I've Been Thinking

When letting go isn’t enough

What do you do when someone you care about is heading straight for disaster? When it seems as if the choices they are making are negative and perhaps even foolish. Maybe these choices are also self-destructive.

Train wreck

For the longest time you have had this picture of a person standing on the train tracks, and the train is heading straight for them. Everything in you, every ounce of feeling, every fibre of your being is screaming – “save them, save them, save them.” So, you reach out to grab their hand to pull them off of the track. And you are shocked and dismayed that the only reaction you get is that they pull their hand away.

You point wildly at the train hurtling down the tracks, gesturing for them to get off. But they merely look over their shoulder, shrug, and then turn back, feet firmly planted. Unmoved and unmoving.

Photo by Tommy Jepsen from Pexels

Ouch


And you are in such anguish, such pain. This person matters to you. You have invested heavily in the stock of their well-being. How can you just stand there? There must be something you can do??? Something, anything.

Just let go, already!?!

Many people have told you to let go.

And you have.

Repeatedly.

Sometimes you are unsuccessful. Your vision blinded by the lights of the train. You only see danger. You can’t imagine how this will turn out well.


But you try, you surrender anyway. Let go. Trust that the God who loves them will hold them. Will draw them. That one day, perhaps things will be better.

And you find that letting go isn’t enough.

It’s a step in the right direction for sure.

Absolutely.

Still, there are so many feelings.

What else can you do?

You pray and agonzie. Sleep hovers on the edge never quite fully giving you the rest you need. Thoughts chase, race across the landscape of your mind.

I have found myself in this position many times and these are some things that have been helpful: –

1) You must grieve, mourn the losses. Grieve the loss of your hopes and dreams. Grieve over the consequences they may/will face. Sometimes, you may have to grieve those losses again and again. Because from one day to the next, something else may take place that you must grieve.

2) Find freedom from fear. You cannot live in fear, have it breathing down your neck, paralyzing you. You can’t always be looking over your shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Hear the voice of your Saviour and God; saying – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.

Take care

3) Dwell in His presence. Come back to Him again and again, for mercies new each morning. Drink the water of His Spirit, let Him refresh your soul. Feed on the Bread of Life – His Word – it will sustain you, strengthen you.

4) Allow yourself to feel the pain. Pain need not be stuffed down, ignored. We deny and ignore our pain to our own peril. We must face it, work it through. Pour out your heart and soul to the One who hears your cries. To the One who brings comfort and light in the midst of this darkness. Let the Psalms be the script of your lament. Be honest, raw, real. Weep, cry, vent. Then lean hard into those Everlasting Arms.

5) Practice self-care. Rest, get adequate sleep, good food and exercise. Make an appointment with a good therapist. Talk to a friend (make sure they are “safe” though) don’t let anyone denigrate what you are experiencing or accept harsh judgment.

Photo by Trung Thanh on Unsplash

Finding relief, believing truth

6) Find an outlet in some kind of creative expression, be it – singing, dancing, writing, painting, or colouring. This is solid science – creative expression eases stress.


7) Silence your inner critic. Don’t beat yourself up. The truth is simple but profound and often we take a while to understand, accept, and comprehend it – you cannot change anyone else, you can only change yourself and your actions/reactions to your circumstances and the people that are a part of them.

8) Tell yourself the truth. I read this statement the other day and it gave me pause – “you can’t feel better unless you make yourself feel better.” This doesn’t mean “I’m perfect and everything is great” – but it is acknowledging sound and eternal truths about who you are.  God loves you, tenderly and completely. You are precious in His sight, the apple of His eye. He made you – with purpose and beauty. You have gifts to offer the world that no one else can.

You can do this

9) Acknowledge this is difficult. Yet you can do hard and holy things because He is your strength. He will uphold, enfold and carry you. Sometimes the pain will feel too much. In those moments hang on to His grace. He will not let you go.

10) Find, look for or create times of fun and laughter. Humour is a salve, sweet medicine for the soul. Give yourself permission to live the other parts of your life with joy.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Gratitude and focus

11) Create a gratitude list. Write three to five things a day that you are grateful for – the “One Thousand Gifts,” author Ann Voskamp writes about. Name those gifts one by one.

12) Notice the wonder in your moments and days. This moment – now – if it is good – revel in it. If it’s not so good, acknowledge that too. Sit with the discomfort, or sorrow. Honor your feelings, then as much as you are able – release them.

13) Play an audio version of the Bible. Listen to the words, focus on the Word, let it soak into your soul and spirit. Let the Words be life and breath to you. Listen to them over and over again.

Guard attitude and energy

14) Remember too, we have an enemy, whose sole purpose is to “kill, steal and destroy.” Do not be ignorant of his schemes. Armour up – go to Ephesian 6: 11 – 18. Then having done all that you can, stand. Stand firm.

15) Guard against bitterness and resentment. These are toxins that will poison your spirit and drain the life out of you. Don’t give the enemy a foothold. Keep short accounts. Let go of grudges. Practice forgiveness, again and again. Ask for prayer. Find some trusted people who will pray with and for you.


16)  “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” Measure your energy – be realistic about your limitations. Do what needs to be done. Then rest. Recoup. Regroup.

Pray and listen

17) Find and use simple prayers. Help!; Lord, have mercy; Lord, hear my prayer; Jesus, save, heal and deliver; Lord, I need your grace: I need You, oh; I need You.; Get behind me, Satan; Thank you, Lord, thank you; Fill me with your Spirit, guide me, lead me; Use me, Lord.

18) Be obedient to the whispers of the Spirit. Respond to His gentle nudges. You are human and yes, we all get it wrong sometimes. We may trip, but we can get right back up and keep going.

 19) Revisit surrender. Repeat as often as you need to. Reaffirm your trust in God’s Sovereignty in your life and in the lives of those whom you care about.

Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

Let God be God

20) Hold on to courage and peace. Recall the Words Jesus spoke; “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. And this:“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27.

21) Trust. Lean into His arms. Acknowledge that you will not always understand. And often you will question and wonder. Yet, you can choose to accept – His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than ours. Isa. 55:8-9.  Difficult yes, but there is peace as we do this. Rest in this – “Blessed is she/{he}who believed…” Luke 1:45. The faith you exhibit – in the evidence of the unseen – it’s precious to Him. It’s hope and hope is an anchor for your soul.

22) Be brave enough to let God be God. Easy? No – but ultimately freeing.

A proviso

Finally, if the choices being made put you or anyone else in danger – please get professional help! Set up appropriate boundaries. Call the police if need be. Your safety is vitally important. You matter.

You are loved

Oh my friends, the challenges we face are real and often heart-rending. And yet, we as walk through these things we can know we are never alone. Never forsaken. He is faithful and He will never let us go. We can determine that we won’t borrow tomorrow’s trouble. Jesus Himself reminded us that each day has trouble enough of its own. Matt. 6:34.

And most of all – we will remember this – we are deeply, profoundly loved by the Almighty Sovereign God.


Forever and always.

Loved.

We are loved.

Author

judy.g.gibson@gmail.com

Comments

Karen
February 19, 2020 at 9:44 pm

I love the train analogy! Very well said.



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