Musings

Holding Tight to Let Go

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for Me, you will find it.”  Matthew 16:25

She held onto the little green frog with all the strength that an animal-loving child can muster.  We told her that if she held on that tight, she would end up hurting the frog, but she was convinced she was showing love and compassion by “taking care of it because it doesn’t have a family.”  Of course, 10 minutes later the frog was limp from the loving death-grip of my child.  She was broken-hearted to see that what she intended for good really did more harm.

Why is it that we feel like the most loving thing we can do is to hold onto something? I have never thought of myself as being clingy in terms of relationships, but man can I cling onto dreams, plans, goals, hopes, money, security…my white-knuckled grip on life just comes naturally.  Letting go feels like losing control.  Which feels like risk.  Which feels like fear.  Which feels like failure.  And no one likes to fail.  But who said that letting go automatically equates to failure?  What if it actually equals reward?

When we said “yes” to cross-cultural work a few years ago, we did so with a back-up plan, you know, just in case.  Just in case it was too hard.  Or too risky.  Or too dangerous.  We stashed some stuff away so that we could run back to the states and play it safe if we needed to.  We went with the understanding that when our two years was over, we could back out and do something else.  We were so holy, weren’t we??

But somewhere along the way we realized that we were holding on to the wrong thing.  We were holding on to comfort.  Control.  Safety.  Security.  And nowhere in the life of Jesus or in the Gospel do we find those things to be something we are told to chase after.  When our economy says:

Hold on

Save up

Reach high

Win

Protect

Immediate gratification 

 

God’s economy says:

Let go

Give away

Bend low

Lose

Suffer

Eternal Reward

So yesterday we emptied out our little storage-unit-safety-net and took another step towards surrender and letting go.  Not because our life overseas ended up being easy or safe.  It’s actually all of the things we were afraid it would be.  Hard.  Dangerous.  Challenging.  But I am finding that the beauty of the gospel is this:

The call of Jesus to let go is not so we are left empty handed, but rather so we can cling only to Him.

If we truly believe the HE IS ALL WE NEED, then HE IS ALL WE NEED.  Period.  Not savings accounts.  Not storage units.  Not safety and security and comfort.  Just Him.  We have to stop saying He is all we need while we’re fully stocked and loaded for if/when everything falls through.  All that we think we want or need, He is.  In that knowledge, we find freedom to do and be and go and not be held down by fear.

“If you love your life, you will lose it.  If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life.”  John 12:25

We have to love Jesus more.  More than stuff.  More than comfort.  More than money in the bank.  I’m not talking about being reckless in our pursuit of temporary pleasure- don’t drain your bank account and rack up debt for stuff that won’t last.  I’m talking about releasing the need for and control of those things to follow Him.  When we love Him more, when we open our hands and release our life to His will and His purpose, only then can we truly cling to the One who controls it all anyway.  Don’t love your life so much that you end up with a death-grip on it that steals the very life from you.

Loosen your grasp and cling to Him.  He is trustworthy and faithful.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:11-13

Today, my hands may be a bit emptier, but my heart is fuller.  What are you holding onto today that He is asking you to let go of?

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