Loving Yourself Means Letting Go

I get it. I really do.

You’ve been so focused for so long on making it work that letting go now just feels like quitting. You know the it I’m talking about. The very first thing you thought of when you read the title to this post.

And I know exactly what happened when the thought crossed your mind. You mentally tighten your grip and shoved it somewhere out of sight. Somewhere safe for the next few minutes while you gave this the obligatory read. You know the one. The one that ends with you kinda feeling numb so you pretend this must not be for you.

Can I encourage you for just a few seconds to bring that thing back out? I promise. You can always put it back when we’re done.

I’m not here to snatch anything from your hands. Or to judge you for that matter. Believe me- I’ve got scars from wounds so deep and nasty on my own hands from holding on to things for far too long.

I just want you to take a few seconds to look at it. It looks pretty good, doesn’t it? Ideally you can see how this could be the answer for you.

It could make you happy, make you feel loved, make you forget, give you revenge, put money in the bank, and save you from yourself. It has all the potential to be the reason… the motivation that gets you up in the morning. The reason you smile. The reason people think you’ve got it all together.

Definitely something to fight for.

But now, if you don’t mind, I’d like for you to turn it over in your hands. Bring it in for a closer look. Look out it from a distance. Even close your eyes- feel it.

Chances are under closer examination you see that in reality it doesn’t quite add up to what your ideals are.

I know what you’re thinking. As Christians we’re told to bear each other’s burdens, to give thanks in every situation, to forgive, and to love others as Christ has loved us. Unconditionally and grace-filled.

And all of those things are so true. There are times in life when that kind of selflessness is exactly what you’ll need. But we tend to use those beliefs as a reason to sit still when God is telling us to move.

And if I may… when God is telling you to be still- you’ll know. And I’m willing to bet that right now you don’t know. You don’t have that peace that passes understanding or the faith that God will work all things for your good. Right now you just believe that YOU must work all the things out.

You believe that somehow all the success in this situation is dependent on how long and how tightly you can hold on.

How do I know? Because I have spent a life time trying to hold on to things until I could force them into submission… to me. And only then would I be willing to submit to God.

I was completely OK with letting Him be in control of me just so long as I was in control of everything else.

You can’t save yourself from drowning in a boat with no bottom. And most of the time, the things we refuse to let go of are the very things we’re trying to use for lifelines. No matter how much you think you deserve to be loved, happy, to feel worthy, or to be appreciated, I can assure you that I believe it more. You do deserve those things. But there’s a better way to go about it.

No man except for Jesus will ever love you enough to save you or to make you completely happy. No job or amount of money will ever make you feel worthy enough. And no amount of rebellious self-destructive behavior over a situation will ever change it- even one percent for the better.

Maybe you’ve never read what the Bible says about letting go. Or maybe you’ve forgotten. Maybe you just don’t care. But it’s very short and takes place just as the Israelites are finishing their forty-year wilderness trek. I’d like to share it with you. Because a while back these few verses open my eyes to a whole new perspective.

And when we’re finished you can decide whether you want to tuck that little trinket back down deep and hidden or whether you want to let it go.

Then the Lord said to me, “You have been traveling around this mountain country for long enough.” Turn northward and command the people, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers, the people of Esau… be very careful. Do not contend with them, for I will not give you any of their land… because I have given [it] to Esau as possession… Deuteronomy 2:2-5.

Think about this for just a moment… the Lord would not have issued this warning unless the land the Israelites were about to pass through looked pretty good. If the land was bad, the people would have been rushing to get out of it. But instead He knew that once they entered, it may be tempting to stay there.

Because even though the land was good, this was not the land the Lord had given them. They were meant to be in that place- but only for a time. They would inhabit that land for only the amount of time it took them to journey through it.

I’m sure no one knows better than the Israelites how incredibly tempting it can be to stop in the first “good” place you come to. You’re tired. You’re lonely. You’re hurt. And you just want a safe place to land.

But sometimes letting go is the only way to hold on. Had they have tried to settle there they would have caused themselves more war, more loss, more heartache. Instead they pushed through. They had faith. And they were obedient.

Eventually they arrived at the GREAT land that the Lord had given to them. It was theirs; the Lord had promised. And He provided everything they needed to take it.

But first they had to let go. And unfortunately that seldom happens without pain.

Either path you take- to hold on longer or to let go- there will be pain. The difference in the paths lies in the destination. Only letting go leads to the eventual easing and healing of that pain. Only letting go leads to joy, peace and far greater things than you can imagine.

Whatever you choose, I want you to know that the Lord is merciful and He is gracious. When you call out to Him, He hears you and He will answer. And I hope that whenever you’re ready…you’ll do just that and love yourself enough to let it go.

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