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Your Turn: Holding All Things Loosely

a person holding sand with it running through their fingers - holding all things loosely including your self-esteem
For years, I wondered what the secret was to a healthy self-esteem. But I have realized recently that it must not be my focus.

I will hold loosely to things that are fleeting
And hold on to Jesus, I will hold on to Jesus for life

Steven Curtis Chapman — “Hold On To Jesus”

When the calendar turned to 2014, I decided to do things differently than I had in the past. First on the list: no online dating. I had tried so many websites for so many years, and I needed a break. I finally recognized that if God had wanted me married at that point (age 35), I would have been married. I needed to step back and reassess some things (and my level of trust in God).

I’ve always been a “fixer,” so my list for 2014 contained some tasks as well. New Year’s resolutions always give me a perfect excuse to add to my to-do list. Depression was still on the list, as it had been for many years. I also needed a plan to “fix” my self-esteem, which had always been pretty low. Weight loss again made the list. And I definitely wanted a new job.

I started the year with gusto. I asked my church elders to pray for healing for the depression (James 5:14). This was a good and needed step, and one that I should have taken years earlier.

I perfected my resume and started applying to jobs online. I went to a second interview for one job, but never heard back. So I sent out more resumes.

I kept thinking about the self-esteem issue.

As this year went by, I struggled to check anything off my list. I wasn’t doing online dating, so that did get a check mark, but I couldn’t come up with a plan to “fix” depression or self-esteem. Perhaps I needed a book or a conference or a new small group. I continued my search for solutions. I’ve always been goal-oriented, and I knew there must be a fix.

In May, a funny thing happened. Actually a few things happened. First, a recruiter called me. Yes, you read that right: A recruiter called a girl with a journalism degree. Some of you know how rare that is. They wanted to send my resume to one of the nation’s largest employers, and could I meet with them soon? Yes. Yes. And yes.

When I met the recruiter, she said mine was the only resume they were sending over. She called me the same day to say the company wanted to interview me!

The interview was short and sweet, and I got the job. I am so grateful the Lord blessed me in this way, especially because it was not because of my frenetic job search, but simply because of His goodness.

Something happened with depression, too. After seeing countless psychiatrists and counselors over the years, I felt like I had tried everything, including nearly every medication option. In May, my psychiatrist suggested I try a supplement. I was more than a little skeptical, but I agreed.

After a few weeks, I started to feel better. I mean, much better. It was clear that the supplement (which contains a form of folic acid that is easier for your body to use) was working. Another extraordinary blessing from the Lord!

My self-esteem also began to improve — without any effort on my part!

What was going on?

It was about that time that Candice Watters’ Q&A came out titled “What’s wrong with me that I’m still single?

To say that my story is similar to the woman asking the question is an understatement: I actually thought Candice may have rearranged some of my questions to her over the years and used them in this post!

While reading this post, it struck me: Things were beginning to fall off my to-do list on their own because I was no longer focusing on them but instead holding them loosely and focusing on the Lord.

“When we seek Him first above all else, we loosen our grip on all other lesser things,” Candice wrote. “And the more we do, the more we are able to trust Him.” Candice also quoted Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

This has really been the key for me in moving forward in several areas — holding things more loosely (dating, weight loss, job satisfaction, depression). I have found that with nearly everything, if you hold tightly to it and focus on it, you will not make progress. If you hold things loosely and hold tightly to the Lord, you will move forward.

For years, I wondered what the secret was to a healthy self-esteem. But I have realized recently that it must not be my focus. It’s simply impossible to improve self-esteem by focusing on it; it just doesn’t work. The same goes for weight loss. If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know that all you can think about is food. I see so much improvement in these areas as I focus on God and the good things in my life.

So I press on (Philippians 3:12) — holding loosely to all things.


Jennifer Mia lives in Florida. She loves dogs and likes to journal in her spare time. 

If you would like to contribute a post to the Boundless blog’s “Your Turn” Friday feature, see “Writers Wanted” for more details.

Copyright 2014 Jennifer Mia. All rights reserved.

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