Fear of Letting Go
I believe that so many of us lose out on the favor and blessing of God because we are not willing to give our whole lives to him. So often we can give our Sunday, but not our Monday to Saturday. We can be generous in one area of our life, yet clench a fist around another. Sometimes we can be so caught up in the world that we are blind to the distance it is taking us from our Father. Too easily, we can make God our Savior, but neglect to make him Lord of our life. Pricilla Shriver said, in one of her sermons I was listening to: “There are over 8000 promises in the bible for us. That are just available to us--our inheritance. But God did not place them in our hands. He placed them in our reach. We have to actively participate in the experience of those promises."
So often we want the life God called us for. We want God's favor and blessing, but we don’t actually want to do the thing that gets us there. We fail to just let go and let God be God.
I want to tell you a story. You can find the text in 1 Kings 17:8-24, but for entertainment sake (Ha) I'm going to just tell you the story in my version...
Elijah the prophet had just proclaimed famine over all the land and was currently in hiding (God's orders). After the provisions from the wilderness dried up, God said to Elijah: “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” Elijah obeyed and headed for the city where he found a widow gathering sticks. (Side note: Had Elijah not got up and gone when God told him he would have missed the widow. Sometimes we can hum and haw while we decide whether or not to obey God and we miss the very opportunity God was giving us.)
When he saw the woman, he asked her for some water (in a drought) and then just to top it off, said: “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” She turned to him and told him that all she had was a handful of flour and a little oil and would be taking it to share with her son so that they could eat it and then die. (I mean, she was having a rough day, she was literally at the end of her rope, and this man was asking her for everything she had.)
So Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.”
The woman trusted him and God was faithful to his promise (I love that “generosity is a way of life, regardless of our circumstances.” She very easily could have clenched her fist around what little she had left, and sent Elijah packing. But she walked by faith and not by sight, and she said YES to God.)
Elijah stayed with this woman for some time and that very blessing of her obedience fed them all for many days. (I love that a widow kept a prophet alive. God cares equally for the prophet as he does the widow. He shows that there is no hierarchy but we are all the same.)
At this point, the widow's son fell ill and he died. She cried out to Elijah, who then carried the boy upstairs and prayed to God to return his soul and the Lord did so. As her son came downstairs, she said to Elijah: “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.” (I love that faith carried her until she got the BIG miracle. Her faith allowed her to let go and trust these orders from God. She attended to the kingdom first, letting go of all she had in faith. Which then opened a pathway for not only a immediate miracle but one down the road that she had no idea she would ever need. I love that God's plan to collide the widow and the prophet was SO much bigger then a simple "Yes." Our willingness to give God our life is not only for today but for tomorrow.)
I love the widow's example of living with hands wide open, a generous heart, and the might of blind faith. Letting go can be scary; we want to be in control so that we can protect ourselves. The problem is we were never designed for the driver seat and when we take over we do a lousy job. God's blessings pour down when he is Lord of our life and every nook and cranny of it is given to him.
Here are 2 ways I believe we can start letting go so we can give everything to God:
1. Don’t let Jesus become casual
We can get so familiar with the gospel that we take it for granted. It is WE, not God, who determine the relationship we have with him. God always chooses us--but he never needs us, he wants us. The difference is, do we choose him? Do we seek first the kingdom or do we seek first the kingdom benefits?
When we are hungry for God we move mountains to be in his presence. The closer we get, the closer we want to be--the more our eyes become opened, and our hearts awakened. I encourage you to position yourself to start becoming hungry for God.
I encourage you to intentionally make God unfamiliar. Do a study on the gospels. Post scripture all around your house, and every chance you get, stop and meditate on it; sing and lift your voice to God--not only on Sunday but every day.
Continuously go to God with an empty hand and seek his face. The bible says: “Blessed are those that are poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I pray that we get so desperate for Jesus that he is all we want, that we merely don’t just go through the motions, but live to be on our knees in front of Christ because he is all we need.
2. Live amazed by God
God will never become familiar when we live our lives amazed by him. Roman 12:2 says: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Joyce Meyer, for a couple decades now, has journaled every prayer request and written down every time God answered her prayer. Living in faith and giving every area to God she wrote down “Lord I need 12 dishcloths.” A couple weeks later her door bell rang, a stranger stood there with a bag of 12 dishcloths and told her that she may come off as crazy, but she felt the Lord was telling her to give them to her.
Joyce shared many more amazing stories but I share this one with you because A) God is amazing and B) he cares about every detail of our life--even dish towels. So, girlfriend, just let go and give everything to him. I encourage you to start journaling your needs and prayers and watch how God miraculously works in your life.
I truly believe that when we stop living for victory and start living from victory, our lives change.
In Bobbie Houston’s book "The Sisterhood" she writes, “God's desire is that our life flourish in such a manner, that they become a display of his goodness before all nations.” I couldn’t agree more. He wants you; he wants to be lord of your life. When we surrender to God and he gets our whole life, then he gets the glory. And we get to participate in God's miraculous plan.
As I prepared to write this post, I lay in bed one night asking God what areas I needed to surrender to him. In my spirit, I instantly heard “Your children." I live with a clenched fist around my kids; I don’t like other people watching them, I don’t like being away from them (call me nuts).
So clear in my spirit God said: “I've called you to ministry and if you don’t give your kids to me, you will never fulfill the plan I have for you.”
Tears started streaming down my face because I knew this--I've known this for a long time. I just didn’t want to know it (you feel me?) I spoke back, “I know, Lord, it just feels so hard” and the most gentle, still voice spoke back to me: “I know. I never said it would be easy.”
So I ask you: What is it in your life that you are not willing to give up? What is your fist clenched around?
Just like God said to me, I say to you: Friend, it will not be easy, but you will not become who God called you to be without letting go. I pray we all live with a hand wide open to God.
Love to you,