The Practice of Letting Go

by John Connelly

A number of years ago, a simple saying became popular
all over the world:
“Let Go and Let God.”
There is, in these few words, a great spiritual blessing
for all who take the time to truly understand them.
They point us all to the very heart of our existence.
They point us to authentic freedom.

So what does it mean to ‘Let Go’?
Is it really essential?
How do we do it?

‘Letting Go’ is at the very heart of Christianity.
Jesus calls you and me to let go and surrender everything to Him moment by moment.

Letting Go… is admitting that we are really not in control.

Letting God… is choosing to trust that He is in control.

Think about this for a minute.
Do you and I control our heartbeat?

Every beat of our heart is governed by a small electrical
impulse. Where does this electrical impulse come from?
It is totally beyond our control.
This ‘spark of life’ comes from a source that is beyond us.
If our heart stops for any reason we are dead in a few minutes.
We live one heartbeat at a time purely by the grace and mercy of God.
We are, whether we realize it or not, utterly dependent on God.

The idea that we are in control is a foolish illusion.
We cannot control our heartbeat and we cannot ultimately
control the events of our life.

We should let these words of Jesus soak
deeply into the very center of our existence…

“Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Today the world is in turmoil because human beings want
to live independently from God. Many live in this ‘Grand Illusion.’
Many imagine they are not accountable to God and his
law of truth which governs the universe.
This is a deadly delusion.
It distorts our view of reality.
It makes us like a blind man wandering toward a cliff.
We are not independent at all.
We are one-hundred-percent dependent on God.
Every breath and every heart-beat is a pure gift.

The idea that we are independent is the source of
all wars, hatred, division, fear, loneliness and isolation in our world.
This feeling of independence is called pride. It is at the heart
of every sin and disorder in this passing world.
Pride is the deadliest of the seven deadly sins.

It is a subtle form of insanity – a divorce from what is
real and true.

St. Augustine wrote this prayer to God…
“How would anything have endured if You had not
willed it? “
All things exist right now by the will of God.
Pride utterly distorts this profound, life-giving truth.

The TRUTH is…
“In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

The LIE which modern culture preaches continually is…
“Our life is our own and we do as we please.”

When we let go, it is an act of humility. A decision to admit who
we really are. We are the dependent ones. We are created beings
who were designed to live only by the grace of God.
Everything we suffer in this life is meant to wake us to this fact.
Every trial is an opportunity to practice letting go to Jesus the
Lord of all.
Death spares no one. Ultimate realities cannot be avoided forever.
There is simply no life and no existence apart from God.

The writer Andrew Murray says in his classic book Humility…

“True humility comes when, in the light of God, we have
seen ourselves to be nothing, have consented to part with,
and cast away, SELF, and let God be all.”

This might sound radical in an age of self-promotion,
self-delusion, self-righteousness and self-will.
But I am simply describing REALITY.
God is our life. God is present right now holding
us in existence. Without God we are indeed nothing.
Christian life is letting go of our “self”, our ego, our
independence, and letting Jesus live His life of love
in us.

St. John of the Cross called this path of letting go
the way of “Nada”. (Nada is the the Spanish word
for “Nothing”)
This great spiritual writer taught that
we cannot ultimately hold onto anything except God.
He said that God is “All”.
All that we truly need.
All that can bring us true happiness and fulfillment.
Every relationship and every experience are opportunities
to let go. Nothing is permanent. Nothing lasts… except God.
God is the source of all good things in our life.
This path of total ‘letting go’ actually opens us to the
ever-present grace and blessing that surround us.

When we stop clinging to our
attachments we experience a growing sense of freedom within us.
Spiritual life is letting go to the the Spirit of Jesus here and now.
It is letting his love flow from within. All that does not flow from the
love of God is in the final analysis… worthless.
As St Paul reminds us…
“Without love I am nothing.” (1Cor 13)

In other words… our entire destiny is to let go to God and
his limitless love. Everything else is “Nothing”.
It has no real and lasting value. Like the old saying goes…
“You can’t take it with you.”

Imagine if we all truly learned to let go and let
God take control.
Imagine politicians and corporate leaders letting go.
Imagine our Churches and our families letting go.
What would happen if the people and nations of this world truly let go to the Spirit of Jesus? I think we all know the answer. Everything would change.
It would be a spiritual revolution.
We would see through the Grand Illusion of independence
from God.
Amazing Grace would flood into the world.

So how do we put this into practice? How do we let go
and let God take control today?

We need to meditate deeply on this idea of letting go.
It needs to become a habit of life – our choice whenever
we find ourselves filled with anxiety. Whenever we are
clinging to our attachments.

We can begin by praying peacefully a short prayer like…

“Come Lord Jesus
with every breath
I Let Go.”

The important thing is not only the words of the prayer
but the inner attitude they convey.
God sees your desire and intention.
‘Letting Go’ to the living Spirit of Jesus is at the heart
of all true prayer and spiritual life.

– Let Go to the attitude of child-like
trust that is at the heart of true faith.

– Let Go to the Spirit of Jesus acting in us and through us.

– Let Go and surrender our sins, shortcomings, attachments,
anxieties, and fears to the Lord of All.

-Let Go and rest in God’s Divine Love and let Him who is our true life
take control of everything now.

Yes, it takes a lifetime of practice to
“Let Go and Let God.”

But this is the lesson we must all learn and practice
again and again and again.

It is the meaning of our existence.

Here is a great video on Letting Go…

At this crossroads in history may we all learn to let go to the all-consuming love of God.

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One Response to The Practice of Letting Go

  1. Dear John; Good ‘food’ for meditation and perfect timing for me. I praise and thank God for you and your works. At the time of 911 I had this one desperate thought, that the United States would be called to prayer with the President and in that prayerful state – not one of retaliation – the enemy would find their response from a Christian people. I believed so strongly that they would have seen themselves defeated (the attackers). Very few people I talked to believed such a thing could be possible, even to consider, because we are so entrenched in the ‘eye of the world’.The concept was simply too foreign. Keep the faith.
    Another contemplation I have had (envisioned) is that we ask ourselves: “If the ‘eye of the world’, fixed deeply within the sphinx, were to topple upon us, would it crush our soul or would our soul, already be so free in Christ, that it would be untouched by such a tragedy?” Just a question.

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