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.


The Path of Surrender for God’s Greater Glory

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done.”  Luke 22:42

Beautiful surrender to the will of God for the glory of God, that is what Jesus shows us there in the Garden of Gethsemane. He shares the sorrow and agony of His heart, asks for a different path, but surrenders to the wisdom of His Father’s will.

Oh, Jesus, what lessons we can learn from You there in the Garden.

1. Jesus took the pain and deep distress He felt and shared the reality of it.

Jesus took with Him His three dearest friends, His inner circle. Jesus did not hide behind a facade of “I’m fine,” or “Hey, I got this one guys, no pain, no gain.” He was real about how He felt, He didn’t hide His agony.

When you are in agony and distress what do you do? Do you go to Your Heavenly Father and speak to Him out of the place of your desperation, out of the cellar of your soul?

Our Father in Heaven wants us to freely come to Him with our pain, worry, fear, and hurt. He wants us to know His presence and to trust Him with our needs and our concerns.

2. Jesus prayed with earnestness, yet He prayed with a great desire to bring His Father glory.

His prayer was a prayer of surrender, “not my will but your’s be done.”

Jesus asked for the cup to be taken from Him, but He left the decision in His Father’s hands.

I think the difference here, at least sometimes in my prayers, is that I tell the Father how to accomplish my will. And all the fear in my heart, all of my worry, all of my inner distress shadows the light of God’s love. Jesus knows the Father’s love, He does not question it. And Jesus speaks to the Father out of a place of deepest humility. When we come in humility, it no longer is about getting our way, it’s about God getting the glory.

3. Jesus lives up to His name Prince of Peace even when He is arrested. He lives and dies to bring glory to God.

Jesus gets up from praying and soon His betrayers are at hand. He sees the army of men coming to get Him. He doesn’t become alarmed or put up a fight. He remains peaceful. In fact, when an ear is sliced off of one of the soldier’s that has come for Him, Jesus takes time to heal the man’s ear.

When I get up from prayer and I sometimes leave feeling unsure of what will happen. I leave with fear, I question my Heavenly Father’s love, I leave that place in a mode of self-protection. It still is all about me and I want to fight for what I want. But, not so with Jesus.

I am sure Jesus left His place of prayer knowing He was going to the cross, knowing He would face separation from His Father, and that He would carry the heavy burden of the sins of the world. Yet, He left empowered to bring God glory. He didn’t self-protect and fight against the coming cross. He wasn’t interested in taking revenge by fighting or hurting the soldiers. He only stood strong in His Father’s love and walked peacefully in a continued ministry toward the mission of greater grace.

4. Jesus goes with the soldiers to His trial and does not argue, He let’s Truth be truth. 

Do you want to fight for your way? As I have said, there are sometimes that I do.

Fighting with words or with power is the way of fear, but “perfect love casts out fear.” And Jesus walks in perfect love, fully trusting His Father’s will to be best. He goes to the trial, He goes to the cross as “a lamb to the slaughter.” He has no need to defend Himself. He knows Who He and Whose He is.

5. Jesus endures the agony of the cross still filled with love. 

I don’t know about you, but I have trouble dealing with pain, and my natural response when I am in pain is not often one of love.

But Jesus, even on the cross, responds with love. He sees the evil, He feels the heaviness of the sin, and He prays. He prays for His Father to forgive them, “for they know not what they do.” Jesus has sympathy and empathy, He again shows love and gives grace even there on the cross. He surrenders to the way of the Father even then. He lives out love and showers us with grace even today.

6. Jesus’ body is taken to the tomb and on the third day He rises from the dead. 

He surrendered to the point of the cross and death and then comes forth from the tomb.  HE IS RISEN!  And all glory goes to our Heavenly Father for giving us Jesus as our substitute.

Only Jesus could surrender in humility and love for the purpose of grace and glory.

Only Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, could be slaughtered for our sin, risen to give us His righteousness and hope everlasting.

All our faith and hope must be in Him for He alone is our Savior. He walked the path of surrender to give all glory to the Father. He is our perfect example. 

Lord, help us to follow in the way of our Suffering Servant. Help us to walk the path of surrender as we know the magnitude of Your love. May all glory be given to You. Amen. 

Have a blessed Resurrection Day as you remember all that Jesus has done for us. 

