It’s a simple phrase, but not always a simple practice. Here are seven steps to make this prayer a reality.
Posted in , Apr 23, 2020
It sounds like such a straightforward statement: let go and let God. Easy to say but not so easy to do. Right? People who say that don’t necessarily have your life with its stress, worries, fears and problems. Or maybe it’s just me thinking this way?
So “let go and let God” may seem simple, but it’s not. Still, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It doesn’t even mean that it has to be hard. It’s possible, if—and sure, that’s a fairly big “if”—you sincerely and prayerfully follow steps such as these:
1) Identify what you can control—and what you can’t.
My wife is a professional counselor. She and I often remind each other of our shared definition of mental and spiritual health: controlling what you can—not what you can’t.
Much of our inability to “let go and let God” stems from our failure to recognize that often the things that stress us and worry us are things we can’t control.
2) Address what you can control.
Another key to mental health is action. In fact, very often inactivity breeds worry, even depression. One antidote to worry and stress is action. So, instead of brooding over your situation, take action on the things you can control (which almost exclusively pertain to you and your attitudes; funny how that works).
3) Surrender what you can’t control.
In the words of the late theologian E. Stanley Jones, “Surrender the thing you fear into the hands of God. Turn it right over to God and ask Him to solve it with you. Fear is keeping things in your own hands; faith is turning them over into the hands of God—and leaving them there.”
4) Meditate on the promises of your faithful God.
The psalmist sang, “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done” (Psalm 143:5, NIV).
Replace your frantic thoughts with calming thoughts, based on God’s promises such as, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV).
5) Choose a “letting go” motto.
Select a memorable verse or phrase that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day to keep your mind and spirit from descending into worry.
For example, “in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15, KJV) or “It is well with my soul.” You might even choose a new one every day or every week.
6) Resolve not to act on fear but on faith.
To quote E. Stanley Jones again, “Never act on a fear, for fears are usually false…. Don’t build your life according to any pattern shown to you in the valley of fear. Wait till you get to the mount of faith and then build your life plans.”
7) Focus your mind and heart on trusting God today.
Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34, NIV).
He didn’t suggest that we won’t have trouble; far from it. He did say, however, that we should focus our minds and hearts on this day and its challenges. That’s plenty. The same God who is with us and empowers us to meet today will be there tomorrow.
So maybe “let go and let God” isn’t expecting too much. If, that is, we do it one day at a time.