Former Pastor Pat Duffin,
High Prairie Christian Centre
We “know good” how to worry. It’s not something anyone had to teach us, although we probably learned some from our parents.
But, we seem to be born with that second nature built in. For many of us it has become a severe handicap in life as we try to manage situations that are beyond our control or ability to cope with them. So, we either worry or get frustrated.
Frustration is rooted in self-will and is a tremendous source of stress to ourselves and to those around us. This happens when we obsess about those things that trouble us. We struggle against the realities but, never find solutions or solace. This inner turmoil tears us apart, and then turns outward to tear others apart and in the process destroys relationships and lives. Frustrated self-will demands things be as we want them to be, even when that is clearly impossible. It is neither rational nor reasonable, but it is a destructive force from which there is no relief.
Alcoholics Anonymous recognized this character defect long ago when it defined alcoholism in the Big Book as “self-will run riot.” This describes a condition where selfishness has dominated the alcoholic’s life to the detriment of himself, and those around him. She, or he, do as they please and disregard the consequences until ultimately all is lost.
The same is true with any addiction. There is an undue emphasis on self and “damn the consequences” for me or for others.
These issues of worry, resentment, and self-will are the most likely villains to sabotage anyone’s recovery from life-controlling problems. The messed up thinking goes like this: I’m stressed [worried] so I need a little comfort to help me through. I am angry because things aren’t going my way, so I need a little comfort to calm me down. Or, “to hell with it”, I’m going to have a drink, or some other activity, and nobody is going to tell me what to do.”
One of the most helpful attitudes in the recovery program is offered through the slogan, “Let go, and let God.”
Implicit in this thought is the understanding that I am helpless in a particular situation. I can’t control it. I can’t change it, I can’t fix it, I can’t even manage myself. I am powerless and I need help.
It is a moment of surrender where fear, pride, frustration, and self-will are brought to a standstill. Rage against ‘what is’ is released and neutralized. Humility reaches out to someone greater, more powerful and wiser than us. We let go of the problem. We turn it over to God and let God handle it. We let go of our will and we surrender to His will, and to His willingness to carry us through whatever it is with which we are contending. We let go and we let God be God in our lives. We let go of other people and begin to feel some relief. We let go of what others said or didn’t say.
We let go of our expectations and demands. We no longer need to be in control. We no longer need to be a people-pleaser or the person with answers.
As we let go we become accepting of ourselves and others and life becomes more harmonious. We no longer demand from others that they dance to our tune, and it’s actually OK if things don’t go the way we thought they should. There is tremendous freedom in letting go of expectations and outcomes.
“Let go and let God” doesn’t mean I abdicate my responsibilities. In truth, I actually become more accountable for myself. “Letting God” indicates that I accept my imperfections and grow toward the person God wants me to be. I now answer to a higher power than myself. Letting go and letting God means I can enjoy being responsible for what is rightfully mine and leave the rest to God.
Notice that the “let go” comes before the “let God” for a reason. Until I let go it’s still my problem. I can’t expect God to do anything while I insist on holding onto it. I have to give it to Him before it becomes His to do something with it.
The Bible says, “Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honour. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” [1 Peter 5:6-8].
So, “Let go and Let God.”