Julie Hunt
About the Author

Julie Hunt is an assistant professor of social work where she teaches a range of courses. She is married to Dave who leads worship at their church as well as at conferences, camps and churches across the country. They have three children: Asher, Lainey and Lucy. She and her family...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Such a delicate balance! We all struggle with this at one time or another, how can we not and still be human. Have a great day!

  2. My babies–I hold them tight with my arms now, knowing that one day I will need to hold them loosly so they will become what God needs of them.

  3. what wonderful inspiring words…just what I needed to read this morning…I will put this into practice…I will remember the butterfly and how I do not want to harm it but still keep it safe! Thank-you! Your words are a Blessing!

  4. I think I’m probably holding TOO loosely, by your description. But I don’t know how to do as you describe.

  5. Such a great post. Hard to implement at times but so important. I try to take this approach in relationship (although didn’t really have a name for it!). I have been through a lot with my family over the years and have been accused of being too open handed (letting others go too freely) in my relationships while all the while I am really just trying to regain a balance from relationships that were previously very unhealthy and codependent.

  6. I have a tendency to hold too loosely, knowing that one day the butterfly will fly away I move my open flat hands from one another and literally let the butterfly fall/fly away.

  7. I don’t do well holding loosely. I hold too tightly then swing to the opposite extreme to compensate.

  8. With my little one I know I hold tightly–she is always telling me she can do things by herself and sometimes I feel there are too many rules corner to follow, but she is our first so we are still figuring it out.

  9. I want to hold loosely but I think when it comes to my kids I hold too tightly . I need to cup them in my hands and allow them to live life for themselves, to find their way, to let them be who God created them to be and let Him work within them. He is in control I need to relinquish it.

  10. Having two grown daughters — I appreciate what you say here. They are on their own, one as a single Mom with a son. I am still their Mom and want to keep them safe . . . I have to “hold loosely” for they are not children anymore.

  11. Oh my goodness… Yesterday I felt compelled to comment because you caught my attention – today you have it! I am guilty!! Yesterday I said how I had been hurt and then backed of from relationships – until I met these two women… and now I have clasped them tight! Afraid to let go in fear of losing the best girls I’ve ever known!
    Thanks for your words!!

    • My dear, you may feel like you clasp me tight (or want to!) but I have to say that you have always cupped me gently – held me up even.
      Despite past experiences with other women, you have introduced me to your other friends instead of gripping me tightly in fear that I will find greener pastures and get away!
      When I was home with a toddler and infant and feeling alone and trapped, you took me out for some girl time and didn’t gripe or hold it against me when I tackily called to push back our dates to accommodate naptime. Even though I know inside you were panicked that it was just an excuse to avoid you.
      You invited me to your church, and just smiled when I went and said it I thought it was a little “weird” and endlessly compared it to “my” church. You even answered all my questions without getting defensive, but by researching the topics and showing me where I could find my own answers in the bible. You left the door open and never tried to push or pull me through the threshold.
      Not to mention you aimlessly wander through stores with me and listen to me ramble about my stresses, all the while neither of us buying a thing, and sometimes never even talking about you at all!
      Thank you for being an amazingly graceful and forgiving friend. You lovingly cup and nurture our friendship, taking risks, putting yourself out there and hoping for the best instead of bracing for the worst – and you inspire me to do the same.
      Me 😉

  12. I tend to hold too tightly…I’m working on holding those I love a bit more loosely, trusting them to God’s care rather than mine!

  13. I found out the hard way there is a difference between holding and loving. Years ago I held onto my husband thinking I was loving him but in reality I was sucking the life out of he and I both, through expectations and perceptions of what I thought our marriage should look like & what I felt he had to/needed to be. When God humbled and corrected me I realized I could love him best when I completely let go and instead embraced Christ. When loving God became my focus, I clung entirely to Him but at the same time was able to love my husband, touching, honoring, serving, and even influencing him with my love.

  14. Great insight into holding relationships too tightly. I appreciate your thoughts on holding loosely. I look forward to hearing about the forgiving part of relating! Forgiving (and “forgetiing”) is one of the hardest things for me to do in relationships.

