Thursday, October 18, 2012

What's the Number One Killer of Women Over Forty?

Russ, the image consultant on the movie, The Kid, sits across from the weeping governor. He poses the question, What's the number one killer of women over forty?

The governor sniffs and frowns, shakes her head.

"Self pity," Russ says, only half joking.

The governor certainly didn't laugh. 

It's said that behind every joke is a bit of truth. I think that applies in this case as well. While self pity likely won't kill a woman physically, it just might kill her spirit and rob others of joy, as she endeavors to suck the life out of those she loves.

My counselor husband tells me there are at least four indicators that a woman or a man, for that matter, is experiencing difficulty letting go.

1. Repetitive worrying that keeps the person awake at night.

2. Repetitive marital conflict that's never resolved. One issue tends to be the go-to problem whenever stress arises.

3. Repetitive sadness or hurt. Christians can sometimes use these terms to camouflage anger or feelings of abandonment. Sadness and hurt sound more benign and tend to elicit sympathy while anger elicits rebuke. 

4. Releasing for a woman begins the day she gives birth, and for the first time someone else touches her child. The release of that little one as s/he grows is a continual "death" of mom. Each transition requires loving detachment, saying goodbye to one stage and welcoming a new one. But in the release comes a precious freedom for both mom and child. 

In each stage the temptation toward self pity can be very real. The antidote: Rehearse who you are.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made in God's image (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139), and thus have great worth and value in His sight. God loves you with an infinite, everlasting love.

If you have received Christ as your Savior, you are now God's child--holy, chosen, forgiven, redeemed, a recipient of His grace (Ephesians, chapters one - three). Your identity, regardless of the changing seasons of life, is fixed. He wants to fill you up with His love so that you can give back to others. Therein lies your joy and purpose. 

Doesn't leave much room for self-pity, doesn't it?

So, if you're struggling in the "letting go" process and find yourself in a pity party, remember to force your focus back to the Lord. In your release of things and people, let Him fill you up to overflowing with His love and joy. Trust Him to be enough, in every season of life. You'll be amazed at how He will come through for you.

3 comments:

chaplaindebbie said...

Great post, Eileen. Personally, I never had a problem letting my children go. But, I fear I may have some difficulty letting my grandson go when he moves to Idaho. I've never been away from him for more than a week his entire 4 years of life, so it will be a hard thing for me. As a parent, you know that your children will be with you until they are adults, but with grandchildren, you can lose them at any given time. Needless to say, I will be learning how to Skype and I will be writing A LOT of letters.

Lisa Jordan said...

At the recent ACFW conference, Allen Arnold talked about our identities as children of God. It was a freeing experience for me.

I'm in a season of life right now where I need to release my children into the world. It's not easy for me, but so necessary for their development as adults.

Thank you for your insightful post!

Eileen Rife said...

Yes, our letting go never really ends, does it, Debbie?

I know what you mean regarding grandchildren. I have three who are in India (parents are missionaries), which forces me to engage in creative grandparenting.

A blog just for communication between grandparent and child where we post pics, videos, games, and other stuff.

Video stories (they love these!)

Skype (they're eating breakfast as we are getting ready for bed. So we help them jump into the day and they help us get to sleep :). They sometimes like to put on a show for us--gymnastics, etc. Sometimes, the older one reads US a story.

Lots of fun!

We actually get to go see them in December for three weeks. Yippee!

But then the goodbyes, all over again. The sadness is just part of it, and never seems to get any easier. But I'm so thankful that we find such joy with one another that we hate to part. So thankful too for the technology that makes the world seem like a smaller place.

We have another grandchild in GA. His parents are preparing to serve in Thailand.

And another two grandkids whose parents serve with a Christian inner city ministry here in town. God was gracious to give us some family right where we live. One of his many sweet surprises!

And yes, Lisa, love releases for the betterment of the child. And for us, so that we can move on to accomplish all that the Lord has for us.

My prayers are with you both.