Sometimes life throws us into situations where we need to release. These situations force us to look at our personal environment, evaluate any toxic spaces, and reflect on how we really want to do life.
We learn to release in tiny increments, as needed. Then those steps represent monumental heart blips which propel us onto the next level of learning or accomplishment.
Release happens throughout life. When we help our five-year-olds pack their lunches and zip up their new backpacks, then watch them walk away from us toward kindergarten. With tears, we let them go. We release them to the system, to the process of learning, to embracing social skills, and finding their direction in life.
Release continues: the first time they drive alone, first dates, first college visit. Then 18 short years after we pushed them through the birth canal, we release them into college or the workplace.
The prophet Isaiah foreshadowed our need for release of other situations. “These things you carry about are loaded as burdens on the weary beats” (Isaiah 46:1). We can choose to carry the burden with all its baggage or release it into the hands of our capable and wise God.
Release Involves Boundaries. As artists of the written word, we sometimes need to release overwhelming goals and full schedules. We need to know how much bandwidth we carry, mentally and physically, so that we can continue to craft and birth our words.
But that means setting healthy boundaries around our time and energy as we learn to say, ‘No.’
Recently, I had to set a boundary with a writers conference. I have participated and/or taught workshops at this conference for 20+ years. But this year, on the heels of mental overwhelm and griefs, I just could not face the stress and energy needed. So I pulled out of the conference.
For days, I waffled about the decision. Knowing in my soul that it was right. Hating the need for it. Wishing I did not have to contact the director and let her down. Or let down any of the writers who depended on my being there.
But sometimes it is okay to be selfish. To know what we can or cannot do. Then make the right decision and follow through.
Release Often Includes Grief. Release carries with it the necessary stretching of grief.
Two years ago, I released my mother to the eternal as her Alzheimer’s journey ended. While I knew she was headed to a glorious heavenly welcome, her passing also simultaneously led to missing her presence. I literally felt the generational shift.
With my clients, I often have to remind them to ‘Let the manuscript go.’ When we work on a book for over a year, then revise it umpteen times — it is difficult to release it into cyberspace. What if we missed something? A gigantic typo or grammatical error that will slash our credibility. If we can make it better the next time, maybe more readers will share it and royalties will grow.
Or maybe we will drive ourselves crazy trying to reach that invisible pinnacle of perfectionism.
In order to move toward growth we have to release our children into the capable hands of teachers. To discover new projects, we have to let the old manuscript go. To move into a new place of energy and focus, we need to release our schedules and even sometimes — our dreams.
Release Brings Recovery. As we learn to release in healthy ways, set our boundaries, and move through the grief process, we eventually find ourselves in the land of recovery.
Whether we have conquered an addiction or found a way to work through a toxic work situation. When we have released a child, then grieved his absence, we can now accept a fresh start into our new life season. When we make a difficult decision, then congratulate ourselves on the boldness required — we learn something about ourselves.
Growth sometimes happens in spurts, like waking up needing a different sized shoe. But mental, emotional, and spiritual growth happen in trickles. Sometimes we have to force them through a funnel. Sometimes we just need to rest and let them happen.
I think this is where I am headed now. I have made the decision to release. So I will now decide how to spend those days required for conference prepping and being ‘on’ for three days. I plan to rest, to visit with friends, to browse through a Christmas store, and to just be myself.
Eventually, I believe this release will result in recovery. And possibly a more hope-filled end to this year.
©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Check out the ‘release’ of my newest book, Reverend G Meets the Memory Thief.