
What are some BEAUTIFUL qualities that get developed through the process of growth and maturity?
Patience- learning to wait, learning to control anger, being able to enjoy the process more, etc.
Grace- showing others grace in their shortcomings, learning to carry yourself with poise and a gracious air about you.
Compassion- the ability to care for others and extend love and gentleness to the hurting.
Empathy- because of the things you've been through, and hopefully learned from, you are able to relate and understand others who are in the same or similar situations and help offer guidance because you feel for them.
There are also many more, but these are some of the main ones I've definitely been schooled in. They became more defined as I went through that "inner beauty bootcamp" where I faced challenges, obstacles, and resistance. This is life! And let's be real, life's situations come with real lessons.
Let's see, what do I learn? Well, I learn not to repeat past mistakes. I learn how to make healthier choices- emotionally, mentally, physically, etc. I learn to trust that when God says to let go, it’s for a good reason. He wants to protect me from becoming a wounded, bloody mess on the side of the road, and instead walk with me in the cool breeze and sunshine and get me home safely. (Who knew a morning walk with my dog would be so thought provoking? Talk about yet another life lesson through metaphors.)
In all honesty, I’ve been learning A LOT lately. I’m always learning and trying to grow. But I’m in a new season of life right now that the learning is at an all time high. It's like life Lessons 201 up in here. I’m learning how to have greater faith. I’m learning how to let go of pride, because the wrong kind of pride can be really ugly. How to work hard yet stay humble, because arrogance is definitely not attractive. I’m learning quality over quantity. I’m learning what’s worth working on and what’s worth walking away from. How to let go of past mistakes, learn from them, and move forward. I’m learning what kind of friendships, relationships and situations I do and DO NOT need to be in, nor should I accept for that matter. I’m learning to release my grip on the thorn bushes in my life and trust that there will always be something better down the street, and thankfully, I have friends and family who love me enough to encourage me to do so. I’m learning how to value the people who warn me about thorns that may look appealing. I’m learning to enjoy more walks in the sunshine and relax and take time for myself instead of working myself to nothing, for nothing. I'm learning how to better take care of my body. To make sure I'm eating well and eating enough. I'm making an effort to get enough sleep and rest so I'm not as worn out. If I don't take care of myself the best I can, how can I expect to be the best I can? I can't. (ahem, And neither can you. Just saying'.)
So...Here’s a question or two:
What things in your life do you need to let go of so you can walk freely?
What thorns have been learning experiences that now you can be thankful for?
If you are holding on to something that is harmful to you in any way, shape or form, I encourage you to let go. It will be ok….