Podcast #6 – Learning to LET GO and LET GOD! This is amazing opportunity to learn about a beautiful story of letting go of control and letting God depend on HIM! You are going to LOVE it and be inspired! Give it a listen below!
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Notes on the podcast below:
Marissa: HEY FRIENDS thanks for stopping by. Last week we had a great and inspiring time learning about church and how it relates to us and our family. If you didn’t get a chance to listen make sure you head over to RaisingRices and check it out! Today as we are continuing our awesome series of Guest Speakers I am super excited to introduce you to a friend of mine who I met actually when I was pregnant with my first child and we met at a birthing class. The birthing class was based on the Bradley Method and truly a wonderful experience and what Darren and I used as a guide in all of our births.
My dear friend Mary is here with us today, and as humble as she is would never admit it but she is a WEALTH of knowledge! Someone I regularly go to for advice, prayer and friendship. We are honored to have her on today! Welcome Mary!
MARY: Thanks for having me on.
Marissa: Mary has been a source of wisdom and a fabulous prayer warrior in my life. Today I am very intrigued about the topic we are going to be discussing! In fact I will let Mary introduce it to you since she has a great story behind the topic today.
MARY: So to start, a little background is that I’m one of those people that loves to set New Year’s goals and for the last few years I have chosen a “word” to help define my focus for the year. I’ve done words like “able” and “enough”, and it’s been a really helpful practice in my life that I’ve enjoyed. So at the end of last year, I was kind of trying to think through what God wanted me to focus on for 2018. 2017 was a pretty rough year for our family, lots of loss and challenges, so I was feeling kind of emotionally shellshocked in a way and just really worn out. Something that I’ve found about myself is that when life gets kind of tricky, I tend to get really controlling with whatever I possibly can. It’s like, if life is out of control, I’m desperate to find SOMETHING I can control. I’m kind of a typical first-born, perfectionistic and really high standards for myself, so the yucky side of that is that I definitely get controlling. So that’s where I was at when 2017 ended—worn out and emotionally drained, and just clawing at whatever I could control. So I felt like with all of that, God was calling me to just let go and let Him take care of things. That felt really scary to me, which was a clue that it was probably what He wanted me to focus on! So I started digging, trying to figure out what kind of word would “capture” that truth of letting go, and ended up looking into if there is a Hebrew word for “let go”. I was really blown away by what I found! The first thing that came up with my online search was the verse Psalm 46:10, which is one I’ve always really loved. It says “Be still and know that I am God.” It’s just always spoken to my frazzled, controlling, always-going spirit! Well, something I never knew is that the part that is translated as “be still” is actually the Hebrew word “râphâh”, and when I did some studying on that word, here’s what I found:
רָפָה râphâh, raw-faw’; a primitive root; to slacken (in many applications, literal or figurative):—abate, cease, consume, draw (toward evening), fail, (be) faint, be (wax) feeble, forsake, idle, leave, let alone (go, down), (be) slack, stay, be still, be slothful, (be) weak(-en).
So, the literal translation of that verse I’ve read and loved for so long, is actually “râphâh (LET GO, drop, literally let your hands hang down slack) and know that I am God.” That was such a powerful word picture for me, envisioning myself just dropping everything, letting my hands hang down, being WEAK instead of trying to stay strong and keep it all together, and LET GOD HANDLE IT. So, that’s the word I chose for this year: râphâh.
Marissa: That is so great Mary and super inspiring! How has this LET GO principal in your life helped you, your family, and your relationship with God.