Surrendering: Letting Go of the Unnecessary

I had the joy of spending much of the day with a dear friend a few days ago. She moved out-of-state a year ago, and I have only seen her one other time since the big move. We did all the girl-friendy things women do when they get together; lunch, shopping, coffee, and nonstop chatter. It was so good to be together, to have time for long conversations.

During the course of one of our conversations, I mentioned that I was getting rid of some clothes that no longer fit. I told her how difficult it was for me to part with things, because I become too attached to them. She agreed, saying she struggled with the same problem. She said that she attached “a memory to things” and that is what made parting with them difficult. Yes, that is exactly, what I do.

Yesterday, I took a few bags of things to a donation center. It felt good. But there are still too many things in the house. There’s a lot more to be sorted through, a lot more unnecessary clutter around. Clutter that gets rearranged in different piles or different baskets to look nice.

So much freedom and peace is lost in having too much stuff. So much stress grows in living with too much clutter. There are so many things we cling to that we don’t need, yet we hold tight to them.

I wonder what attachments I have to things that keep me from attaching more deeply to the Lord?

How much time do I waste rearranging things to make it look nice? Time that I could be using for His purposes.

How many things do I have duplicates of that never get used? Items that others may be in need of.

It has been my goal for a while to work at decluttering. I make a little progress, but all too soon I am finding new items that I feel I can’t live without replacing the things I gave away.

What a vicious circle! It all seems to be to fill an emptiness inside, a hunger for something to satisfy a need.

I think, often, it is also a problem of lack of focus, of wanting to try to many things, and of course, of impulse shopping.

Surrendering my heart to the Lord means allowing Him to use what I have for His purposes. It is all His.

How about you, do you find yourself struggling with too much stuff? Do you spend too much time rearranging and end up feeling frustrated? What will surrendering your heart to the Lord mean for you as you consider the things you cling to?


Surrendering: Being Pure in Heart

1 John 3:6 AMPC “No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him-deliberate, knowingly and habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived or understood Him or has had an experiential acquaintance with Him].”

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

The word pure is defined as “free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter.”

After the psalmist David sinned with Bathsheba, he wrote Psalm 51. He cries out to the Lord in verse 10, “Create in me a clean heart.” His heart was contaminated, it wasn’t pure, and David knew only the Lord could change that.

Our hearts are made pure in Jesus, as He is present in our lives. We are sinful humans, our hearts are filled with evil and wickedness (see Jeremiah 17:9) apart from forgiveness of sins in Jesus.

1 John 2:16 AMPC “For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh [craving sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]- these do not come from your Father but from the world [itself].”

Bible commentator William Barclay describes the heart that is “free from adulterous motives” as being pure. 

Our hearts are divided, there are too often many things clamoring for our attention, pulling at our heartstrings. So many temptations.

John Piper says, “The aim of a pure heart is to align itself with the truth of God and magnify the worth of God.”

Do you find your heart divided? Is it contaminated by this world? Are you pulled away by temptations?

I see it in my heart, in my life.

My prayer is for my Heavenly Father to help me in being pure in heart. My heart needs to be bathed in His Truth, washed by Christ’s blood, and the plumb line for each choice needs to be Christ’s righteousness.

I want to grow in purity.

– to really love Him with all of my heart, soul, and mind, rather than being distracted and pulled away by the things of this world.

– to set my heart on things above, and not become discontent and dissatisfied here. It is too easy to “set my heart” on desires here on earth.

– to have an eternal perspective as I live this life on earth, looking forward to what Jesus is preparing for me in heaven. Does anything matter more than that?

– to rest in Him, knowing the full assurance I have because of the belonging He has given me. I have been bought with Christ’s blood. I don’t need to look for reassurance in things here in this world, not in money, not in status, not in power, or in anything else.k

I want to be solely focused on living for Him, glorifying His name, and being the light I am called to be in a dark world.

The promise is that the pure in heart will see God. Yes, of course we will see Him in eternity because we have salvation through Christ, but it goes even beyond that. When our hearts are pure, our wills are aligned with His, we see Him at work in our lives, we see Him answering our prayers, we recognize His hand in circumstances more readily, we grow in knowing Him more deeply when our hearts are focused on Him. We have the opportunity to see Him now as we live on this earth.

