What do you have to lose?

I read a poem by Elizabeth Bishop titled One Art. In the poem (shared below), Bishop wrote about an art that isn’t hard to master – the art of losing. She talks about losing door keys, time, places, names, hopes, houses, cities, and even a continent.

It’s easy to lose things: our tempers, our hearts, our heads. Even sadder, it’s easy to lose friends or potential friendships. These things that are easy to lose are the things that matter the most in life.

It’s more difficult to lose other things that we want to lose: weight, debt, guilt, grudges. These things seem to cling to us (or some of us), and sometimes feel impossible to dump. There may be even more difficult things that are clinging to us: addictions, unhealthy relationships, apathy or a lack of compassion.

I thank God that He has made a way for us to be free from sin, and free from the weight of life. The Word says Truth sets us free (John 8:32); Jesus sets us free (John 8:36); where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).

The Lord is also a keeper. He keeps His promises and His covenant with us (Deuteronomy 7:9). He keeps us from harm (Psalm 121:7). He keeps us from falling (Jude 1:24). It is our job to keep ourselves in His love (Jude 1:21).

Jesus will also help us lose things out of our lives that are not good for us. What will you lose today? Will you lose bitterness, hatred, judgment, or hurt feelings? Will you lose pain or low self-esteem? Will you lose the need to be right, or the need to defend yourself?

Today, my prayer is that I would lose the things I need to lose (hurt, bitterness, unforgiveness), and keep the things I need to keep (God’s love, mercy, grace, and kindness). I pray that for you all today as well.

One Art, by ELIZABETH BISHOP

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
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