Fear of Letting Go
I took this picture of my son a few weeks ago during at trip to one of the local parks. It was one of those moments I just happened to catch on camera. Usually, my nearly two-year-old is fearless, climbing up everything and going down the steepest slide without any hesitation. But this time, just as he started slipping down he frantically grabbed the sides, fearing to let go. And so here he was paralyzed by his fear and refusal to let go.
Looking at the picture later that day, it occurred to me that this image was a beautiful illustration of the faith journey. So often we say, “Jesus, I trust in you,” only to hold on for dear life instead of letting go and trusting in His plan. As something of a control freak myself, I know this fear well. That fear of things not going according to plan. The fear of losing control. The fear of the unknown, even if it might be something new and thrilling.
Trust and Love Go Hand in Hand
As a young girl, I used to play a game with my father where I would climb a tall object or piece of furniture and jump down to him. I can remember the feelings of delight and anticipation each time; the eagerness to climb up as quickly as possible so that the game could be repeated. Over the years, I’ve watched many other children play similar games with their parents. And what amazes me every time is the complete love and trust that this act demonstrates. As the child jumps, there is no fear or anxiety. Only the unshakeable knowledge that their father will catch them, allowing them to simply delight in the exhilaration of the moment.
Love and trust go hand in hand. The more we love someone, the more we entrust ourselves to them–physically, emotionally and spiritually. Often times, this is where our wounds and baggage come from as human beings fail us, hurting or even destroying our trust. Yet God is not like this. Though we are utterly undeserving, he sent his only Son to die for us so that we can be eternally joined with him.
Trust = Cooperation with Grace
Though we are each wholly unworthy, Christ chose to redeem us through his precious blood. In that ultimate act of love, Jesus opened wide the gates of mercy. Yet even still we remain important players in the salvation narrative in that each of us has the ability to embrace or accept God’s mercy. When we hold onto our feelings of unworthiness, our pride, or anxieties, or our need for control, we choose the path of self which can only lead to destruction. But when we choose to let go, to humbly ask for and accept forgiveness, and to embrace the freedom of trust we simultaneously choose the path of salvation.
Jesus, I choose to Trust in You!
This is difficult; this is the path toward sanctity. And I’ll be honest, I know I will fail often. But today, on this Feast of the Divine Mercy I choose to re-entrust myself to Christ. I choose to run to His merciful arms and to try my absolute hardest to abandon all fears and anxiety. Most importantly of all, I choose to continue fighting the good fight so that one day I can say with St. Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).