It’s easy to say, “let go & let God”, but it’s much harder to actually do just that. I want to let God work in my life, and I know His plan for me is perfect. So why is it so hard to actually give things up? Why is it so difficult to let go of those worries and actually hand them over to the Maker of All?
I’ll admit it: I like to be in control. Most of the time, this is because I want to see things through and make sure they’re perfect (or the Kristen-perfect-standard I talked about in this post). Or, because I feel like no one can do it as well as I can (which is unrealistic, but that’s how it goes in my head).
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Obviously, though, God can do it! So why is it so hard to hand things over to him?
It’s hard to let go when that means taking my hands-off things I’m used to having control over (even when I actually don’t).
In letting go and not actually letting God, I often fall prey to ‘Bible verse fishing’ (there’s a few other names for this, but basically seeking out Bible verses out of context to fit the message you’re looking for) that Phylicia Masonheimer talked about recently.
In a recent post, Phylicia talked about this idea of ‘Bible verse fishing’ (I can’t remember the name she used for this exactly) and how we need to abandon this habit for actually reading the Bible, or at least reading full context of the verses we pull out of context. She then told of a time when she started a Bible study for young women and stopped it midway, because she realized she was also guilty of ‘Bible verse fishing’, which she knew wasn’t right. It wasn’t the example she wanted to set for others.
It takes more time and work to read full passages instead of single verses, but it’s important to do this to understand the full message, instead of pulling out single verses that seem to fit our situation.
Fishing out one verse is the perfect example of ‘letting God’, but not really letting Him at all.
With that one verse, we’re ‘letting’ Him, but only as much as you can learn from one verse, or one sentence of God’s word.
One sentence is not enough. One minute of ‘letting’ Him is not enough.
I’m sure you’ve seen one of my previous posts or mentions of my journey in prayer journaling this year (I’ll link a journal similar to the one I use here and here). Last night, I started my prayer/quiet time with some of my favorite Christian worship songs and my ‘Jesus Calling’ devotional. After reading the day’s devotion, I decided to dive into the mentioned scripture, and actually read the full passage, instead of just the single verse.
This brought me to James 1, which I’ll link here (NIV). I challenge you to read verses 1-26 (or 1-8 if you’re short on time), beyond verse 2, which is one I often see ‘fished out’ on its own. The second verse is good, and it does fit into context more than other singular verses, but there’s even more goodness and lesson-to-be-learned beyond just that one verse. Verse 2 isn’t even a full sentence!
If you only read that second verse, you completely miss the lesson on perseverance, which I read as James’s main idea from verses 1-8.
If you only read one verse, you won’t get the whole message.
If you only ‘let God’ as much as He can fit into one verse, you won’t get His whole message for your life, either.
Trust can’t be wishy-washy. You can’t ‘kind of’ trust. If you don’t trust fully, you’re still doubting and holding onto your own control. If you’re going to trust God, you’ve got to trust Him all the way.
You’ve got to let go, and actually let God.
It’s difficult to hand things over to God and then actually stop worrying about it, but we weren’t meant to be in control of every little detail of our lives. In learning to trust Him fully, we’ve got to hand over the little things and the big things. It’s not easy, but it starts with listening fully, not just to the things we want to hear.
Truly letting go means listening to God all the time, not just when we have one certain thing we’d like an answer about. It means listening, not just to what we want to hear. And it means trusting, especially when it’s hard.
So, my sweet friend, my challenges to you are these:
- Read James 1:1-26, or the full passage of a ‘fished out’ single Bible verse.
- Identify something you’re only kind of trusting God with (like your job, singleness/relationship, a tough friendship or situation, etc.) and let go. Talk to God about this troubling thing and talk to Him about why you can’t let go.
- Write out (yep, grab a piece of paper, or start a fresh note on your phone) three things you’re grateful for today. (And yes, iced coffee can count as one ;). I bet you’ll be able to think of many more than just three.
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Here’s a phone wallpaper I made just for you as a reminder of this message! (Click here to read why I like to have encouraging phone lock screens.)