What a beautiful promise!


Surrendering: Seeking God’s Agenda

I am a planner, I love getting my calendar out to plan a get-together, or mark down an appointment. I like writing out my to-do list, because I enjoy marking off what I have accomplished. I enjoy planning menus and having it all organized for easy meals. I love planning retreats. I look forward to planning coffee shop stops on a trip to a certain destination.

I often consider time to be mine. And, too often, I desire to use it for my purposes.

One area of surrender that I feel prompted to work on is seeking God’s agenda. Thinking about what is important to Him? I get so focused on what I want to do or feel I need to do that I hate interruptions and miss opportunities.

But what is the agenda the Lord has for me? Finding that out requires delving into knowing God’s heart deeply. The more I look into the subject of surrender, the more I see the importance of abiding in Him. So, I am going to use that word ABIDE as our acronym for how to seek God’s agenda. I think that what we need to remember is that it isn’t so much about what we have on our agenda but how can we choose to use it for God’s purposes. We can choose to ABIDE in all we have to do.

Administer grace- As you go through your day, choose to do what touches other with the grace of our Lord and Savior. Even that rude driver that pulls out in front of you and cuts you off can be offered the grace of a forgiving heart.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as Christ also has forgiven you.


Be in unity- Seek unity in Christ in your relationships with other believers. We speak with others often, but not all Christians, so  how can we choose unity over division? When we show love we unify. Draw others in so they see how Christ’s love binds heart and minds together.

1 Peter 3: 8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (Peter is speaking to believers in this verse.)


Increase kingdom growth- Be ready to share His Gospel wherever you go, with those you share time or those you happen to run into.

1 Peter 3:15 But in your heart honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect.

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.


Delight in Him and in His Word- Use any few quiet, spare moments you have to meditate on the Lord and His Word. Think about the verses you read earlier in the day as you wait at the stop light. Let His truths permeate your being so it seeps into and throughout your life.

Romans 7:22  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law.


Edify others- Encourage and build one another up. Share in others trials and suffering. Touch others with the peace and hope that the Lord has given you. Comfort others with the comfort He has given you.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.


Each of these are important themes of God’s Word, they are close to God’s heart. They are what really matters to Him.

I know there may be specific things the Lord has for each of us on a given day that He wants us to do, He will share those as you seek Him in prayer. Yet, every day we can live out His agenda, by living life according to His Word, by the Truths of His heart.

Surrender your life to Him by letting each moment count for His glory.




Surrendering: Growing Meek in Spirit

Meekness is not a term used very often today. Jesus used it to describe Himself in Matthew 11:29 AMPC. He said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart…”

The word meek is defined according the HELPS Word Studies as “not weakness” but rather referring “to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.” It is a “blend of gentleness (reserve) and strength.”

It seems that often meekness is acquainted with weakness, but this shows that to be meek really is to demonstrate harnessed power. It would be having the power to plow over someone in words or actions but to harness that power, to keep emotions in tack, to remain humble and set aside personal rights.

Jesus had all of the power in the world to change things for His purposes, for His self-protection, but He gave into the will of the Father. He had perfect trust in His Father as His Advocate. He put aside His rights and privileges.

Philippians 2:5-8 NIV  describes it like this: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; But made Himself of  no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man; And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. ”

Let this mind be in me. I have a lot of surrendering to do in order to demonstrate meekness. There are so many areas where I need help in living out meekness.

I need the Lord to help me surrender my need to have my way.

I need the Lord to help me stop seeking to advance my cause or be given my rights above others.

I need the Lord’s help in harnessing the power when I have opportunity to use it for my purposes rather than His.

I need the Lord’s help to keep my anger from boiling over.

I need the Lord to help me keep my pride from bursting out, and instead lead me to humility.

I need Him to teach me meekness. It is only as I trust Him to be at work on my behalf that I will have the strength to be meek. When I trust that He will accomplish what is best for me, then I don’t need to have my own way or advance my cause, because He is all about doing just that.

I need to trust my Fathers’ heart of love as Jesus did, and then I will know meekness and how to live it out.

Surrender is costly. Meek is such a little word, but but requires great strength to live up to it in our daily lives.

Are you recognizing areas that you need to surrender in your life as well?