  15. Holding Loosely {And a Giveaway}
    This was such a good message. Especially applicable for someone who can’t get over the lose of a loved one. Maybe they can’t get over the grief because they are trying to hold to tightly. I have a coworker who lost her brother and is not a believer and not outgoing. So I have cotinually prayed for her as well as reach out to her as our LORD would have me do. This story was so appropriate – comforting – insightful and I think she needs to think about her relationship. Thanks

  16. What a wisdom filled analogy…thanks, I’m tugging that one away for the future. If this is a snippet of the book, I know I’d benefit from reading it!

  17. I’m not sure where I stand with my relationships now. It seems as though I may be holding too loosely. Thanks for the daily inspirations and insight.

  18. wow! after reading this I think I may be just about to choke my friend in the relationship… But I’m afraid to let go…. thanks for the message… I need to evaluate my relationship a little more closely….

  19. Over the past 10 years God has revealed this truth to my heart through a number of difficult struggles in relationship with my husband, with friends and other family members. It is definitely a work of the Spirit to enable the “holding loosley” that you speak of. I am now attempting to pass this wisdom on to a young woman whose husband recently left she and their 15 month old daughter. So difficult when emotions are high to know how to convey to her this concept and the delicate balance it requires. Would love the help of this book in conseling her!

  20. I think it’s safe to say that I am learning to hold more loosely… it has definitely been a process. I have been guilty of “crushing” people before… holding on to them so tightly as to not let them slip away that I’ve ended up making them feel smothered and boxed in. I don’t want to be that person. I have come to realize that my relationships flourish when I simply “cup my butterflies in my hands” 🙂 The best relationships I have are the ones that have room to breathe, yet are close to my heart.

  21. What timing..this has been a hot topic between one of my closest friends and myself…we are both in the place where our oldest children are preparing to leave the nest..and actually they are courting one another…we have different ways of dealing with this stretching time- this would be a great read for both of us..would love to win!! Thanks!!

  22. Wow! Somedays I need to hold tightly, when I don’t need to I hold more loosely. I wil have to be more aware! I would love to win and read more!

  23. I tend to hold loosely at first. Very shy and don’t know how to communicate–but when I get to know you I open up and hold on–not to tightly.

    I try to be as loving as Christ would be and let them know I’m praying for them. If it is meant to be then God will let that person come back to me.

  24. I adore this metaphor…how lucky you were to have such a wise mentor. I think i tend to hold tightly, not wanting to lose those precious to me. I loved this post and will definitely spend some quality time reflecting on your advice and wisdom!

  25. I have just been pondering this very idea…. how to strike a healthy balance. Thank you for helping me think through it.

  26. I am very bad at this. I usually hold very tightly. And I feel like I am being held too loosely. It is not working at all. Because when I am tired and angry and feel like I am losing the batle then I want to totally open up my hand.

  27. I’m holding my dd very tightly, but each day brings more opportunities that require holding loosely. Remember those first ones: the days when the little one started walking? Just the beginning of holding loosely to the little one we love. Wow! College is a big one…

  28. God teaches me daily to let my girls go and give them to Him. He will hold on to them, I don’t need to. It’s a tough thing to do…

  29. I tend more towards a strangle-hold approach when it comes to those I love. I guess it’s because I’m terrified that something will happen to them. It’s a struggle for me to admit that it’s not up to me to make sure that everyone is OK and “safe”. As crazy as it sounds, I think I have a hard time trusting that God will work everything out for the best.

  30. I love the metaphor of holding loosely. I have never thought of it like that before. I tend to be a hold it tightly kind of girl. It’s hard to learn to change the way you have been for so long…and kind of exciting at the same time.

  31. Thank you for your words of encouragment. I have been struggling with this issue for some time now. I hang on to my children to tightly. Recently God called my oldest son home ( he was 39) and that broke my heart. I struggled with the question why and some day I will know the answer. My youngest son who is 21 is still living at home and I am so afraid to let go. I say “I know God is in control”, but deep down I still fret. I love my kids so much, this is a journey that God and I will take with lots of prayer and on the other end a deeper understanding of my heavenly father. Thanks for posting your words of encouragment.

  32. I think I’m learning to hold loosely but still hold on. In the past I have been the extremes, typically starting with tight and then giving up and letting go to loosely relinquishing. It’s a hard balance to find, for sure!

