To relinquish is to practice giving over, releasing, and letting go. We practice relinquishment, for instance, every time we forgive someone. We relinquish our desire for vengeance, or our need to be right, releasing ourselves from their bondage. Life is full of opportunities for relinquishment, the many “little deaths” we undergo in life.
Every night we have an opportunity to relinquish our lives into God’s hands. If we like to pretend we are in control during our waking hours, at night we have to relinquish that control, our consciousness, in order to rest and be renewed. One way to do this is to review your day as you are lying in bed, releasing all that has happened into God’s hands. If you made mistakes, give them to God. If you did something that makes you feel foolish, release it to God. Where you felt tension or pressure, let it go. Recognize that it is not entirely up to you to solve the world’s problems. Offer them in prayer to God and invite God into your sleeping and your dreaming. As you close your eyes, feel God’s presence over you, under you, all around you, holding you with mercy and grace. You may want to memorize Psalm 31:5, some of Jesus’ own last words from the cross as he relinquished his life. “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.” Repeat that verse over and over as you relinquish your waking day, inviting God to give you the rest and replenishment you need to face whatever is to come.
As you practice nightly relinquishment, pay attention to the opportunities for relinquishment you face during your waking hours. How does your experience with those moments change?