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Letting Go
Photo: Thiago Festa
I like to plan. I like to lay out everything I’m going to do and make a schedule to get it done. Although it’s usually to my benefit, my tendency to plan has been making my life stressful this summer. I decided to finish 20 credits of self-paced college courses as well as spend some time shadowing a social worker for a fall class and finish miscellaneous projects at home. I made a good start, but nothing ever goes quite like you plan and a bump here and a bump there made my well-laid plans wobble. Immediately, I stressed. I worried. I was tense. I called my boyfriend and bemoaned my problems. After several weeks of this, I was uptight and he was (of course) a little weary. “I think you’re worrying too much,” he told me.

At first, I was defensive. "I have to take care of these things!" I retorted to myself. What does he think will happen if I decide to be happy-go-lucky and not worry about anything? Yet I knew that wasn’t the real issue. As that week ended and I finished one last test for a class, I was standing at my family’s kitchen window watching the sun go down. It was one of those moments where God suddenly drew near, out of nowhere. I felt Him calling to my heart, reminding me of a stressful situation I’d been through the summer before. Amidst that stress, I had trusted Jesus. I’d had His peace in my heart. There were hard choices to make and frustrating circumstances to work through, but I hadn’t worried like this. My heart was resting in Him.

God Spoke

Suddenly, I realized that I stopped trusting. I’d taken it all on my shoulders and tried on my own to make everything go smoothly “God,” I said inside, “Why don’t I learn to leave my heart there in Your hands? You’ll take care of everything, every detail, if I let You.” I couldn’t help but smile a little as I thought, it doesn’t matter if I lose an A in one of these classes. It doesn’t matter even if I fail one of them. It doesn’t matter if my finances don’t go like I planned and I have to get more loans than anticipated. God can take care of it!

Although this doesn’t take away from my responsibility, when I am striving to the best of my ability and placing my life in God’s hands, I don’t need to worry. I can let go of each of these problems. Whether or not it turns out like I had wanted is not the true issue. When our hearts belong to our God, we can trust that His plan is far beyond the moment we’re living in. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” scripture tells us. “In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5,6). 

Have you, too, felt how life’s stress overwhelming you? Remind yourself, the answer isn’t found in more work and effort. It’s found in releasing everything into hands that are much stronger and wiser than your own. I learned the hard way, but the freedom of letting go is amazing!

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By Danae Rittenour. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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