The secret of letting go dawned in me slowly. Do you, too, have a two-fisted approach to life? When stuff happens that makes you angry or anxious, do you grab it with your spiritual hands and hold in a death grip? Oh, I know it feels like anxiety and anger are the ones gripping us, but the reverse is the case. Emotionally and spiritually speaking, nothing can stick to us unless we are the ones doing the holding.
I won’t blame you if you have a hard time believing it. This truth didn’t come easily to me either. In the beginning, I argued with the Lord quite often that my real problem with problem emotions wasn’t me, but the people and situations that triggered them. Of course, I was going to be stuck for a while because the flaming things were so sticky. Oh yeah, and the devil was certainly behind it. It had to be his henchmen tying me up with negative emotions. After all, I’m the one who didn’t want them. I wanted freedom from them.
The Monkey Trap
But it was still me holding them in place. They catch monkeys by putting fruit in a hollowed-out gourd tied to a stake. The monkey reaches in and seizes the tasty treat in his fist. An open hand can go in, but the opening is too small to let a fist be pulled back out. Silly monkey just won’t let go. He’s trapped and all the while he’s probably blaming the flaming gourd! I was that monkey, until the Lord taught me how to let go.
Letting go was hard, seemingly impossible. Trust and forgiveness weren’t even in my vocabulary before I met Jesus. If something made me anxious or angry (and a lot of things did), I seized the offense and squeezed the living daylights out of it, even as a Christian. Jesus gave me a vision of my heart like a fist. He wanted to help me pry one finger loose after another, until the letting go could happen. He also showed me that little children’s hearts are like open hands—they are champions at letting go. No wonder they live in such peace and joy!
Ok, Lord, so how do we pry my fingers free? The wonder-working power of promises! I learned to use one promise in particular—the promise of Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” This is my all-purpose promise. It works so well at setting me free that I call it “The Magnificent Promise.” I used to say that 95% of my life was hanging on it and if it ever gave way, I’d be in a pickle. But it has held me fast to saving grace time after time after time. By reaching for it so often I learned the secret of emotional freedom.
Grace and Letting Go
The secret of letting go is reaching for something else. I found that I can let go of anger or anxiety as long as I can reach to believe in this promise that even the thing that hurt me or that makes me afraid will be made to work for my good. The command to trust Him just like the command to forgive could not move me to do either successfully. The grace of being promised something better worked like a charm. Grace triumphs over law every time!
If you find yourself stuck in the fierce grip of anger or anxiety (or any other unwanted negative emotion), don’t make a monkey of yourself. Learn this secret of letting go. Reach for any promise of God that is the antidote for your problem emotion. The power of believing the promise will set you free. So, let go of the offending person or incident and grab hold of the life-saver!
Learn more about letting go with “Praying Through to Peace” at our website.