We can’t grab onto to something new and better—God’s peace, joy and a life of purpose—until we let go of the strongholds we have been clinging to.
Most of us do try in some way to increase our connection with God, but in many cases the approach we try is mechanical and cautious. We’re afraid to let go of the known, even if we don’t like where we are in life. It’s like the members of a circus trapeze team who refuse to let go because they do not fully trust their partner. The only way that act will be successful is if the partners stay connected and learn about each other over time so a trust builds that allows them to let go.
It’s the SAME thing for us and our faith in Christ. We need to let go in trust so God can give us something better—his life-breathing peace and joy for eternity. I know from my own personal experience how hard it is to let go of our current circumstances when they become a “familiar anchor” in our life. To compound that dynamic, in my case I didn’t think my life was good enough to warrant his attention, let alone love.
But God showed me over time that he doesn’t want my holiness; he wants my heart. He doesn’t ask me to make things right, because I cannot make things right on my own. He was only asking me to accept his truth so he could make things right.
MAKING THE COMMITMENT
In order to let go and trust God, we must release our core hurts, hang-ups, and habits so he can go to work. We need to get out of the way! Here’s a specific example from my life.
There was never a mention of God in my boyhood home. When I started following Jesus at age twenty-one, I thought I forgave my dad of the pain his alcoholism had caused me. As I grew older, it was clear that was not the case. It turned out that I had to go deeper and further in trusting God. I needed to release my dad from feeling unloved by him. The reality is that he never told me he loved me. All the way through my childhood, adulthood, and even to the time of his death, I always struggled with a sense of abandonment. Our relationship was nonexistent for all those years because I had to keep my distance to “stay safe.”
In the end, I had to release my dad from the bitterness engulfing my heart and soul. Getting past that important hurdle was an imperative in order for me to fully yield to Christ and follow him in obedience.
However painful all of that once was, and man it was painful, those hurts have long since faded away and now it takes effort just to bring them to my mind. Thankfully, I had embraced the essence of God’s forgiveness mandate:
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32