Letting Go

letting go

Image courtesy of admitchell08, licensed under Creative Commons

Nothing is as difficult, or as necessary, as letting go. At this moment you are burdened by things from your past — damaging words, destructive arguments, hurtful parents and other role models, painful situations. These things build and build in your life, starting in childhood. You put them on the back burner so you can pay attention to other things, but that back burner is getting pretty crowded lately. How much can you ignore? The back burner only holds so much, and soon it is falling all over the floor, spilling out of your life like a wound that won’t stop bleeding.

You’ve tried everything.

  • Not thinking about.
  • Complaining about it.
  • Not worrying about it.
  • Hating God for it.
  • Not talking about it.
  • Keeping busy.
  • Telling yourself to grow up, that there’s nothing you can do about it.

But that’s not true. There is something you can do. You can let go. Nothing is as difficult, or as necessary, as letting go. Letting go is not the same thing as not thinking about it, not worrying about it, not talking about it, keeping busy, or telling yourself to grow up. All of those are attempts to minimize or deny the hurt you have been feeling. Letting go acknowledges the hurt and feels it. It sits there in the hurt for a little while, lets it be exactly what it is. If you do not allow your hurt to be what it is, it will come out in ways that are harmful to you and to others. In fact, it is probably already doing that. You must let it be.

Then go beyond that. You acknowledge the hurt and you feel it. Then you forgive it. You forgive the person who hurt you. You forgive the world for not being fair. You forgive whoever or whatever for the hurt you are feeling and this includes forgiving yourself. You determine to be done with it, and you let it go. You can only really do this when you have been through the other steps. As long as you are running from your pain, it will be impossible to let it go. The hurt you are suffering now is at least as much from running as it is from whatever hurt you to begin with.

There is no healthier way to deal with pain than this. You can return to this process again and again with everything that has caused you grief. Letting go never gets old. Letting go never gets easy. Letting go never stops setting you free.

Question: How do you work through the process of letting go?

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  • I’ve come to see that one of the aspects of spiritual maturity is learning when my responsibility ends and when I need to leave it in God’s hands. So thanks for the encouragement to let go.