“Let go and let God.” Sounds so unnatural, doesn’t it?
Letting go means free-falling, trusting, “stepping out on faith”, and it will make fear rise it our hearts faster than the darkest of nights. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Surrender.
That can be such a confusing verse. Jesus wrote that promise in Matthew 16:25. He’s asking us to trust Him with the details, the small stuff, the big stuff, all the stuff of our lives. Does choosing to trust Him mean giving up everything we want? Not at all. Sometimes we are so impatient for the desires of our hearts to be fulfilled that we work overtime to fulfill them. We get frustrated when that doesn’t work out. As we learn, we begin to see that maybe the thing we chose is holding us back from being our real self, the one He created us to be, with all of our own unique talents and quirks. Sometimes we try to create solutions for our circumstances that can only come as a gift from Him. As we draw in closer to Him, and little by little loosen the grip on the things we hold onto the tightest, He will simplify and unravel our lives. As we let go of the “space” in our hearts that we are so fiercely protecting, and trust Him with it, He will fill it with something far better suited for us than we could have chosen ourselves.
When we are going through something really hard, we need a lifeline. We need something to hold onto that gives us hope and a moment to rest. For me, that was reading through some of the Psalms and exploring the Bible each morning. Somehow the words calmed my fears, and gave me the courage to face the day. I didn’t realize the walk I had begun as I read and He taught. I grasped for Hope, He nourished and healed. I surrendered, He restored. Nothing happened in an instant, but rather over weeks, months, and sadly, even years as that walk has continued. It’s not easy to see the road ahead when we’re in the middle of a storm, but it’s incredibly reassuring to look backwards and see His steady love and patience over time. My aunt called this “a hand-in-hand walk with Jesus”. That’s what it feels like. Not demanding, not demeaning, just slow and patient, growing closer and healing over time.
As I continued to learn, He began to urge me to let go of some things I wanted, sure, but more so to give Him access to the spaces I protected. Oh, how strong those fears can be! Ever so gently, He helped me to loosen my grip, and taught me to trust Him more. Sometimes it got confusing, especially as I tried to obey, and things just seem to fall apart even more. It was in that unraveling and surrender that I saw His strength really step in and began to understand His love for me. My faith started to grow, and with every little layer of surrender I saw more of Him at work in my life. With every hesitant step to trust and follow, every yielding to that quiet voice, He was at work.
The more I learned to trust, the more fear slipped away. I realized that many of the things I was holding onto were just to fill an empty hole in my heart. I was protecting it from being hurt again, and those things began to lose the value I had given them. It’s hard to explain, but my own creative solutions were occupying a space in my heart that God was waiting to fill. Once I could finally let go and say, “Ok, God, have it your way”, He started filling that space in a way that I couldn’t myself. It was in that bittersweet surrender, that I really began to live. The hand-in-hand walk continues, and is growing sweeter over time. Each day I discover more about the life God wants each of us to live, free to trust in His steady love and goodness, free to experience what He is waiting to give us.
I included this video for The End of Me written by Jason Gray a few years ago. As this song says, “I found peace like a river to attend my soul, hope running over when I let go, Joy that was hidden for all these years, and love overflowing to wash over everything…here at the end of me.” Sweetness waiting just behind surrender.
Who doesn’t want that peace? Life doesn’t always go as planned. How great that Grace can reach deeper than our own attempts to ease our pain, that Jesus isn’t afraid to climb down into the trenches to rescue us.
“Dear God, Please calm my fears and teach me to trust you with the things I want so badly. Help me to let go of my own solutions so that you can bring me yours.”
“He took away my guilt and reminded me that my life, my future, my journey belongs to Him ” – excerpt from A Future of Hope
Did you come to know peace after letting go of something you wanted? Will you tell us about it? It’s in that letting go that we are able to really begin to live. Your story can bring hope to someone today.