Even though it's a natural and even expected response when you see a title like "Giving Up," don’t rush to conclusions. I’m not giving up. My hunch and my hope is that you are not giving up either. Instead let’s think of what the flip side of that coin could be. The other side of giving up. Letting go. Extending grace. Maybe this giving up is something for us to consider.
There are internal and external ways of being intentional about giving up, and letting go as we journey on through this Lenten season. There are things we do that are outward and visible signs. There are things that happen inside, not ready to be seen yet, or possibly not to be seen at all. Both what is seen and what happens on the inside are our ways of living into these coming-into-Jerusalem days.
Internally giving up. There is still time to give up things that are happening internally that pull us off the path. Practices and patterns that bruise our relationship with God and neighbor. Ruts of thinking where we continue to find ourselves. Name them and claim them. Wander around beside and through them. And then, consider – giving them up. For instance, I am embarrassed to say that in my head I (truly) believe that I know what someone who wears a MAGA hat is thinking. I see a perfect stranger in that red hat and believe that I know what s/he is feeling and hoping for. I am so weary of that belief. This practice-of-judging/knowing has grown far too cumbersome and heavy for me to carry. GIVE IT UP. Internal dances that are continually and purposelessly happening in my head – I want, I need to let go of, to give up.
Externally giving up. There are so many habits that I have honed throughout my life that truly are no longer serving me. Getting there first. Driving in Atlanta has made me a little nutty, I confess. The idea of someone cutting in line, after I have waited in that very same line for two lights, sends me over a cliff. NO! NO! NO! Not gonna happen. And to what end? Really, what is the purpose of not letting another in? Being right? Being righteous? Getting someplace one light earlier? GIVE IT UP.
Perhaps these are too personal, too trivial. I hope that somewhere between the lines there is a place for all of us to consider this practice. Giving up in these winter-into-spring days when we are asked to turn and return to the One who is continually turning towards us. This One who turns toward all of us, those who wear read hats and those who don’t; those who wait through 3 or 4 red lights on their way to work and those who choose to find a gap in the line. All of us.
Turning and returning is our work to do. Giving up along the way just might make the journey a little lighter. It just might allow us to focus on what matters more and what matters most. Truth is, we could all use a little grace.