“Mommy, there’s a biwd in awe house!”
“A real bird?”
“Mommy, come quick. Daddy lef the doow open. It’s in awe liveen woom.”
I leapt out of bed and followed my five-year-old into the living room where a blue Western Scrub-Jay ruffled the window blinds and house plants.
“What’s going on?” My eight-year-old, Haven, came out wiping her eyes. “Agh!”
Haven and Sadie hid behind me as the bird began to hop around pillows on the window seat, then the rug on the floor.
“What do we do?” Sadie asked.
“We call Daddy.” I called my husband, informed him that he’d left the door open again (last time it was a black cat with yellow eyes who wandered in), and asked what we should do.
He laughed, apologized, and said to leave the front door open. “Good luck.”
I muttered “thanks,” grumbled “I love you,” and opened the front door wide. Then we ran into my room and hid until the bird left.
I’ve always loved birds. I even have a book about Northwest birds so that I know who’s visiting our yard each day. But as it made itself at home, the once beautiful and treasured guest became scary and overwhelming. All I wanted was for it to leave.
Does this scenario sound familiar? Oftentimes the things we want most (a spouse, children, degrees, careers, cars, friends, Amazon wish-list items) aren’t as magical as we imagined once we have them. It’s not that I don’t love having things and a family. I love being a writer, mom, wife, and teacher. But I think sometimes the dream of something is more beautiful from a distance. Which is why I’ve found it best to let go before who and what I love the most becomes the very thing that has me hiding.
I’ve got to tell you. Relinquish is not my favorite word.
To let go feels like I’ve failed. I’d rather use the word perseverance or determination. Those two words mean I haven’t given up, and that to me is succeeding. But as a Christian, I wouldn’t be practicing my faith if I didn’t pause to surrender to Jesus. I could try on my own. I could figure out this publishing thing, this mom thing, this teaching thing, but I’ve failed and hidden often enough to know I can’t fully do it by myself.
At a writer’s conference one year, when the keynote speaker asked if we value our books more than we value our God, I relinquished it all to Him, knowing that I may never see my books sell much and that was okay. I told God, “I don’t want to let go, but I will anyway because you’re more important to me and I want to see your glory in my life.” Although I mourned a little over the possible death of my books, I felt peace, like a burden I’d been carrying was lifted.
Whatever happens in my writing career, I choose contentment because sometimes the secret to success is letting go.
What do you need to let go of today?
I believe God wants to give you abundant peace as you relinquish every part of you into His kind and waiting arms.
Amy Earls is a professor of first-year college students and holds a master’s degree in education for adult learners with a focus in writing. Amy is passionate about helping teens and adults build strong faith. When she’s not grading papers, she’s writing, mentoring authors, or dreaming up ways to make life an adventure. She lives in a bike-riding and Beaver-loving college town in Oregon with her husband, two daughters, and a never dying goldfish.
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