Mary: First, God is teaching me to let go in my role as a mother. I think that motherhood is automatically one of those roles in life that has the highest risk of guilt, just because of the intense responsibility and importance it holds, but I also feel that living in this day and age makes “mommy guilt” way more intense and frequent. I really feel that one of the most damaging things to mothers is the idea that somehow everything is “our fault”, whether for good or not-so-good. If we have well-behaved children, we are told what a good job we are doing. If our kids are in a trickier stage, we are often judged (silently or not-so-silently) and end up feeling intense guilt. I’ve noticed that it isn’t even just what friends or family say in a moment of our kids’ misbehavior, but also some of the parenting magazines and books I’ve read have fed me this idea that I am somehow in control of how my kids turn out. There are countless lists of how what we do incites behavior problems in our kids. Your kid is throwing tantrums? It’s because YOU don’t give him enough attention. Your daughter is regressing in her potty-training? YOU probably forced her to start training too soon, and now it’s all ruined.On and on it goes, until the voices in our heads ends up constantly questioning and berating every decision we try to make as parents, and every misbehavior or little quirk of our kids leads us to blame ourselves. Now, of course as parents we DO have pretty powerful influence over our kids’ behavior, and there are things we can do to help or hinder them in their development. But to take EVERYTHING on ourselves, and to believe that how our kids end up is all up to us and our abilities and actions, is a very disheartening and dangerous thing. I can’t control my kids. They are their own people, with their own decisions, weaknesses, and abilities (or lack thereof!) and God purposely designed them that way! He also purposely gave them to ME to parent, in spite of MY weaknesses. Something so encouraging that my own mom has told me over and over again is that God “fills in the gaps”. Where I mess up or fail as a parent, God can and will come in and meet my child’s need. They are His first, and He loves them more than I ever can! I am learning to let go in my mothering—let go of my unfair expectations of myself, let go of the guilt that comes from feeling like I’m failing or messing them up, and let go of my precious children themselves, trusting God to love them and care for them better than I ever could.
Another area I am learning to let go in is in my physical appearance. I think a lot of women and moms in particular struggle in this area. I know we’ve all heard about how damaging it is for women to see super models and other unrealistic body standards, but something that I’ve found damaging that may not be considered as much are the more subtle messages we hear and read even from a medical standpoint! BMI calculators, “ideal” weight charts, “correct” diet and even exercise standards can really combine to make us feel like we just don’t measure up, and don’t do enough to take care of our bodies. We are told from every possible voice how to have the “ideal” form, whether people use that terminology or not, and it is very, very disheartening, not to mention confusing! I’ve heard so many different opinions on what we should and should not be eating that I’m not even sure what is good or not anymore!
Last year I did everything “right” according to the medical experts and society in general. I exercised like a fiend 5-6 days a week, to the point that I made myself nauseous! I counted calories, stopped eating sugar or carbs, and ate an abundance of veggies. I drank half my body weight in water. And guess what? I didn’t lose ONE POUND. Now, yes, I did lose a couple inches, but it was just such a small “payoff” for all of the intense work I was doing that it was totally not worth it! I was making myself completely miserable. Beyond being sad about the lack of results, I was angry. In my head, I was following the “formula” for having a healthy body. Exercise + eating well – carbs and candy (and anything else I really want to eat) = my ideal body weight. What was I doing “wrong” that made my body not respond? Well, guess what? Ultimately, I’m not in control of how my body processes things. God is. He is the one who knit me together and chose everything from my height to my metabolism. So I can do all I can to take care of my body, but there is no guarantee that I will actually end up with the weight or appearance I’m longing for. So, God is teaching me to let go of my expectation that what I do will lead to a fit figure, and to just focus on doing what I can to care for my body (without going overboard and obsessing!)
Lastly, a major area I am learning to “let go” in is in my work as a homeschool mama and homemaker. I am a very orderly, organized person, and I get genuine joy out of planning things and setting up order, whether that be a clean and tidy home or a well-structured day. Well, I’m learning that there are some seasons that order and tidiness and structure just cannot happen! I was actually in one of those seasons at the start of this year. The holidays always kind of throw things for a loop, but right after the New Year, just as I was trying to get back into school, we all came down with the flu–all 5 of us! So that took out another week of trying to get back into our normal routine. And on top of not being able to do school or chores, we were adding extra mess because we were all 5 crowded into the same room for days on end, and things definitely got disordered. It was one of those times where we couldn’t just flip a switch and get back to normal. All of us were feeling weak, out of our normal habits, and just needing a lot of time to get back into things. I would have LOVED to be able to just snap back into a good routine and have a tidy home again, but God wanted me to learn that I needed to let go of those standards, have grace on my family and myself, and trust Him to lay out our days as He desired. I’m not in control of my days—He is! And trying to struggle against that truth to try to force my perfect vision to happen won’t change a thing.
Marissa: Mary, I love your heart! I love how you respond when God speaks to you! What an honor it is to be your friend and to now be able to have you share with my other friends here on RaisingRices. I can’t wait to have you back on here again! But before you leave I would absolutely love it if you could pray for us listening today that we would be able to also “Let go” of the things in life that are holding us back.