As my college children return home, they bring with them mountains of laundry. What had been an arduous task several years ago, keeping the sports uniforms clean in time for the next game or meet, is now a joy because it means that the little birds are back in my nest. Wading through the detritus of the school year that has migrated into previously pristine spaces, I am thankful for the brief opportunity to wash, iron, and wash again.
As I divide lights and darks, towels and exercise clothes, I am struck by the unfamiliar items I discover. The party t-shirts, the new jeans, a sweatshirt I have never seen worn. It is a reminder that so many of our days are lived apart.
Nestled sweetly in the sheets I discover one very familiar holdover from the younger years when I was a witness to the minutiae of my children’s lives: The security blanket.
Many of us had them as children, some were so beloved they earned their own nicknames. As I hug the blanket to my chest, memories flood my mind. The telephone calls to hotels and restaurants trying to track down a left behind blanket. The mad dash around the house at bedtime because the lights could not go out until the one thing that could ward off danger was clutched firmly in hand.
Standing in front of the washer, I try to decide what else can go in at the same time as this well loved, fraying blankie.
Pushing the gentle cycle, I ponder my own transition into adulthood and begin to think of my own security blanket. Not the circus theme cross-stitched one from my own childhood.
No, I begin to think of the security blanket that I carried for many years. The blanket intricately woven over many years of doubt and discouragement. The one stitched together with phrases like: “not _______ enough”(fill in the blank with any number of descriptive words). Coupled with phrases like: “too loud”, “too opinionated”, and “it does not matter if I __________.” Each statement repeated long enough to keep me on the sidelines and stop me from sharing myself with the world.
Can you relate? If so, you may have carried a security blanket for too long.
All of these phrases of shame that on our repeat in our minds weave together a blanket of shame that we carry around as a shield against the world. This blanket clouds our perception of the world and prevents us from living and revealing aspects of God’s love and character that only we can exhibit.
We choose to play it safe, declining invitations to try something new in case we fail. We stay home instead of investing ourselves in the lives of other people because we have been hurt before. We convince ourselves that our voices do not matter.
God wants our lives to be a colorful tapestry woven together with multicolored threads. Each experience and opportunity He presents is a new color. As we grow and learn new things-the threads are knit together on the underside.
As we come to the end of something familiar, it can be difficult to say goodbye. This ending might even be painful because we don’t quite know the color of the new thread that God wants to weave into the tapestry. But knit He does if we remain tethered to Him with our hands open ready to embrace what He offers.
Often though as we clutch the edges of our security blankets, our hands full of lies, our lives become flat and colorless. We remain in the mediocre, thinking that we are safe. We stay on the sidelines, declining Jesus’ invitation to join Him in the adventure.
Over time though, the blanket weighs us down as life frays the edges of the lies we have told ourselves over the years. We become tired from the burden of the blanket but aren’t quite sure what to do.
So, today is the day to retire the old security blanket and embrace the richly multi-colored tapestry life that God is offering. Lay down the lies that have stopped you from learning something new, offering your wisdom, and loving more deeply. Leave behind anything that shackles you to the sidelines.
Dear Jesus, I want to open my hands to embrace You and all that You offer me today. I want to dive deep into Your love, yet my hands are filled as I grasp my security blanket. Help me to recognize what thoughts are distracting me from recognizing the next thread You offer so that my life becomes a colorful tapestry woven only by You. Jesus, replace each lie with the truth of Your unfailing love. Strengthen me to face the doubt and discouragement with faith and hope so that I can love others more fully. Amen.