One of the hardest things in life is learning to let go.
I’m not a parent but I’ve heard that the hardest part is not in having or taking care of kids. Childbirth, sleepless nights, endless nappies, school fees, teenage mood swings, discipline, sacrifice and everything in between. These are not the most difficult parts of parenthood.
The hard part is letting go of them.
The bumper sticker that says, “Let go and let God” isn’t a cliché.
It needs to be read and understood a thousand times more for what it truly means.
Letting go is not passive or inactive.
It means trust.
Having enough faith to let go.
I’ve been brought up as a dreamer. My Irish DNA speaks of attempting the impossible, always looking ahead, never giving up. I moved to Johannesburg with great strivings and ideals, allowing an image of what I desired deep within to build up in my head… and heart. And my admission, perhaps parallels to yours, is in wanting my significance to be found within a one-day-testimony of making it against all odds. The underdog finds glory. The small-town-girl makes her mark. Adding what I liked to the “one day” scenario when meeting or simply seeing someone in a spot I admired. I grasped so tightly to this goal and fought so hard to make it happen. As much as it was, and still is, my absolute passion – it became something so much more. Something that was my significance, my title, my initials…
Oh how toxic.
Planning my life as if I control the universe.
The weight of responsibility, the turmoil and pain in holding-on to make life’s dreams happen is overwhelming. Bearing it for the sake of broadening these skinny shoulders.
Drinking it up baby as there is no time for later.
I’ve learnt the hardest way. The way most of us are familiar with. The way that leads us to sitting in the darkness of a place we feel to be an ambush by someone high in the sky. Declaring His sovereignty when it makes us feel better but ignoring it when it matters most. He speaks everyday.
Opening your heart to the wrong person because you want marriage more than His perfect timing. Pushing for employment opportunities without proper experience. Moving cities with the desire for “big money”.
Oh to unwrap the bittersweet bubble wrap of tragic emptiness.
Do you ever wonder why Mick Jagger’s “I can’t get no satisfaction” had eighty-five thousand people chanting along? He had precisely the same conclusion that the writer of Ecclesiastes had. Delicious food, great sex, boundless fame, endless wealth, enormous power – don’t deliver. When our ultimate idols leave us begging to get on the next train.
There is true beauty in the midst of surrender.
I’ve heard that some people hold onto mistakes and replay them over and over again, allowing feelings of shame and regret to shape their actions in the present. Clinging to frustration and worry about the future, is an act of fixation actually giving people power. We are desperate for the next fix of control.
So I decided to google some advice on letting go and found a few suggestions as follows:
Channel your discontent into an immediate positive action, use meditation or yoga to bring you into the present moment, make a list of accomplishments and add to it daily, focus all your energy on something you can actually control, give yourself a vent window, remind yourself that anger hurts more than the person who upset you, metaphorically throw it away, use a stress ball, express yourself vocally, wear a rubber band on your wrist and gently flick it when you start obsessing on angry thoughts, visualize an empowered you, reward yourself for small acts of acceptance, replace emotional thoughts with facts, take a sauna break, imagine your life 10 years from now, organize your desk, laugh it out.
I also stumbled upon Dr Phil’s advice on letting go (of love of course), “Make a firm decision. Do what you have to do. Say no. Get out of my life. Stay away from me. Don’t call me. Focus on yourself.”
It’s a rather strange tug-of-war life we live, vacillating between good and bad, struggling to hold on and let go, attempting to understand the distinction between faithing and surrendering. Moving through gradual moments of release and then straight into catapulted clutching.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” (Phil 4:6)
There is a song enjoying huge radio play and doing well on charts around the world at the moment called “sweet nothing” by Calvin Harris and Florence Welch. Although it is a dance song it is quiet depressing as it is speaking about how the partner in a relationship is offering nothing in return to the love of him/ her. The lyrics go:
“So I put my faith in something unknown, I’m living on such sweet nothing, but I’m trying to hope with nothing to hold, I’m living on such sweet nothing.”
Giving up speaks of hopelessness. Giving in and shortchanging yourself.
Letting go is placing hope in someone or something else. Not being attached to a result.
Allowing hope and faith to grow in a person.
Not a train. Or a dream.
Allowing it grow in Him. Jesus Christ.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
(Hebrews 6: 19)
Perhaps there is something you have been holding on to for years, months, weeks or days. Perhaps the pain of holding on is greater than the pain of letting go. Perhaps right now, in this hour, you will begin to loosen the grip you hold on so many elements of this short life. Perhaps freedom is inextricably bound to letting go.