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Letting Go: Part 1



Romans 12:18 – “If possible, as far as it depends upon you, live at peace with everyone.”

 

I think it’s naturally human to “hold on” to stuff – people, places, things, habits…  If we are really honest with ourselves, we may recognize that we are either control freaks or maybe “recovering” control freaks.  Take a moment and just notice how upset you get when something you “hold onto” daily is no longer there.  Maybe it’s your cup of morning Joe, your WIFI connection, or, more seriously, your family members…  Perhaps you could consider any toxic people, places, things or habits you are holding on to…

 

Now consider how you may be holding onto, or trying to control Others and Outcomes (two of the three “O’s” in the “O Zone” – Others, Outcomes and Old Stuff).   Do you stay awake at night trying to figure out how to please other people?  Do you strategize for long periods of time (more than you’d like) on how you can get ahead in life or in your career?

 

While it is certainly natural and normal to think and care about Others and Outcomes, it is also a human slippery slope to get stuck there, believing that we can control or, better said, that we are RESPONSIBLE for Others or Outcomes.  In our high-paced, competitive and stressful culture, we are rewarded and reinforced to be control freaks. 

 

Many other writers before me have wisely distinguished the difference between control and influence. We certainly do have influence on Others and Outcomes, however, we are not responsible for them and we cannot (nor should we try to) control them. What is most effective (and mentally healthy) is manage our part in relationships or in projects, and to pray for God’s guidance as we walk with Others and through Outcomes (come what may). 

 

Romans 12 is truly an amazing passage, packed with reminders of how to manage ourselves as we engaged in the grand adventure and challenge of growing in Christ-centered community.  

 

If we break the phrases down of this verse, Paul teaches us that…

“If possible” … meaning it may not always be possible, at least not according to our own timing…

“As far as it depends upon you” … we can only directly manage our own individual part in conversations.   Remember we cannot control the “O” zone – Others, Outcomes and Old Stuff.

“Live at peace with everyone” … the goal is always to move toward peace.  Even when we may not want peace (we all have those times, don’t we?) … Still, it certainly looks like God consistently instructs us to work toward peace. 

 

So make a choice to let go.  Then make that choice again, and again, and again! By letting go of overcontrol or over-responsibility of Others and Outcomes, we set ourselves free from a delusional prison.  We have never really been able to control Others or Outcomes – and when we think we can…we make ourselves God.  I for one have NO NEED to be God, but I’m so guilty of “holding on” to unhealthy control… and getting stuck there.  How about you? 

 

God invites us to let go of overcontrol.  We let go through prayer and letting God be God.  We can talk to him about every one of our concerns, asking him for guidance to do just our part.  What is our part?  Live a life of truth in love.  Be both honest and kind with others.  Keep in mind that in emotional moments, we may need time to calm ourselves down and gather our thoughts in order to be both truthful and loving in our communication.  Be sure to invite God into those emotional times.  He encourages us to pray about everything and to live just one moment at a time, in communion or relationship with Him.    

 

May God guide each one of you toward peace, managing just your part (your one life), as you live out each day…one day at a time…and one precious present moment at a time.

 

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle”. -Ian MacLaren

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