  33. I need the encouragement I’m sure this book will bring! It’s hopeful to think I could change.

  34. What a timely message to read. I have held tightly too long with my oldest child. He is 16 and will soon be ready to leave our home. I pray for God’s courage and wisdom as I loosen my hold. I fear my tight grip has not let him experience enough of his own growing up mistakes. The delicate balance between protecting him and letting him experience life is not something I have figured out. I trust God has a plan for this and I thank you for the message and book suggestion.

  35. Well stated and conveyed. The goal is to achieve that fine balance in relationships. Thanks the post and giveaway!


  36. Relationships can def. be a tricky balancing act, especially if it is one you weren’t necessarily seeking out but one that the LORD has given you appointment to. Those to me are the hardest because through them, He is trying to teach us something and they are normally testing instruments and strengthening machines. If we stick with them and balance them rightly, we grow; if not, we stress. Thanks for the analogy of the butterfly, it was a very vivid image!

  37. I think in my family relationships, I tend to hold on too tightly. However, I’ve been forced to loosen that hold somewhat as I prepare for my oldest son to graduate. It has been a growing process, stretching me beyond my comfort zone, but I will reap the rewards of doing just that! Trusting God to let go and grow!

  38. Definately not. I tend to hold to tight but really struggle with this concept. I love it though and will pray i can strive to do this more.

  39. Wow! This book reveals so much about our need for God to help us navigate every aspect of life. Praise to Him for the inspiration for this book. Would love to read it.

  40. I need to learn to give more space to my husband. He often feels I criticize him when I feel I’m trying to help him do things more efficiently

  41. I have such a difficult time holding my children loosely. It’s crazy, I know, but it’s so hard to trust them into God’s hands because His ideas of what’s good for them don’t always match my ideas. Like I could really take better care of them than He does. And yet I struggle to hold them loosely anyway.

  42. oh boy this is a lesson that God continues to teach me over and over… guess i still haven’t gotten in down yet. it is such a delicate balance and the way you depicted it is so beautiful. thanks so much for this!

  43. After holding too tightly caused me much pain, I try earnestly to hold loosely, especially to my children.

  44. Holding on loosely here…. to my 21 year old.
    It is a balance of letting her know she is
    loved and supported…..but free to fly and be independent.

  45. Hmm…I have two young girls (2 & 6) and while I want to keep them close and hold them tightly, I also want them to be independent too. I’m still learning how to balance the two! Thanks for the chance!

  46. I thougth I left a comment yesterday but I can’t seem to find it… so here I am again! Thanks so much for the giveaway opportunity! I find that I hold people far away in terms of me opening up to them but am excellent at listening/helping others to open up to me… I definitely need to work on that balance.

  47. I tend to let people fly away altogether if the friendship doesn’t seem mutual. The butterfly in hand, what a great way to picture this concept of holding loosely, not being overbearing and not disconnecting. I’ll be thinking on this. 🙂

  48. This is hard to gauge at times but I try not to hold too tightly to any one person (even my husband) because I’ve always believed that the harder you try to hold on the easier it is for them to let go. I try to give all of my relationships room to breathe and put in the effort for them to grow.

  49. I found this post VERY helpful, as I’ve been praying about this very thing lately. I need some help with how I hold on too tightly… I commented about my past in a recent post “Fragile”. My mother was emotional abusive and withholding, so I have always work super hard for acceptance. I always wanted to marry my Dad, when I was a little girl, then in my teen years I learned of his infidelity, before my mother did. He turned around and traded our family in for a new model. We are astranged currently. My past has determined my reaction to people who are presently in my life. My style seems to be – Open Book(looking for acceptance), Comfortable in the getting to know you phase, then I get a grip and hold on tightly at an arms length(afraid of loss and afraid of being hurt.) Weird, but tight and distant. God has really shined HIS light on this character flaw and I’ve been praying for a better modile…a better blueprint. I’m tired of reading relationships through the eyes of insecurity. I really like the idea of treating my friend the way I’d want to be treated. Think the book could be a big help…

  50. I would like to think I have been holding loosely but I guess I have been more between the hold tight side and the hold loosely side. I think I understand a little more.

  51. Yes, I am. I am an empty nester holding loosely to my two children…which is really hard! I long to be in frequent contact, giving advice, chasing up on them…you get the picture! Instead, I am giving them space to be the adults – not children – which they are. Still in contact but not, I hope, in any kind of controlling or manipulating way. So far, so good…!

  52. I think I do hold on ‘loosely’. This has really opened my eyes and I would love the opportunity to learn more.