The Art of Letting Go

Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash

What do I need to let go of?

I decided to write the art of letting go as I experienced some recent struggles while doing so. Things get more manageable when I can see what’s going on, then co-operate with it. It’s the self-awareness stuff we talked about last time. We cannot see what’s going on without looking in and observing with insight. A perspective we can only get from the “mirror.”

Letting Go Hurts

We struggle in letting go of things because there’s pain involved. The art of letting go is in understanding why it hurts to let that thing go, then processing the emotions involved. Sometimes it’s obvious and at other times it’s not because we tend to stuff our pain in denial or medicate it. (Why do I have to write about this stuff?)

I’ll Share First

A leadership principle in small group ministry is modeling vulnerability by honest sharing. It disarms others and they feel safe sharing, seeing you taking risks. What an honor to risk for love, discovery, and connected intimacy! You are my small group.

On the Course

A pastor friend occasionally invites me to golf with a foursome. I am honored that he pursues my company. I know it’s not because of my golf game. Some days are better than others, and hopefully there’s that one shot that brings you back for more. You’re a good golfer when all your shots are like that. Only golfers understand.

After our round, we sit around and chat over a beer after putting our clubs away in the parking lot. While throwing my clubs in the back of my truck, I noticed a father and his little boy getting their clubs together to go in for a round. I observed the boy with his miniature bag of clubs over his shoulder and back. He couldn’t have been four years old.

“I’ve never seen a golf bag that small before.”

I said to the father. We talked back and forth briefly as they turned to go in. He laughed as I said he may be the future Jordan Speith.

As they walked away and I watched the little boy, my heart began to ache deeply, and I thought

What is this?

I recognized the deep old pain, one I keep tucked away because it’s hard to live present to. This little boy represented the son I never had.

The one I actually had, but was required to “let go.” The pain is connected to loss. To what could have been but isn’t. This is the pain of

“When the healing doesn’t come, or when the restoration or answer doesn’t happen.”

It’s the disappointment with God piece. You believed and God didn’t do it.

If He did, I would have it.”

Not Mine But Thine

It wasn’t until the next morning I was able to fully see what was going on with the image of that little boy with his tiny golf clubs. It had to do with letting go. It’s the transformation through surrender I write about. It’s the language of the heart where you hold yourself present to the pain there and surrender it to God. The answer to why is not answered in these moments. The question is not asked as He draws so near.

Accepting Loss

Part of the art of letting go is letting go of loss. We can’t forgive completely if we haven’t let go of our losses. We do this by accepting them. Yes, they happened. Yes it cost me dearly, no one will ever know how much. But God is sovereign, He is over all that, He is involved in all that. It’s not the devil, he’s on God’s chain. We need to say out loud,

“God, I accept what you have for me, and I accept what you don’t have for me. “

In one sense our words command our will and our emotions will follow. David said,

“I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise will continually be in my mouth.”

We will choose to “bless Him,” or we will burn out the energy of our life resisting life as it comes to us. All the time wishing it were something other than what it is. The art of letting go involves releasing our control and expectations of what life should be and surrendering into what it is.

Jesus was crucified between two thieves, the past and the future. What could have been and what should be. Both need crucified to live in the now. It doesn’t mean we can’t dream, but dreams live surrendered.

Remember,

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

I heard in a sermon, on the subject of suffering, that the desert,

Strengthens us to weather well.

Hard circumstances expose where we are entitled.

At the end of the day, many of the things we focus on just don’t matter.

God loves us so much He strips away all distractions.

Mystery & Healing

We won’t get our question answered in this life. We will get His love and abiding presence and peace. I can let go of anything in the presence of His power when I say yes to Him. To whatever He’s doing. And whatever He’s doing is good. It makes no sense to the mind of the flesh because it’s spiritual. That’s what Mystery is. Questions don’t get answered there only reality is experienced. I’ve decided God is very invested in emotional realities. These realities are keys to our healing if we will press into them, no matter how painful. We can trust the goodness of God.

One of the marriage mantras I teach is, “Deal with the real.” Gary Chapman who authored the Five Languages of Love, calls it Reality Living. In a nutshell it’s emotional honesty. It’s talking together about your emotional dynamics and realities as a couple. If the honesty doesn’t happen here, your dynamics will be fake and disconnected. You must face and connect over what’s really going on emotionally between the two of you. When you can honor these feelings, healing and intimacy begin.

Approaching Book

Don’t have a target date yet but the book is getting closer. Ready to go to copy editing. Happily Ever After is getting closer to reality. Pray for this end as I pray for you all for the Grace to let go and trust yourself completely in the arms of the Father who always is looking for and embracing the prodigals. XO