..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Letting Go: It Only Hurts for a Minute!

We are a funny lot. Adults, babies, dogs, cats,
birds, chipmunks, squirrels. All of us seem to
like to hang onto things. Babies, even from
a young age, have a sense of entitlement,
they can hang onto sweets for dear life only
minutes after they have learned to use their
hands. Dogs hold onto their toys with their
teeth. Chipmunks and squirrels pack their
mouths full. Crows gather shiny things. Me,
mine and more mine.

In the bible study that I have we have
been looking at hardness of heart. Its been
a penetrating study and I have had the
privilege of seeing how and why I hold
onto things way past when I should! :)
The things that we often hold onto
are intangible but they hold us as tightly
as any chain ever could.

We hold onto our sense of being right;
we hold onto our rights, our repugnance
at being "used" or taken advantage of,
we hold onto our sense of what is ours,
and what we place our value upon. We
hold onto our life and ourselves.

These things become part of us and
when we have to let them go, we feel
as if part of ourselves is going with them.

Recently as I have been made aware of
how I protect myself, and how I hold
things to prevent injury or loss, I have
heard the voice of the Lord coming
up quickly behind me. His calm,
authoritative Voice, with a hint of
playfulness, has often recently said,
"Let go, it only hurts for a minute."

We hang onto so very much: our rights, our
possessions, our sense of ourselves; and when
we think of letting go, of surrender,
of turning the other cheek, we often
feel something clench tightly inside.
We anticipate the ache of pain or loss.

But God's advice is to let it go. He
doesn't say there won't be pain, He says
that it just hurts for a minute. A wall
of pain that, once pierced through, sets us
loose into a calm, clear place of immense

On the other hand, when we hang onto things
when we shouldn't, things like unforgiveness
or self-focus, or entitlement, or pride;
then we have hell to pay for hours, days,
weeks, months, or years after. We think
we are protecting ourselves but we are
only walling ourselves away from the life
of God flowing through us.

You see, "letting go" is another name for
surrendered obedience. It is meant to take
us deeper into the Kingdom of God. It is
meant to take us out of this world and
put us in the Kingdom of our God and of
His Christ.

We always see the whole idea of walking
the extra mile or turning the other cheek
as a burden, as something to steel ourselves
against, or at best, our "Christian" duty,
when it should be our delight and our joy
because of what it does within us and
where it brings us in God.

Letting go is the gateway into the Kingdom
of God. The Beatitudes (Matthew 5), those
that Jesus calls "blessed" are those that
have mastered the art of "letting go."
They are meek: they have let go of pride.
They are merciful: they have let go of the
spirit of retaliation; they are pure in heart
because they have let go of impurity; they
are peacemakers because there is no war in
their souls.

They inherit the earth, they see God, they
obtain mercy, they are truly called "sons
of God because they have learned one
beautiful thing: how to let go.

How much pain we will save ourselves if
we quickly let go when God says to.
The earlier the better. There
is always the moment of grace, early on,
when there is grace to let go. If you look
at any addiction, there was a moment, long
forgotten, when just one "no" would have
closed the door. Always God gives us
that moment, no matter how weak we are,
we have that moment, and it is held out
to all men and women, no matter what their
past was or what has happened to them.

We as human beings have something wonderful
given to us by God: the power to will to
forgive. Our animals friends may hold onto
things because their souls say they should.
Play tug of war with a large dog and see
what holding on is like. We, as humans,
have been given an additional grace to
let go, to choose not to serve ourselves,
to forgive, to go higher, to be like God.

It all starts with letting go when God
says to. It wont always be easy or
instanteous, but this I do know,
it is far easier then we are led to
believe by the world.

It is vitally important that we cultivate
a listening ear to the voice of God,
carefully listening to that moment when,
in the face of our many difficult day
to day situations, He urges us to "let go."

This is not a sign of weakness or a giving
in to evil or abuse. It is a making way for
God to act, and for God to change not only
our enemy or opposer, but WE OURSELVES.

I've noticed a marked change in my approach
to opposition lately. I can feel God,
and those great cloud of witnesses saying,
"For heaven sake, RM, let go!" I'm actually
having a good time...why don't you give
it a try? It only hurts for a minute.


Follower said...

Such a good article!!! It was beautiful written. I know that the LORD Jesus told us to follow Him with our cross! We cannot carry a cross and carry the things of this world! We also were told be Jesus that if we love the world, mother, father, brother, sister, etc more than Him, we are not worthy of Him! Oh how I want to be worthy!!! I need to let go of things and emotions and whatever seems important to me now, in order to follow Him with my cross daily! Thank you for this reminder!

The Pen of The Wayfarer said...

thanks and amen! we do need to let go of lesser things, and see them as lesser things!