Let it be what it is.

My mother was a doer. She could turn a phrase with the best of ‘em, but she was a woman of action and just flat got things done. A look back into the roughness of her childhood reveals the why behind her get-to-it-ness, though it isn’t a pretty picture. Mama learned early on that she could seldom depend on others, so if it was going to get done, she might as well get at it.

Not surprisingly, I grew up to be an independent girl, and had I remained unmarried past the age of 16, that tendency might have grown even stronger. While my life has been marked by key differences in comparison to my mother’s, her legacy of get-‘er-done most definitely rubbed off on her only daughter.

The tendency to tackle tasks head-on has served me well over the years, but I have to say it has often created undue stress and hardship. God knows this, of course, and I presume that is the reason behind something He whispered into my heart last summer.

I had been worried over one of the multitude of concerns that came along with 2020 and was writing in my journal when God clearly spoke into my spirit, “Let it be what it is.”

I stopped writing, tilted my head, and whispered back, “Wait, what?”

I pictured God smiling with a twinkle in His eye as He clearly repeated, “Let it be what it is.”

I sat there for a long time contemplating those words, trying them on for size in a number of situations over which I was currently fretting. One by one I asked God about each concern, and I felt His gentle persistence after each one with that same little six-word decree.

I didn’t sense God telling me not to pay attention to what was happening in the world, in my family, or in my own hurting heart. I sensed Him telling me to let it be what it is, what it isn’t, what it will eventually be.

It occurred to me that I’d been acting as though I thought God was asleep on the job.

I admit that I wasn’t at all certain how to let certain things be what they were, given that most of those things were more than a little troublesome and bewildering. How does a thinking woman lay down her concerns over what is happening in her nation and the world? How does a mother lay down her worries over the children she birthed and raised and adores?

I thought back to a conversation a few years ago with my friend Jo Ann, who described her approach to friendship as open-handed, in that she allowed it to breathe, to flex, to be. The opposite, I presumed, was tight-fisted and restrictive and I pictured such a friendship smothering to death under such pressure.

Then I thought about mothering and how I really have tried hard over the years to mother with an open heart and hands and give my children the freedom to fly and live fully into the purpose for which God set them apart. That’s about the time I recognized that while I’ve done that in a physical sense—being careful not to over-speak or interfere in their lives—it was not necessarily accomplished in a heart sense because quite frankly my heart was feeling pretty rough.

I pondered open-handed mothering, then pressed those thoughts further into open-hearted mothering and God’s words started to make more sense from a mental-emotional standpoint. Let it be what it is. The situation at work. The state of the world. Health and wellbeing. What other people think. What my adult children do and don’t do. All of it.

I remember a year or so ago talking with my friend Suz and mentioning the concept of open-handed mothering. She laughed (probably out loud) and said that for her, it was more like shut-mouthed mothering. Then I laughed, too, recalling numerous times I’ve physically placed my hand over my mouth (or walked away from my phone or computer) to make sure I held fast to wisdom rather than jerking a knot in someone’s tail (as my mother always said).

I’m still learning what it looks like to “Let it be what it is.” Something tells me I won’t ever stop learning how to live life open-handed and open-hearted, letting God be Who He is in every circumstance. I guess my job is to continue to trust Him and know that He is for me and He is for my children and He will continue to grow us all up to know and love and serve Him better.

Being the daughter of a do-something Mama, this girl isn’t naturally inclined to sit back and observe, but right now in many respects, I sense that being exactly what God has in mind. And I don’t necessarily think He wants me silent all the time, or why would He have given me a voice and ideas and spunk? I guess I just have to learn the season markers for speaking and staying silent. Easy, right?

It’s been a hard year. As I do my best to walk out “Let it be what it is,” I pray for wisdom to let God do what He does. I pray the same for everyone who vacillates between hush-up and do-something. Sometimes we need to jerk knots in tails, and sometimes we just need to let go and trust—in God, and in what He is doing in the lives of those we love and beyond. I can’t see everything, but He does.

So here I am with open hands and an open heart, faithfully and prayerfully letting it be what it is.