What does it mean to “let go, let God”? I’ve heard this before along my journey to a deeper faith and relationship with God, and I thought I knew what it meant. I mean how simple right – let go of something by giving it over to God. Don’t worry about it anymore when you give it over to Him. Sounds so easy. But it wasn’t until this year that I found out what this fully meant and just how hard it was.
I am an organized planner. Like color-coded folders for every upcoming event, trip, holiday, party, etc. type of organized planner. This has made for ongoing jokes within my family, but I’d like to see where they’d be today if I didn’t have all the flight and hotel information in the blue folder for all of our vacations! Along with being an over-zealous planner, I’m also a bit of a control freak, but you might have guessed that already. I like to be in control of my situations and planning is part of that control.
Several years ago my husband and I wanted to relocate to a different state. We prayed for a long time and finally our prayers were answered when my husband was offered a job in North Carolina. I immediately started making plans (and yes, I had a folder!): I’d get an equivalent job making about the same salary, we’d sell our house in Florida and rent a home in our new community until we found the best neighborhood in which to build our dream house. My husband would move first and I’d follow close behind after the house sold and start my new job about two weeks after moving, giving me enough time to unpack and get settled in. Have you heard the saying, “When you make plans, God just laughs”? Well I can only imagine God was rolling on the floor laughing hysterically when I made these plans. Why? Because He had other plans for me, and I was about to get a first-hand lesson in just how difficult it is to let go and let God.
The only part of my plan that came true was that we rented a nice home in a nice community and I followed my husband to NC just 30 days after he started his new job. I didn’t have a job and we hadn’t sold our house. Fast forward 18 months and the situation was the same; I didn’t have a job and we hadn’t sold our house. Our finances were stretched to the limit and so was I.
My job search was getting me interviews but no offers. I began to feel like a failure and depression set in. Why couldn’t I find a job? What was wrong with me? I also began questioning God. Why would He let this happen to us? Had we heard Him wrong and this move was not part of the plan?
As Christians, we learn God has a plan for us. My favorite verse as an adult has been Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) This verse has made me feel safe as life throws me curve balls. But letting go and letting God is very different than just feeling safe knowing God has great plans for me.
A very sweet and dear friend gave me a framed print of this very verse as a going away present when I moved (this was not by accident). It hangs in my bedroom as a daily reminder of her and of Him. However one day 11 months ago it came to life for me. As I walked by it on my way to start my day of job searching, it came to life, almost as if God made me stop to look at it longer than usual. I read it, as I had every day, but this day I understood it. God was telling me to truly let go and let Him lead me.
Letting go means abandoning my control over my earthly desires and dreams. It doesn’t however mean giving up all hope. I can still have hope that my desires are a part of His plan. What I’ve learned is that I can’t consider my life a failure because my dreams do not come true or that they don’t match His plan for me. My hope lies in the fact that He loves me enough to have a plan for me that is greater than I can even imagine.
Letting God means letting Him have complete control of my life and following where he leads me, even if where He is leading me doesn’t match where I want to be. I have to follow the path He places before me. When He closes one door, (a specific job) it is not because I am a failure. I have to view it as He is guiding me down another path. When He opens a door, I have to see it as an opportunity to grasp, knowing He will equip me for the task.
Another thing I have learned is that I am able to follow Him easier when I am close to Him. My desires seem to match His plan when I seek His guidance. The more I study the Bible, His Word, the closer I feel to Him. And the closer I feel to Him, the more I desire to seek Him and please Him. Being aligned with God has opened up more frequent communication with him through my thoughts and prayers. This has led to an alignment of our hearts. With my heart aligned to God’s, His dreams, desires, and plans are now my dreams, desires, and plans. I am also able to recognize the closing and opening of doors as well as His messages and nudges.
The past 11 months have not been an easy road for this control freak to travel and I’m not 100% there yet. This is a journey. I still have hopes of some of my dreams coming true and I still pray for God to fulfill these dreams. However, I end my prayers with “if it is your will” and I am learning to be okay if it is not. I have found the path I am supposed to travel and I am embracing it. In fact, one of the stepping stones on that path was to write this post.
If you are feeling lost and disappointed in your journey, I encourage you to stop and listen for God’s message for you. Begin to let Him lead you and eventually letting go will get easier. Remember, let Him finish the masterpiece He has planned for your life.