Posts tagged questions

We’re moving in a week. After 11 years in this big suburban house, we’re downsizing to what will eventually be a cozy cottage.

Drastically downsizing.

And as I’ve emptied storage areas and my closet, sold off furniture and knickknacks, sifted through a hodge-podge of accumulations, I’ve been learning significant and not-so-nice things about myself.

Take, for instance, the box of memories I’ve saved from Matthew’s childhood. Actually, take the multiple boxes of memories. Plastic baseball trophies (for participation! Whoopee!), two worn out teddy bears, the grungy purple cast he wore when he broke his leg- 20 years ago. Geez.

Did I think he would thank me someday? Ah Mom, how sweet, you saved this stinky cast…

Or was I just too lazy to decide?

Or the tea cups. I collected those way back when, using them for wedding showers and tea parties. And even though they’ve sat, unused, in a drawer for all the eleven years we’ve been here, it was hard to set them out for the garage sale. But there they sat, all morning long. No one even glanced at them. I couldn’t give them away!

My dear, diplomatic daughter, Elizabeth summed it up succinctly:


I’ve excused myself for all this saving. I’m nostalgic. These things remind me of people in my life— my children, my mom, old friends.

But here’s what I’m learning, girls…

When we hang on to stuff from the past, we’re impeded from embracing the future.

I think Jesus had something to say about that.

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”

Matthew 9:17

Did you catch that phrase telling us why we’ve got to let go of what we once loved but doesn’t really work so well anymore?

… for the old skins would burst from the pressure…

Whether its tea cups or teddy bears…

or the role we once played in our family…

or the way we once did church…

or the relationship that is so very comfortable but is holding us back from fully following Jesus’ call on our life…

Some stuff has to go, or I’ll never be free to soar.

And so I am sorting. Making hard decisions. Asking myself uncomfortable questions.

Why would I keep this? Is it useful? Do I need it? Am I sure?

And then I’m probing deeper.

Will this crowd up and clutter my new little house? Will storing this cost me more money than it’s worth? Is it worth the aching backs to move it again?

All questions we need to be asking ourselves about how we live our lives.

  1. Are we cluttering up our lives with relationships and roles and obligations that no longer work?
  2. What would letting go free me to do that I am unable to do now?
  3. Have I filled my life with so many responsibilities that I am still not getting to what matters most?
  4. Am I so busy with good things that I’ve no time for the best?
  5. Am I sure this is what I am supposed to be doing?

Maybe you’re like me. You’ve gotten so busy that you’ve not had the time or the energy to free up space to dream.

Maybe we all should ponder Jesus’ words about the importance of letting go.

The context, by the way, has to do with a good thing. A disciple of John the Baptist was put off by the fact that the disciples of Jesus didn’t seem spiritual enough. Unlike other devoted followers of Yahweh, they didn’t fast.

That made them suspect. Less-than-committed. What he’d failed to see was the original intent of fasting and the current purpose assigned to Jesus’ disciples.

Sound familiar?

And so, I’m back to packing and sorting and yet another trip to Goodwill. Getting rid of good things so I have room to create something new.

Even tossing the tea cups.

From my heart,


And you? Do you have a vision for something new? Might you ponder Jesus’ words and how His wisdom relates to your habits?

Please tell us about it! This is scary stuff, this letting go.



Dear Son, Many months ago you came to me with a pressing question. I could see all the bottled up worry working its way through your limbs… fidgets, incessant nose rubbing, scratching imaginary irritants—you were itching and twitching with anxiety.

And of course, that got me worried! What’s going on? What’s the matter? I barely got my concern out of my mouth when your words burst like an unkinked hose.

“I don’t know what’s the matter. I want to move deeper into a committed relationship with this girl. She’s perfect in every way. She loves God passionately, likes me, encourages me, shares my goals, is funny and gorgeous… but I feel like God keeps saying ‘No, wait’. And I don’t know why. What’s wrong? Is it me? Is it her?”

On and on you spilled your angst at not knowing what God seemed to be saying to you. You thought you knew your own heart, but not God’s. And that bothered you...A lot.

So I told you what I learned, "You are experiencing what the preachers and writers and listeners from times past used to call 'a check in your spirit'”.

My advice? 

Wait... “If you do not know what you ought to do stand still until you do.” F.B. Meyer  wrote that  Be still... Shh. Quiet all that noisy self-talk   Stop talking... to your friends, to yourself  Listen… until you’ve had a chance to hear that voice and figure out what He’s hinting at 

What do you hear in the silence?

Is there a nagging worry you’ve tried to ignore? Something not quite right but not blatantly bad?

Or are you just afraid...

That you’ll be labeled a player if a few weeks from now you realize you just don’t click?  That you might get hurt? Embarrassed? Rejected?  Or are you, perhaps, still ingrained with the mystic idea that ‘the one’ is waiting just around the corner to fulfill all your dreams? The perfect match. Your soul mate.

Son, you know,  I don’t believe in perfect-soul-mate-matches-made-in-heaven. More often, I see two God-centered people blending and giving and compromising and rubbing off rough edges and working it out and figuring it out and becoming one… and that’s rarely easy or ideal or especially romantic. 

Too many soul-probing questions without definitive answers?

I have learned not to push those questions underground because God speaks so quietly. He presses on our soul subtly. He asks us to lean in a little closer, He invites us to linger over Scripture a little longer.

So here’s my list of mom-made advice:

  • Wait
  • Watch
  • Stand still
  • Lighten up
  • Go play soccer with some friends
  • Savor a cup of coffee and a good book
  • Relax
  • Don’t force it
  • Have fun

And then go talk to Dad, because he’s not so mystical about finding God’s path. He’ll ask questions and write pro’s and con’s charts on yellow pads of paper.  He’ll say, “Invite her over!” and then he’ll embarrass you and make everyone laugh and you’ll know a lot about how you really feel.

And so next Monday, I’ll post just what your dad has to say. Maybe he’s got a story to tell…

From my heart,


Questions & Comments: Go ahead and ask and I’ll try to answer as best I can.

  • How this looks in real life?
  • Do you have a question about what I mean?