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Feb 26, 2014

Let Go. Let God.

I've been meaning to write about this since I walked out of the church doors a couple of Sundays ago, but just haven't had time.

Pastor Frank gave a very moving sermon about assessing and addressing our internal wounds. During the sermon he showed a short video of people holding up handwritten signs bravely confessing their wounds: I am addicted to meth, my husband abandoned me, I regret, I'm afraid, I was abused, I'm an alcoholic, I'm angry, I'm lustful...things like that.  Then it showed the words on the signs being crossed out as each person handed them over to God...

Let go.  Let God.

I sat staring at the screen, hypnotized by those words being crossed off by our loving and understanding father who has experienced it all - pain, suffering, feelings of abandonment and loneliness, betrayal, temptation, anger...deep wounds that we all harbor in some form, torments or traumas from things we've done or things done to us.

Wounds we keep hidden in our darkest places so no one can see or sense them.  We're ashamed of them, embarrassed by them, afraid of them.  Some of us have so many wounds or such large gaping wounds that the dark places in which we hide them expand, pushing all else away.  I know people like that.  I have friends like that. 

Hell, I've lived like that for a time.  Through very stupid and hurtful decisions I've made, by thoughtless acts done to me, terrifying situations, helplessness...I've been depressed and alone and scared, living in the dark.  My family and friends, who love me and pray for me and kick me in the ass when necessary, helped pull me out a time or two and continue to be guideposts to me.  And my faith teaches me and counsels me and comforts me.  But I remember the dark...

It can become suffocating and exhausting just trying to survive in that dark - it's emotionally, spiritually, even physically heavy.  And that's when the fear seeps in, wrapping it's ugly tentacles around our hearts and minds.

Fear, I believe, is the most dangerous human emotion, from which all other negative human emotions stem.  And fear can breed some very powerful responses when we live in the dark.  Two I experienced most were selfishness and loneliness.  After all, we can't see much in the dark other than ourselves and how alone we are there.

We can become blind to those surrounding us, those who want to help us or those who need help themselves.  We can become blind to everything but our own suffering. 

So we hold onto our wounds and rip them open again and again, because to suffer is to feel, and feeling pain is sometimes better than feeling nothing.

It becomes difficult to remember the lightness of being free, unshackled from our wounds, from our fear.  It becomes difficult to see that we shackle ourselves. 

Let go. Let God. 

The step from darkness into light isn't as big a step as we fear it to be.  Especially because we don't have to take it alone. 

I believe God knows our every thought, word and deed.  I believe that he walks right beside us as we trudge through our everydays, that he cheers for us during our triumphs, that he sits with us during our torments, that he feels sorrow for our mistakes, though he never gives up on us.

I believe that he is with us even when we don't acknowledge him, that he believes in us even when we don't believe in him.

Isaiah 40:31
[have you said] “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”?  Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?  God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.  He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.  And he knows everything, inside and out.  He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.  For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.  But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.  They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.

Joshua 1:9
Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

Isaiah 41:10
Don’t be afraid. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Owning up to our mistakes, our fears and wounds...realizing that we do not want to merely survive in the dark anymore, that we want more from life, more from ourselves...admitting that we cannot shoulder these burdens on our own any longer...and asking God for help allows us to forgive ourselves, to forgive others...and to finally let go.

Let go.  Let God. 

And the feeling of truly letting go of the loneliness and hate and fear and self loathing and bitterness and anger and grudges, well, it's like gravity has been suspended. 

It is the lightness of truly being

Once we stand freely in the light, a whole world comes into view that was once shrouded.  We see others surrounding us.  We see other lives and other struggles and other triumphs and the beauty of our differences.  Compassion is cultivated in that place and serving each other becomes more important than serving ourselves. And instead of feeling the pain of our wounds, we feel compassion and love and mercy and grace for and from others and God.

2 Samuel 22:29
Suddenly, God, your light floods my path, God drives out the darkness.

Philippians 2:3-4
Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

There is joy to be found in that place.  A joy that's inexplicable and soul filling.

It's not always an easy road.  No one, not even God, promises us that. But the hard times are easier to bear when we allow others to help us carry them.  When we have someone to go to, to lean on, to depend on.  That's what the light gives us. 

I apologize if this comes off as preachy.  I certainly don't intend it to be.  I've learned these things throughout my life and need daily reminders of their truth.

Because I still go through dark times, when I feel the tickle of my wounds trying to return to me.  Sometimes I'm so stupid that I let them in like old friends, almost grateful for their familiar sting.

But my faith is much stronger now. And I have learned how to wield it at the moments when I need it to help me fight against the pull of the darkness...

Romans 13:12
The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Pastor Frank's sermon reminded me of the importance of these truths for myself and provoked me to put this out there for those who might be, like I became, tired of shackles.  For those who need to know that they can

Let Go.  Let God.

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