Maybe it’s because I have three girls, but I can’t even see that phrase “letting go” or anything close to it anymore without thinking of Elsa. We haven’t even watched that movie much here, but she has officially ruined the phrase with the earworm song. I’d like to say that it’s in spite of that that I don’t like to let go, but it would be a lie.
We are a homeschooling family, and recently, I have been looking for assurance that this is the path for us. One of the reasons is simply because I am not as organized and together as I once thought. I’m more a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl, and the thought of being in charge of someone’s education about makes me nauseous. The other reason is that I have listened to several women confessing their worries for their children in school who are lonely or having a hard time. I keep thinking, “Maybe my daughter could help! Maybe she could be a friend to girls that just need a friend.” But over and over, God has affirmed that the place for my children, at least for now, is in our home. And through this, I have been learning the difference in a bubble and incubation.
I love incubators. You know them? They are those amazing inventions that holds eggs and nurtures them at the perfect stability and temperature until the tiny life inside is ready to peep out. We kept one in our classroom once when I was in elementary school, and the concept has stuck with me ever since.
Sometimes, I am guilty of trying to incubate my children to help them grow in grace and faith, but all I’m really doing is shoving them into a bubble and stunting their growth and effectiveness. Other times, I fear I’ve put them in a bubble, but in fact, they are perfectly placed in a little incubator.
That goes for me, too. Recently in my reading, I came across the story of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb with Jesus. In John chapter 20, a distraught Mary is weeping outside of the empty tomb. She had already seen two angels inside the tomb and told them why she was crying, yet she didn’t even think to ask them anything. She just stood there, dumbfounded and blinded by her grief. Jesus approached her and she didn’t even recognize Him. Until He said her name, that is.
She instantly recognized His voice and fell at His feet crying out, “Rabboni!” (my teacher). Then He told her not to cling to Him. Not to cling to Him! “Don’t cling to me but go and tell.”
I have been blessed by several years in an incubation period. Yes, years…apparently, some of us really need years and not weeks to learn certain lessons. I am certain, however, that God is now pulling me out of what has now become a bubble. He’s telling me firmly to stop clinging to Him and go and do. And I am completely freaked. out. No thanks, Jesus. I’ll just lay here at your feet like a starstruck teen and gaze into your eyes while we sip a milkshake from two straws. Right? Recently, I read Francis Chan’s newest book You and Me Forever, and in it, he uses a comparison to some Christians and people who have become too obese to enjoy their lives or even leave their homes. He says that they consume and consume, but never exercise that off. Similarly, there are Christians who consume and consume. Sermons, books, podcasts, everything, but they fail to exercise that faith and become so bloated with facts and no active love that they are paralyzed by it. And yet, they still feel like they need to consume more and more!
That’s been me, and I never even saw it. And now, I am told to let go. Stop clinging so hard to the comfortable, safe place that I love but is no longer effective. What about you? Are you being incubated now? Maybe it’s become a bubble of safe, comfort with people you love and a place that makes you feel warm and fuzzy? Or maybe, you’ve braced yourself for the wind and cold, and trudged out into the world to go and do. If so, thank you for the work and for the example. The rest of us will try to keep up.