My friend Leslie sent me a surprise gift, a book, with a hand-stitched bookmark that said Let Go…or Get Dragged. It makes me smile every time I see it and also makes me wonder how she knew that this is my daily hardest spiritual challenge.
2020 and 2021 have proven to be an epic training ground for practicing the art of letting go. We learned together to let go of life as we knew it, our calendars, our plans, our trips, our work places, church buildings, schools and more. We let go of certain ideas…like assuming we’d be healthy and so would those around us. We let go of eating out, gatherings, funerals and weddings as we’d known them.
I learned to breathe more deeply, stay in the present, navigate in Zoom and cook meal after meal after meal at home. I learned to release all kinds of control into God’s capable hands. I learned to “fall up” toward God. Some call it sweet surrender.
What I find strange is that letting go requires so much practice. For me, it is not only daily but sometimes by the hour.
Our youngest son is graduating from college this month. On the same day, he will be commissioned into the US Army. This has been his plan since high school. It is not like I didn’t have a heads up about it. Because he’s a great human being, he asked me recently how I was doing with the army thing. I told him the truth, that I’ve been practicing letting go these past months with at least 25,000 other things and I will just continue to practice this as I let him go too. I received him from God’s hands almost 23 years ago and back into those hands he must go. He’s never really ever been any place else, none of has.
Anne Lamott, in her book, Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage, tells the story of her friend, at a carnival ferociously steering her little car at the amusement park with all her might. Her husband taps her on the shoulder and whispers, Your steering wheel doesn’t really steer.
I think about that all the time now. I’m not really steering much of anything. Lamott also writes that she read a report that said people believe they have 80% control of their days when in reality it is only 3-7%. I’m so controlling, I even misread that the first time, believing it said 37%. We do not have 80% control. We do not have 37% control. The bottom line: no matter how hard you are working that steering wheel, you are not steering.
From Jesus Calling, The world’s way of pursuing riches is grasping and hoarding. You attain My riches by letting go and giving up. (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, May 4 entry) Oh, our upside down, counter intuitive faith!
Are you in a season of letting go? Do you need to be? It takes so much practice. You could start by cleaning out a drawer and maybe move to letting go of a toxic relationship, a fear, an anger or judgment. Maybe you need to let go of a dream that’s not going to work, or a job. Maybe you let go of that steering wheel you aren’t really steering. Maybe you let go of some ego inflated idea about yourself. Maybe you fall up, into God’s hands, the only place you’ve ever been anyway.
Let go…or get dragged. I’m still a work in progress. Practicing every day.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor, Mosa to Keller, Pace and River. To read more blogs, see upcoming speaking events, sign up for Cindy’s Inner Circle or to learn about the weekly Jesus Calling Prayer Call she co-hosts live on Tuesdays at 7 a.m. CST, go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com.