Letting Go

Are you carrying too much?
What do you need to let go of?
I ask you this because I have been carrying too much. I temporarily took a break from posting because my life felt overwhelming. And now I come back to writing still feeling overwhelmed and stressed but I have learned something. This thing I learned is not earth-shatteringly new, in fact it is probably something very evident to you that you may have recognized in yourself in your own life. I should have known, but instead when it became apparent to me I actually was shocked. Shocked that I knew the connection intellectually but had not applied it in my actual life. Let me explain.
You see, it became apparent that I am very controlling. My thoughts tell me that if I don’t do it, it won’t get done. Nor will it get done according to my timeline unless I keep pressuring myself to push through. You see, I realized that I must think it is all about me, I am responsible for it all. And then the really tough thing I realized is that it is not everyone else “stressing me out” as I thought, but rather it is my need to control it all that is at the bottom of all my stress. And all of this stress is causing problems. Anger, frustration, hurt, and guilt are frequently at the forefront of the way I feel and respond. I have been complaining to others that they are the cause of my stress when in reality it is me and my attitude about life.
I recently read a beautiful prayer that spoke of abandoning outcomes to the Lord. It was that prayer that gave me a clue about what was going on. I decided that I need to be praying for help to abandon outcomes; to let go, and really put it in the Lord’s hand. What happened to trusting Him? You know the little verse, “Be still and know that I am God” from Psalm 46:10. That is what this is about. But instead of trusting in His will, I clutch on to my own will to make sure everything turns out the way I think I should. Choosing to abandon an outcome to Him would demonstrate trust in His sovereignty. I trust Him with some things,  but I guess I pick and choose which are safe to trust Him with and which ones I need to control. It is quite obvious to me there are way too many situations where I feel the need to be responsible for things. I can tell by the tightness in my neck and shoulder muscles. My need for control keeps me striving instead of surrendering.

The “what if” questions bombard me, and I tighten my grip on control rather than giving the outcome to Him. But the pressure is off, isn’t that the promise of Matthew 11:28-30? Aren’t we asked to learn “the unforced rhythm of grace” (The Message)? Reading those words brings tears to my eyes. There is nothing unforced in trying to control. The Lord is here to carry the burden and lead me through it all, so why do I hold on so tight?
Letting go is hard. I know I am carrying too much. I know I am feeling so overburdened. And it is all because I am trying to control so many outcomes. Yet, as I said, it all surprised me, it kind of slapped me in the face with a realization I have been oblivious to. I mean, I know the Lord’s love for me, why does my trust waiver?
I know that there are pressures and expectations constantly coming my way from others. And my stress starts when I first hear about another to-do, another obligation. But my need to fill the hole inside leads me to press on, work hard, and take control. I try to make the outcome feed the need within rather than find my satisfaction in what the Lord has to give me apart from my striving. And all of this leaves me exhausted from racing on the treadmills of performance and people-pleasing.
Are you exhausted and feeling overburdened?
This month’s posts will center on the theme of letting go of negative attitudes and emotions that keep us from peace within. I hope you will join me in this exploration.

Advertisements

Pouring Out the Hurt in Your Heart

What do you do with the pain, frustration, or anger in your heart?

Psalm 62:8 tells us that we should pour out our hearts to God. When I am feeling upset that is not what I consistently do. But I learned a very important lesson recently, a lesson worth sharing.

I got off the phone, I felt angry and resentful. I felt unappreciated and lost. I kept replaying the conversation in my head. I had an errand to run, but I quickly texted a friend telling her that I needed to talk.  She was unavailable. So, I got in my car and started on my 45 minute drive. As I drove I talked to the Lord, ranting and raving about how frustrated I felt. I told Him I was done, I was so upset.

He immediately spoke to my heart. I must say it wasn’t the comfort I wanted, instead, it was the truth necessary to help me in growing.

Looking back at what happened I realized how the Lord did not want me to pour out my heart to my close friend. He wanted me to tell Him! He had something important that I needed to hear. I still talked with my friend later and she helped me to feel loved and gave me the empathy I needed. I also called my pastor and explained the situation, giving him some background information. He helped me to gain better understanding of what was going on inside of my heart and talked with me about how to move forward. The Lord used both my friend and my pastor to help me and give me what I needed, but in His eyes it was most important that I first heard what He had to say.

I think we often miss out on hearing the truths that the Lord has for us because we so quickly run to others. Maybe we pick up the phone, or run to a neighborhood friend, or talk to a close family member. We share our feelings with others, rather than taking it to the Lord and miss what He has for us.

The truth He told me stung like a slap in the face and it brought me to tears, but it helped me to see why I had reacted as I did. The conversation on the phone triggered feeling memories from events in the past and my anger and hurt came from that place. I didn’t recognize it until the Lord helped me see it. My reaction was selfish and unloving because I was fully focused on what I felt and needed.

The Lord in His omniscience and wisdom knew exactly what it would take to make me see what was happening. And in shaking the foundations of my self-protective walls, the Lord unearthed more work in my heart that I need to be open to doing.

All of this has made me realize the great importance of taking my feelings, neediness, and emotional pain to the Lord in honesty, before I share it with another person. I realize now that the Lord may have a lesson to teach me, or He may want to bring something to my awareness that I have buried, or there could be any number of things He may want to share.

Sheila Walsh talks about sharing from the “cellar of your soul” when praying. I have been doing that sometimes in the morning, but things come up unexpectedly during the day that He also needs to hear about. And when I don’t go to Him I miss out on getting His take and hearing His wisdom.

I realize now that I need to take my reactions and responses to Him throughout the day and talk with Him about them. I may think I have it all under control, I may think I have a clear understanding of what is going on.  I may think I am fully justified in my anger and just be ready to quit. But the Lord sees the big picture, He knows the whole truth about each situation. He knows what I need in order to grow and in order to heal.

What have you buried in your heart that you need to talk with the Lord about?

What relationship is breaking because of hurt feelings and unforgiveness?

Take these to the Lord.

Pour out your heart to Him! And remember to wait for Him to speak to your heart. He knows exactly what we need no matter what the situation or circumstance. We need to take our struggles and desperation to Him. He is always waiting to hear from us and always ready to lead us in wisdom.