Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday’s Essay – Let It Go

Below is an essay I sent to those on the Cove Presbyterian Church e-mailing list. If you're interested in hearing this essay, you can also find a podcast at Podbean (Cove Presbyterian Church).

This morning, I looked at a little YouTube video I hadn’t seen in a long time, one that I think is even better than “What Does the Fox Say” or “Gangnum Style.” I watched the video of “Let It Go,” from Frozen, but not the one directly from the movie. You see, since Disney produces movies for the entire world, it dubs them in different languages, including the songs. And they made a short video with the song being sung in twenty-five different languages. But in the video, it moves from one language to another seamless. And if it didn’t show the different singers, you might swear that Idina Menzel sang them all. I’ll tell you, it’s amazing.

But you know, that’s not why I watched the video this morning. You see, I’ve been thinking a lot about the song in general, and in particular, the title. And it seems to offer some pretty good advice, something that we should probably all consider doing but that’s actually a lot easier for Christians to follow than others. Let me explain.

As I look around, including in the mirror, I see a lot of folks who’d probably be a lot better off if they could just let it go. I mean, for them, something happened in the past: maybe their feelings got hurt or they were disappointed by a comment made or action not taken, or maybe they had to go through something they certainly didn’t choose and probably didn’t deserve. My goodness, they might even feel guilt and shame at something they did to someone else. The specifics don’t really matter. There are plenty of folks, even communities, who’ve been hit by something. But instead of moving forward, they kind of get stuck. In fact, the past becomes an anchor that prevents them from moving at all. It becomes a lens through which they see and interpret their lives. And since they spend so much time dwelling, almost obsessing on what happened rather than moving on, their anger or resentment or disappointment grows and grows and grows, leaving them to turn their backs on the future so that they can live in the past. Now I think we all know that this kind of thing happens all the time.

And you know, when it happens to us, when we slip into this bog, I think the song offers an imperative that would certainly make our lives better. Without trying to pretend that whatever it was didn’t happen, which seems to be a little like trying not to think of a purple monkey, I believe we can let it go. In other words, we can let go of the hurt and disappointment. We can let go of the injustice and unfairness. We can let go of the guilt and shame. You see, we can let go of the anchor so that we can refocus our attention on charting a course forward. And instead of letting a comment or a slight or a disappointment distort our vision, we can see the future for what it is, a bundle of opportunities and possibilities we can claim. In other words, when we’re stuck, we can just let go of whatever’s sticking us.

And this is something we can all do, but like I said, I think it’s a little easier for Christians. You see, even though we’re just as likely to dwell on and in the past, we’re aware of two things that others might not understand. I mean, we know that we’re the children of God. God loves us and is always leading us forward and not backward. And to do that, he’s constantly cleansing our past and equipping us for the future. This is something we know. And second, we know that he’s also a source of strength and guidance so that we can deal with past right now in the present. You see, he can give us the ability to forgive and to confess, to restore and to repent. This is something that’s always available, and all we need to do is to claim and to use it.

Now, “Let It Go” is a great song and when it’s presented by those twenty-five different singers, it’s the basis for an incredible video. But for as good as it is, I believe the advice is even better. I’ll tell you, in spite of the hurts and pains, the disappointments and frustrations, the guilt and shame, the past doesn’t have to hold us back. When we trust in what God’s done and claim what he offers, we can move forward, free from antique yokes and burdens. You see, with both Indina and Elsa, we can truly let it go.

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