Series 22 Letting Go Lesson 6: Relationships

Letting Go in Relationships

Purpose:  To reflect on the human tendency to hold on and control – in relationships, plans, daily life, emotions, expectations, etc.  To contemplate letting go of control.

The Ignatian Method of Bible study engages us in the story from different perspectives.  Each time through the reading, you will be asked to read the story from the perspective of a different character.  Take time before each reading to prepare your frame of mind.  This will help you to really get into the skin of the character – who she is and how the events affect her and her life.

Reading 1:  Sarah   (Sarai and Abram in Gen. 16 are the same Sarah and Abraham in Genesis 21).

Preparation  Find a comfortable, solitary place, preferably outside or in a place where you can look outside.  Take note of your surroundings – the sights, the sounds, the sensations of air movement, the smells.  Close your eyes and breathe deeply.  Allow yourself to sit in the embrace of the Creator in a few moments of quiet rest.

Open your Bible to these passages:   Genesis 16:1-15 and Genesis 21:1-21.

You are the wife of Abraham. who, at the age of 75, has been told by God that he would be the father of a great nation.  The promise to your husband was very clear that his child will result in descendants as numerous as the sands of the seashore.  God has repeatedly told Abraham that his descendants would inherit all the land of Canaan.

You are well past child-bearing age, and have never been able to get pregnant – you are barren.

In the world of your day, it is common practice for a woman in your position to give your personal slave to your husband to produce a child.  Any child born of this union would belong to you and your husband, although the birth-mother would still be involved in the raising of the child.

When Abraham talks with you of his encounters with God – the promise of a son, an heir, and the promise for his many descendants to inherit the land as far as the eye could see – how do you feel?

Read  Genesis 16 and 21:1-21 from Sarah’s perspective.

 Use these questions to guide you through the readings, but don’t feel obligated to write answers to them all.

  • What do these accounts tell about your relationship with your husband?
  • What are your feelings toward him? What are your concerns?
  • What were the expectations you had when you began this process?
  • What conflicts arise? With Abraham? With Hagar? With God? Within yourself?
  • How does your life change when Isaac is born? How does your perspective change?  Your relationships?

 Write a paragraph about your experience as Sarah.  What insights have you gained about control, desire, fear, trust, and letting go?

 

Reading 2:  Hagar

Prepare  Take a brief break to clear your mind.  Stand up, walk a few paces, take a drink, or change your sitting/lying position.

You are an Egyptian woman – the personal slave to Sarah, the wife of Abraham.  Sarah and Abraham have lived in Canaan for about ten years when this story begins.   The story covers the span of more than 18 years.

Read these same passages from Hagar’s perspective.

Use these questions to guide you through the readings, but don’t feel obligated to write answers to them all.

  • What do these accounts reveal about your relationship with Sarah, your mistress? With Abraham?
  • What hopes did you have throughout this experience?
  • How does your life change when you meet God? When Ishmael is born? When you are sent away? When you hear the voice of God again?
  • What are the conflicts that are produced? With Sarah? With Abraham? Within yourself?  With God? With Ishmael?

Write a paragraph about your experience as Hagar.  What insights have you gained about control, desire, fear, trust, and letting go?

. . . . . . . . . .

Reflect 

As you consider the experience of Sarah and Hagar, reflect on these questions:

  • What do I need to let go of in order to give God room to start something new?
  • What do I need to lay aside or leave behind in order to be open to new gifts of grace?*
  • How do I limit my life by holding on to control, relationships, expectations, and hoped-for outcomes?
  • What are the things that I might be holding too tightly? Make a list.

Pray  Hold your list in your hands.  Read them out to God, and ask for guidance and willingness to let go of the things that need to be released.

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