Holding back and letting go.

In a session with my counselor (yes, even counselors have counselors!) she once said she often had an image of me clinging to the edge of a cliff, my fingers and arms aching in agony from hanging on for dear life so long. “If only you could let go and know that God would catch you, you could be free. All you have to do is decide to let go,” she said with intensity.

"All I have to do?" I chuckled to myself. "Do you really think letting go is that easy?"

The idea of letting go isn’t a new concept to me. Many (okay, fine - many, many, many) years ago, long before Elsa ever sang a word about letting go and how the cold never bothered her anyway, I sat in my room one ordinary day, thick in the swells of teenage angst. I remember crying and praying about life and what it all meant. Suddenly, out of what felt like nowhere, there is was; as clearly as if it had been audibly uttered into the recesses of my heart, the Holy Spirit whispered, “Let go.” I stood up with goosebumps on my arms and in the midst of such a holy moment actually had the audacity to shake my head no to God! You see, the only thing more impossible than the struggle I found myself in was the idea of letting go. I clung tightly to every piece of my life, desperate for control. To let go of the illusion of control I clothed myself in every morning was unfathomable.

The theme of letting go continues to find its way into my life often, much to my frustration. I’m frustrated because it’s something I still need to learn, even after all this time. I really wish I could share that I’ve pried my fingers off the edge of the cliff and have free fallen into the strong arms of God, but that wouldn’t be true. A more honest and accurate report would be that I have released a finger or two from its years-long cliffside post, which is progress and such a good thing - but I want something more.

Last week in the blog comments a sweet reader shared that her friend often points out there is a difference between trusting in God and trusting God, with the latter being the most difficult. I couldn’t agree more. That’s exactly what I want - true, unwavering, unadulterated trust in our Father. And to get there, I know I have to stop holding back and let go.

Living a life of not having to hold ANYTHING back - isn’t that what we’re really after? When we get vulnerable with people and share our hearts, we do it because in the back of our minds we hope someone will say, I see you, I hear you, and I love you, even in this. Especially in this. You’re not too much. You’re not not enough. You’re wonderful, just as you are. In the deepest corners of our hearts we desire to be in relationships where we get to meet each other in this level of vulnerability and authenticity and find total and complete acceptance. I’m convinced of it.

So often we go off in search of this validation from people with skin on because in some ways, it feels easier. We need to hear it audibly and I think that’s okay. But the truth is, we will never get enough validation or acceptance from any person because at our core, we are needy people. The neediness isn’t something we need to fear. We were made that way, after all. Which makes it all the more important to realize that ultimately, we crave this acceptance because our spirits long for this unity with God above all else.

We can have small tastes of this acceptance with God without going all in and fully letting go. I know because I have experienced it for myself, and I’ve spoken with other women who have too. But if we want it for real, in a way that changes us from the inside out? We have to let go. Because when we let go, it means we no longer have to hold anything back. And that’s freedom, my friends.

I wish I had a bullet point list of something to give you like, “5 Ways to Let Go!” but it just isn’t happening - at least not now. This is something that I am smack in the middle of learning. When I started writing and publishing my words years ago, one thing I knew for sure is that I am called to get vulnerable and share what God is doing in my heart so other women would know they aren’t alone in their struggles. So. I’m going to get really brave and share my heart over these next few weeks (or months...or gulp...years?) as I learn more about what it means to let go, how to actually do it, and the fallout that may come as a consequence. This is the craziest thing I’ve done writing-wise. I usually only write and share the lessons I’ve learned long after they’ve happened and I’ve had lots of time to process, but I’m smart enough to know that letting go is going to be something I learn about my whole life. If I wait until I feel secure in this area, it’s going to be something I spend forever waiting on. I know this is going to be messy and probably not eloquent in the slightest, but I think I’m okay with it. I'm doing this because I need to learn how to surrender and let go. 

And maybe, just maybe, this is something somebody else needs to learn about, too.

So I'm letting go and sharing my journey with you.