Beira Brown | artist seeking life's borderless extravagance »

Roots | Letting Go

Last summer as we walked through the garden, John encouraged me to clear out some sick pumpkin vines to avoid losing the healthy ones. The vines were overgrown and entangled with one another. It was a job that required the gardening shears.

Just when I thought I was succeeding, I realized that I had severed the healthiest vine bearing the superstar pumpkin of the garden. And it was not, according to my measure, finished growing or ready to harvest.

At some point, John came back outside and found me standing in a mess of tangled vines. I confessed my mistake. I think he could see the pain and disappointment written all over my face because in true problem-solving MacGyver mode, he suggested duck taping the vine and hoping it would fuse back together as nature will sometimes miraculously do. But I had left no hope of that. Not only had I cut the vine, I had ripped it out by its roots.

As the big tears welled up, I made my way to the shower to rinse off all the dirt and sweat. I sobbed without truly understanding why I was so upset over a pumpkin vine.

I knew there was something beyond the physical devastation that had taken place in the garden.

Then I saw the parallel between that garden episode and what was taking place within my own life. There were situations that were not healthy yet I was not accepting their reality. I was insisting to continue life as if I could be healthy while surrounded by them. I was ignoring the disillusionment trying to take place.

It’s funny how illusions creep into our lives. It’s not so funny how illusions limit our ability to fully live and experience freedom.

Yet, when we experience disillusionment, we meet it with resistance and apprehension because there is pain involved. But I want you to imagine me looking deep into your eyes saying, “Embrace the disillusionment and work through the pain.”

The word disillusioned has a negative emotion pegged to it, but if we looked closer at the true meaning of the word, we would rejoice each and every time we experience it. Being awakened to the reality that a belief or ideal we’ve held is false is a good thing!

Isn’t being disillusioned a version of the truth setting us free?

Isn’t it a way of breaking deception off our lives?

Isn’t it a shift in our vision to have clear expectations, dreams, ideals, norms, and thoughts?

I wonder if the pain of disillusionment is the adjustment our eyes go through as they move out of darkness into the new brightness, clarity, and vibrancy of our true life in Light.

God breaking illusions off our lives is His way of getting us out of a crazed way of living.

You know what we most often do instead of accepting the disillusion? We get stuck in the pain. We insist on trying to mend when God has already ripped out the roots.

Like the idea of duck taping the vine, we try to mend it all back together again, pretending like we could possibly go on living the same way as before. It is not possible once you know.

I remember myself scrambling, having a flood of thoughts. Please, Lord, don’t let this be it for my beautiful pumpkin! This can’t be how it comes to an end.

Just as I had snipped the pumpkin vine, God was snipping illusions in my life, bring clarity to situations and relationships I had avoided seeing before. Yet I was holding on, hoping it would turn out just as I had imagined, that somehow a miraculous mending would take place. But instead what I saw were the roots out of the ground and what I heard was a loud yet gentle, “No.”

Our attempts to mend when the roots have already been pulled up are a sign of our resistance to God and His order, His authority, and His plan when it doesn’t look like what we had imagined. It’s a sign that we are crazed by the illusion.

Months later, as I conversed with John I heard the answer to my own questioning and wrestling roll off my lips:

“I need to let go. I’ve been released!”

Sometimes the best thing God can say to us is “no.”

Sometimes the best thing God can do for us is to preserve our soul.

Sometimes the best thing God can give us is an end to the season of having our soul crushed.

Sometimes the best He can give us is a new space where our soul can flourish.

Stop trying to mend what is crushing your soul. Let it go. It’s dead.

I know you might think what I’m saying is rough. I know it doesn’t seem like a good answer, like it doesn’t align with God’s plan. Do we ever fully understand the way God works out His plan for us?

You ask yourself, “How could it come to an abrupt end?”

Make sure it’s not an illusion blinding you from the wise answer, the right thing to do, and God’s true plan for you.

God’s main interest is leading us to a place where our soul is whole so we can flourish. Letting go is a choice to live in that reality.

God wants to release us from the situations, circumstances, relationships, systems, and the things that we’ve built that are crushing our soul, but He can’t do that while we insist on seeing it turn out our way.

Restoration isn’t always the ultimate plan. At least not restoration in the way we imagine it. Our vision of restoration needs to align to God’s vision because while we might be looking at something external, He’s looking to restore the internal depths of our being.

The ultimate plan is to restore the true person He created us to be.

As I reflect on the past two years of my life, I laugh at some of the vines I was trying to mend because, in hindsight, they were dead and I was blind to not see it.

Then there are other vines lying in the compost pile that I must remind myself every time I feel the urge to mend, “Do not go digging for them. They’re dead. You’ve been released…”

…Released to birth a new dream and step into the new season, and to do it with a healthy and whole soul.

We need to be healthy and whole. The pace of His rhythm is increasing and the season is new. We won’t keep up without letting go of the weights slowing us down.

If we don’t let go, it will start feeling heavy and we’ll find ourselves living outside of the unforced rhythms of grace. We’ll lose our rest. We’ll fall behind. We’ll get stuck.

I know that letting go of illusions is painful, but remember whom we are tethered to.

Letting go is not the same as Him letting go of us.

Letting go of the thing that is sitting heavy in our heart will clear the space so He can pull us in closer.

Letting go will create the space our soul needs to flourish.

Will we allow Him to rip down the illusions?

Will we stop trying to mend what is dead?

Will we accept the new season?

Will we choose to live in God’s reality?

The disillusionment and pain are temporary. They will not last forever, but the new brightness, clarity, and vibrancy of your true life will be everlasting.

***I left the pumpkin hanging off the dead vines until it ripened (as you see above). It never did miraculously mend back to life.***


Phil BakerSeptember 23, 2016 - 3:54 am

Beira & John,
I loved reading this and remembering our conversation “way back when!”

Thanks for this glimpse into your hearts as you processed – and are processing this journey!

We love and admire you both greatly, and MISS you big time!


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