I am an avid Aldi shopper, although I am also a regular forgetter of the “bring your own quarter” rule. This often ends in me carrying two bags on each shoulder, slowly filling them with apples and cans of beans as I roam the store, looking like a small camel. By the end of the five aisle journey, I can’t wait to set the bags down on the conveyor belt to unload- and I try not to think too much about picking them up again to get from the store back to the car.
I max myself out on these trips, and the other day I wondered if that tendency to think that if I just keep going, just keep breathing, I can make it though every aisle shows up in more than just my grocery shopping. That maybe I mistakenly believe I can just keep adding to my bags, and I can always handle the weight.
There is a connection, I think, between going deeper with God, and letting go. I’m learning that I can say I want a life filled with more of him all I want, but at the end of the day, it’s not just about what I say. To have more of him means to choose to have a little bit less of something else.
I tend to accidentally think of it as a ripping away of the things I love, when maybe, I should consider it more as setting the bags down in my car at the end of the grocery trip- relieved, a weight taken off my shoulders. I don’t need to keep adding- I need to let go.
I had some friends who went on vacation to California a while ago, and when they came back, they told me about a day they went swimming in the ocean. As they were floating, bobbing along, enjoying the sun, the current suddenly changed, and they found themselves being toppled by waves, beaten back down under the water over and over, swirling, wondering if there would ever be relief.
The voice of the lifeguard finally broke through to them after multiple waves, calling with the echo of the beach, “JUST STAND UP!”
They did. The water only came up to their stomachs- they hadn’t realized that they could have been standing the whole time.
Letting go is hard for me, but sometimes, I wonder if I make it harder than it needs to be. I wait for a big moment, a big release of freedom from this struggle or that, when God is instead a God of process, one who works over time. But sometimes, maybe all that I really need to do is let go, open my hands in faith, and trust that he will do the rest. Trust that if I stand up, out of the waves, that he will make the ground appear under me.
The book to get lost in, to forget what time it is, to annoy your spouse by keeping the light in the bedroom on far too late: Educated by Tara Westover