Posted by: Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet | November 21, 2010

Letting Go


Mankind has the tendency of being pretty possessive.  Even at a young age, children learn to say “mine” with rapid frequency.  Whether it be our memories of the past, relationships, personal belongings, problems or achievements, we tend to attach ourselves to stuff like adhesive attaches to a wall.  The desire to keep things we love near and dear is wonderful and good; it is bad however, for us to habitually cling to things that are life inhibitors.

This possession problem reveals an even greater issue: our ability to let go.  A watered down definition of letting go could be summed up as meaning release, or giving up control of something. The problem is, if humans are possessive in nature, then it would be logical to assume that letting go isn’t particularly easy.  Our instinct tells us to harbor feelings, memories of the past, etc., however such things were never meant to be held on to.  Memories and feelings of hate, anger, regret, guilt, despair, shame, depression and anxiety should never be granted residence in our hearts.  Yet often times we let these things move-in and renovate the place as they see fit.  Over time, the relationship between a person and these maladies becomes parasitic.  The things we harbor slowly overtake us; often times this process goes unnoticed.  In my case, it took a whole year to see what was happening.  A concoction of past events and anxiety is what I allowed to overtake me.  Before I knew it I couldn’t let them go.  Even worse I couldn’t remember what life was like without them.

I would constantly think to myself, what does it even look like to give up control?  Better yet, what does it feel like?  They talked about it in church all the time, but I never really bought into it…

Looking back on those miserable days, I realize the reason I didn’t buy into giving up control was because of one ugly, evil thing, a thing called fear.  I believe fear of any kind is the root of our inability to let go.  If we become accustomed and familiar with what we hold on to, giving it up can be a pretty scary task.

Allowing unfortunate, tragic and awful things to take residence in our hearts should be avoided with caution.  Sometimes, in a step of faith, we have to let whatever it is go, in spite of our fear.  For some, this “it” could be a bad relationship, for others a horrific event.  If you know this “thing” is not benefiting your life, or worse, if you know it’s preventing you from living the life you were meant to live you have no other option but to give it up.

This is not an easy process; it takes a conscious effort.  You don’t just wake up one morning and voilà! you give up control.  You have to be willing enough to work towards complete release.

I don’t know why things happen the way they do, but I do believe they happen for a reason.  I don’t know why some people die and others live, but I know that God has a plan for every one of us, a plan that doesn’t involve getting wrapped up in our troubles, flaws and failures.  A great musician Jon Foreman once sang, “We were meant to live for so much more, have we lost ourselves?”  My hope is that those of you who can identify with this will take it to heart.  I guarantee that your efforts will be worth it.  Don’t live life with your eyes focused on what you cannot control.  Trust in the one who has total control, and He will bring you peace.

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