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I’m not good at letting go. Sometimes I hold on to dreams that aren’t God’s plan for me. For better and for worse, I am the bee—the busy bee that won’t rest until it extracts sweet nectar from every flower. I look for the good.
But I am also the frantically, futilely buzzing bee,*
That booms against the window-pane for hours
Thinking that the way to reach the laden flowers.
Yes, for better and worse, I am that bee. I hold on to dreams that aren’t God’s plan for me. I’m not good at letting go.
Triggers and Portions
This May everything triggers me. Because this spring more of my long-term, sweet parenting dreams have been dashed. Which means every graduation picture, academic award, and smiling family is a trigger. God’s good gifts to others are not guaranteed to me. They’re not my portion.
But what is a “portion” anyway?
In the Bible the term was sometimes translated “inheritance,” as in the allotment of land God gave to Israel when they entered the Promised Land. All the tribes received a physical space, land to call their own—all except one.
In Deuteronomy 10:9, we read about the priestly tribe whose portion was not land, but the LORD. “Therefore Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers. The Lord is his inheritance, as the Lord your God said to him.”
The Bible has a lot to say about the Lord who is our portion.
- The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. Psalm 16:5
- You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words. Psalm 119:57
- I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:5
- My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
- “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:24
I want to count it joy that the LORD—not successful sons, or a famous husband or a thriving ministry— is my portion. My chosen portion. I want to believe, I do believe, what Elisabeth Elliot said, that what God does to me, he does for me.
Which means I must stop buzzing at the window and choose to hope in him to receive the lot for me.
How to Reframe Pain Points to Trigger Your Joy
This blog is for softer, stronger saints who embrace—not just survive, but embrace; not just go through, but grow through—God’s sometimes uncomfortable grace. It’s about a faith that can reframe trials as joy. It’s about using our pain points—like upbeat posts of what is not our lot—to prompt us to take joy in what is our assigned portion.
This is just another way we count loss as gain. We do feel the loss, and can grieve what is not. But then we do the 90-second reset, and reframe the pain with a truth script. It might sound something like this:
The Lord is my portion. I will sit at Jesus’ feet. I choose the good portion that can never be taken (Luke 10:42).
By grace and with effort, we can use the triggers to push us to the One who is wisely working all things (Ephesians 1:11, Romans 8:28) and who will perfect that which concerns me (Psalm 138:8). We can choose to renew our minds with truth.
I used to think letting go was weak and grasping dreams was strong.
To be sure, sometimes clinging is strong—like when Abraham “hoped against hope” that he and Sarah would bear a promised child. But Abraham had a sure and personal promise from God. These sort of dreams we must never release.
But I’m talking about my personal dreams, the ones that become nightmares as they crumble.
Mary Lowman explored the “the gift of letting go” in her podcast this month. She says letting go of these five things—our past, the small stuff, the desire for revenge or have control, and, yes, our dreams—is both freeing and peace-giving. I agree.
But there’s one more thing she said keeps looping through my head. It did when, in my garage, I heard that buzzing bee. When I let go of a dream, I realized how much of my pain was self-inflicted. Which reminds me of what Jonah prayed in the fish’s belly, Those who cling to worthless idols [read: my mama dreams] forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
This month I feel that. And I don’t want to forfeit God’s grace.
The Strength Of Letting Go
Now I see strength of character revealed in those who let go of personal dreams. They don’t cling.
These friends have freedom and peace. They refuse to allow a dream hold their joy captive. They refuse to let “the givens” and “the not givens” steal their peace. These people live like the Lord is their portion—not will be their portion, but is, right now, today.
Whether or not a husband, wife, or children, health, wealth, or house, graduation or award are given, these meek people have chosen their lot and in it, they find peace.
These quiet, strong saints know how to let go.
Not Mine To Hold
Elizabeth Elliott wrote,
I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things which happened to us which do not belong to our lovingly assigned portion? Are some things then, out of the control of the Almighty?Keep A Quiet Heart
Heaven is not here, it’s there. If all my dreams were fulfilled this side of heaven, I might settle for this world rather than the next. I forfeit God’s grace if I keep buzzing at the windowpane, if I don’t let go of my dreams.
I don’t hold my lot. The Lord holds my lot. He is my portion. In him, not in my accomplishment or my sons’ success, is my portion.
The portion he gives is best. So I will let go, trust God and rest.
The Bee I Shall Be
So can you guess what happened after this last, wing-weary bee video I filmed in my garage?
I gently took the bee off in a tissue and shook him out into his lot, which happens to be a yard full of thousands of blooming daisies.
* * * * *
I was the triggered, buzzing bee and, so help my God, I shall be the quiet, free bee.
Because left to my own will—clinging to my dreams, ignoring my portion, and outside my lot—I would have died upon the windowsill.
For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
*‘If we could speak to her,’ my doctor said,
‘And tell her, “Not that way! All, all in vain
You weary out wings and bruise your head,”
Might she not answer, buzzing at the pane,
“Let queens and mystics and religious bees
Talk of such inconceivables as glass;
the blunt lay worker flies at what she sees,
Look there – ahead, ahead – the flowers, the grass!
”We catch her in a handkerchief (who knows
What rage she feels, what terror, what despair?)
And shake her out – and gaily out she goes
Where quivering flowers and thick in summer air,
To drink their hearts. But left to her own will
She would have died upon the window-sill.– C.S. Lewis, Poems