His passion is anything he can kick, throw, or dunk. Balls of all sorts indicate action and intentional movement.
He’s not quite two, but Nolan can kick a ball with the best of them. His older brother and sister play soccer, so that may be an option. He can dunk a small ball in a small hoop with a force that defies his size. He uses anything long and easy to hold as a bat or golf club to smack smaller balls.
He doesn’t enjoy sharing his sports equipment. If he’s holding a ball he sees as his own, he doesn’t want to let it go.
Obvious problems arise. Nolan’s hands aren’t big enough to palm even a small ball, so a rubber orb of any size needs to be held with both hands.
That limits what he can do. Choosing to hold onto his ball or let it go to be with his family or play a game can be hard.
The limitations extend past playing. When his mom was trying to change his shirt, he was holding tightly to two balls. She pulled the dirty shirt over his head and got it as far as his wrists–where his grip on what he wanted to hold onto wouldn’t let the shirt go any farther.
Nolan stared at his mom, then down at his hands. His confusion was obvious. He wanted both to hold onto what he valued and what he wanted to do.
I see myself in Nolan’s dilemma. There are things in my life where I’d greatly benefit from letting them go. I hold onto them, not necessarily because I want to but because I’ve gotten used to calling them mine.
One of those things is my insistence on believing lies that have been said about me in the past. Lies like “You’re too much.” Or “You’re never going to be good enough. Why try?” Both lead to a sense of rejection even if they’re not true.
Another thing I hold onto is my sense of entitlement. There are times when I’ve worked hard and feel that I deserve affirmation or at least acknowledgment that I finished the job well. When it doesn’t come, I feel less than others, and I default to the lie that I won’t ever be good enough.
Things can also be complicit for our affections. We can put more emphasis on what we have than on those people in our lives.
Author and theologian C.S. Lewis said, “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” The apostle Paul wrote something quite similar.
“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage–to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Clinging to things, expectations, and entitlements can only bring frustration because they don’t last. There are only three things that last forever–God, His truth, and people. People will spend an eternity depending on how they choose to deal with God.
What are you holding onto that you could release?