Ernie has a problem.
He’s learning to play the saxophone but whenever he plays a note he hears a silly squeak. He seeks help from a jazz aficionado, Mr. Hoots, who quickly identifies the issue: Ernie is trying to play the sax while holding a rubber duckie in his hand. Mr. Hoots knows it’s impossible to play this way, so he gives Ernie some sage advice:
When my youngest was little she took her pink stuffed bunny and a cross-stitched pillow everywhere she went. Baby and Bubba ate with her, slept with her, watched TV with her, went on vacations and trips to the grocery store with her. There wasn’t a place in the world she was where they were not.
When it came time for her to go to preschool, we had to explain that Baby and Bubba needed to stay at home. As you might imagine, this did not go over well. At four years old she couldn’t understand why carrying around these two objects of her affection might impede learning new things.
Rather than wrench her loves out of her chubby little hands, we let her take them to school on the condition they stayed in her backpack. All the way to school she’d bury her face in Bubba and hug Bunny tight. When we arrived, she would gently place them into her backpack where they’d stay until I picked her up later. I imagine at some point during the day she might have gone over to her cubby, unzipped her pack, and given them a whiff to comfort herself.
Whether we are learning something new or stepping into a new season, it’s tempting to hold on to things that bring us comfort and security. But in order to fully embrace what God has in store for us, we might need to lay them down.
I’ve been holding on to a past life – pining away for it really – so I haven’t been able to live abundantly where I’m at. I’ve held on to ideas of who I thought I was, or who people wanted me to be, and missed out on trying new things. I’ve held on to expectations and offense, which prevented me from growing in my relationships. I’ve held on to practical things like candy corn and missed out on embracing broccoli.
What are you holding on to?
The familiar? Fear? Image? Your pride? Your past? Candy corn? Ducks? Can you lay it down?
When your hand is empty, it’s free to hold on to God.
For I hold you by your right hand—
I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
Here’s how things worked out for Ernie: Sesame Street Put Down The Duckie.