The Paradox of Possessiveness

When we get our share of a good thing, whether it’s a person or an object or a dream, there sometimes appears an invisible switch in our mind that tells us to grab hold of it, hang on tightly, clench our fists around it and never let go. That, of course, is a normal and expected response — who doesn’t want to hold on to something good, right? But we have to realize that when we do so, it can be utterly destructive for us. And when that thing we’re holding on to is a person, it can be utterly destructive for that person as well.

Don’t kill the bird

If you’ve ever been in a relationship or in a friendship where the other party has grown overly possessive, clingy, or desperate for your attention, constantly seeking you out, demanding to know where you are or what you do and why you do it, who you’re with, where you plan to go, you know how exhausting that can be. And if you’ve found yourself on the other end of the dynamic, being the one who constantly smothers someone with your unyielding attention, it can be rather exhausting too. People want and deserve some degree of independence. That’s how we naturally are.

My mother, when I talked to her about this, gave me a very good metaphor (I don’t know if you’ve heard it before but this was certainly the first time I heard it). She said, “If you clench your fist too tight, you’ll end up killing the bird in your hand.”

And she’s absolutely right.

Some trust in chariots

The sad and inevitable thing that happens when we cling to something that is of this earth – and by that I mean anything that will eventually perish — is that when they are taken away or when they disappear, we end up becoming a lump of helpless, hopeless, and sometimes even witless, pile of dust.

If you put all your faith in your wealth, what will become of you if someone steals it?
if you put all your faith in your career, what will become of you if that takes a sudden shift downward?
If you put all your faith in people, friends or family, what will become of you if they make a mistake or don’t live up to your expectation, or God forbid, die?

Which among all of these will you be able to take beyond the grave, anyway?

Let us take comfort in the eternal words of the 20th Psalm, verse 7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Depend only on the one whose steadfast love is from everlasting to everlasting, the God who promised to never leave your nor forsake you, the only One who never changes, and you will never have to worry about losing your foothold.

And yes, it’s true, He is more than enough.

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