Joy Journey Day 2: Let Go

Philippians 4:

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

“Be careful” in this context means afflicted. We are being told that we should not waste our time and energy worrying about things we cannot control. We are to pray about our concerns and give them to God. When we do this we will have peace and He will keep our hearts and minds safe, through Christ!

I love the story in Mark 4 where Christ calms the storm. It has been one of my favorites since childhood! Jesus had spent the day in a boat with his disciples teaching the multitude who stood on the shore. He was constantly bombarded by people needing Him, wanting Him to heal them and teach them and just be around them. I can only imagine how exhausted He must have been. So after He was done teaching He asked the disciples to row Him out into the lake. He was sleeping in the boat when a sudden and mighty storm came. The wind was blowing ferociously! The waves were crashing. And the boat was rocking like crazy! His friends were terrified… and Jesus slept. I can picture them trying desperately to row back to shore and maybe some of them were using a pail to try to keep the water out of the boat. Finally, in a panic, they woke Jesus and asked Him how He could be sleeping. Didn’t He care that they were going to die? Jesus calmly rebuked the wind and the waves telling them to be still. Then He asked them a question that so often can be applied to my life, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it ye have no faith?” This was the man, the God, who had separated the water from the water, then the water from the land when the earth was created. The same One who had parted the waters of the Red Sea so that the Israelites could walk through on dry land. Of course He could handle a few elements of water on a lake. And of course He can handle a few elements of turmoil in our lives! We must have faith and allow Him to do so. Like Themistocles once wisely declared without understanding the full truth of his words, “He who commands the sea has command of everything.” Our Lord truly is the commander of the sea!

So why is it so hard for us to have faith and trust Him with the circumstances of our lives? I so often find myself desperate for control. I want to stay in my little comfort zone and orchestrate everything perfectly. I want things to be smooth and I don’t want any storms! But what I sometimes forget is that maybe God sees I need a storm in my life, to strengthen me, to refine me. If it were up to me, there would be no storm, or at very most a light storm. But God sees the bigger picture. He sees what the storm is doing for me. And even though He can stop it, and sometimes does, He often allows it to rage and do all the cleansing and rearranging it is meant to do. I have learned over the years that when I trust Him enough to give Him control of my storms, if they are meant to rage for a while longer, He will at least allow me to move to the eye of the storm for comfort.

We want to control the things in our life so we hang onto them. But if we will trust Him enough to let them go, we will find that He is much more capable of handling the messes we are in, even if we have created them ourselves. I sometimes don’t let go of things because I can’t see how they will ever be fixed, to me it looks impossible. And so I tie God’s hands. I don’t give Him room to work because I can’t solve them, so how could He? But He is the God of miracles! And truly I have seen Him work miracles in my life time and time again, especially in the impossible, but only once I step back and let go.

When we let go of the things that are worrying us we are showing God that we trust Him. We are choosing faith over fear. When we have patience with His timing we are showing Him that we know He sees a bigger picture than we do. When we calm our mind we allow our spirit to remind us that we are not in control and that we really don’t want to be.

Here are a few things that have worked for me when I am ready to let go and let God.

*Journaling: It is so therapeutic to write out the things I am concerned about and why. When I do this it makes it easier for me to take them out of my heart and leave them on the paper, it reminds me of times past when God has sorted things out for me and it allows me to trust Him once again.

*Mindfulness: When things feel uncomfortable we tend to push them away from us rather than spending enough time with them to really diagnose whey they are a concern. When we take the time to think through a feeling to understand where it comes from and why, we can often understand the underlying issue and work through it, but we have to lean into the discomfort to start with. When we can get to the root of the problem it makes it easier to solve it, or let it go.

*Affirmations: Sometimes speaking things out loud is the only way for me to disrupt the turmoil within. We can speak positive things about ourselves or truth filled phrases. One of mine is “Faith not Fear.” It is a way I tell myself to turn off the fear and let God work.

*Letting Go Ceremony: This is something I have heard about from several different people. It can be visual. You imagine the problem and make it tiny and squash it. You picture it as an object and throw it into a fire. You put it in a helium balloon and watch it float away. Or it can be literal. Write it on a piece of paper and bury it or throw it off a cliff. One of my favorite suggestions is a prayer box. If you notice you are thinking a lot about a problem you cannot see a way to fix, you write it on a small piece of paper and put it in a box. It is a signal to you mind and you spirit that you are giving it to God to work on.

These are just a few methods of letting go. If we can do something verbal, visual, or tactile it often helps us to connect the letting go action to our minds.

Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

He wants us to have joy. When we let go of the worry over things we can do nothing about it allows Him to take them. It allows us to return to joy.

Soul searching question: What is one worry you are holding onto that you can let go of today?

Song: I’m Gonna Let It Go by Jason Gray

Face to face with author:

I Am Not In Control!

Two weeks ago everything in my business was running very smoothly. I was feeling more successful as a businesswoman than I had ever before felt. I even needed to make some big purchases for my business and had the money in my account to do it for the first time ever. I was feeling cool, calm, collected and very in control.

Then suddenly it all fell apart.

Anything that could go wrong did. And my stress level went from minimal to completely overwhelming. I was supposed to teach a lesson in church about how building a relationship with the Savior is the only way we will find peace in life, especially when life feels turbulent. As I was preparing for that lesson, trying to create the visual aids and handouts on a brand new computer that didn’t have any of my comfortable familiar programs on it, I felt completely humbled. Taking a few hours to reconnect with heaven, desperately needing the help of my God reminded me that I am not in control. He is. And sometimes that humble realization is exactly what we need to slow down, switch gears, and pay attention so He can steer us to a completely different road than the one we have been traveling down.

Fast forward to today. I have been trying to get to Tremonton all week to visit a woman who runs a production company that my husband thought may be able to help me with some of my cutting requirements for the sets I am currently working on for my business. I kept rescheduling because I just couldn’t make the time fit into my schedule. But I had worked through the possibilities and felt confident that the only thing she would be able to help me with was cutting my bolts of felt into sheets, which would save me some time and still be worth making the trip and taking the time to talk to her. I walked out of that meeting with my head swimming with all the possibilities of how she could actually help me with almost every part of my processing and for less than I was currently spending trying to process it myself. I cried tears of gratitude for a good portion of the ride home realizing how very merciful our God is to us when we are willing to let Him take us out of our comfort zone and show us a different way.

I was telling a friend just how silly I felt. I was suddenly very aware of how much I limit myself because I am very comfortable in the little box I’ve built for myself. I don’t even want to look for ways to make my life easier or better because I am so sure that it cannot be done. But when I limit myself, I also limit God. Yet every time I have finally allowed Him to push me out of that box (or when absolutely everything goes wrong and so I finally climb out and look around) it always surprises me how incredibly better things really can be. I could never have imagined the glory of some of the places He has taken me or the possibilities He has shown me when I finally submit to His will rather than pushing for my own.

Now I pray for the courage and the faith to be still and trust Him to show me the next step rather than try to claw my way back into that box. It is all about submission and recognizing that we are not in control and that when we do finally give that control up He can make so much more of our lives, every single part of them, than we could ever imagine possible.