Strong enough to let go

Tough. Resilient. Persistent. Diligent. These are some of the adjectives I might use to describe myself. I pride myself on my strength, but I have recently encountered a situation that has brought me face-to-face with my powerlessness. Depleted of fortitude, depressed, and exhausted, I asked, "What do I do now?"

Let go and let God.

No, seriously.

Seriously. Let go and let God. 

Give up? Become indifferent? Admit defeat?

No. Let go and let God.

Clearly I wasn't getting it.

Let's break it down, shall we?

Part I: Let go
Sounds easy, doesn't it? After all, what does letting go mean? It means to stop holding on. If holding on is doing something, and letting go is not doing something, then why is it so much harder to let go? Isn't not-doing easier than doing?

The idea of letting go is difficult for me, because in order to even be willing to try, I have to surrender my own ideas about myself. I have to relinquish the belief that I know what's best, and that I am powerful enough not only to affect change in a person or situation, but that the outcome I want is the right one. Half the time, I can't even decide between cashew chicken and tofu stir-fry, so where did I get the notion that I can advise someone else about how they should live their life?

Part II: Let God
If I don't do it, who will? God.

If I don't fix it, how will it get repaired? God.

Of course the premise of this whole discussion is that I believe in God. And I do. And it also assumes that I realize that I am not God. Apparently, I'm still working on that part.

Yet, it's much more than simply believing that God exists. The idea of "let God" presumes that God is paying attention to what goes on in my life, that He cares if I suffer, and that He will be my advocate, my champion.

It's a great theory. That sounds like the way I like to think about God. But how I choose to relate to God says more about what I actually believe than some vague concept I have of Him. Am I brave enough to put my understanding of God into practice? Either I believe God is a help in times of trouble, or I don't. If I don't truly believe that, I should stop pretending that I do. If I do really believe that, then I should act like it by acting on it. Which of course, means knowing that there are times when I should not act at all.

If I don't frantically run around trying to fix things, and if I don't cry and scream and insist and feel sorry for myself, what will I do?

Pray, sit quietly, find things for which to express gratitude, and place your hope in the unknowable someday. 

Part III: Putting it all together again
So when I "Let Go and Let God," I first relinquish control. I accept that things are not as I perceive them, or that there is more going on than I can know about. I recognize my own limitations. I recognize that the lives of other people are not my responsibility, and that I have no control over the free will of another. Why would I want that, anyway? Again, I am not God, and even God knows enough not to impinge on someone's free will.

Can I flip it over?
I have an idea. Can't I "Let God and Let Go" instead? Then, as soon as I see God's hand at work, I will happily hand over the reins. Wouldn't that be a lot easier?

But even as I try to find an easy way out of this, I see that letting go isn't a passive response to evidence of God's care and love. It's an invitation from me to God. It's an act of faith. When I let go, I am saying, "I trust you. I know you love me and will work all things together for my good."

Let go and Let God. 

Believe. Trust. Surrender. I may just be strong enough to do this.