Have you ever given up on something in the past and just wish you would have kept going? Where would you be today if you wouldn’t have given up? Oh dang! Healthier, stronger, further along perhaps?
It’s easy to imagine how life could be if we would have stuck with the things we gave up on, but today, I want you to imagine how your future life could be if you would give up some specific things today.
Yes, give up.
I mean let go of. Move on from. Surrender.
For many of us, we’re holding on to something that is no longer serving us. We’re dwelling on something that has held us back. We’re carrying something that is exhausting us. And in order to move forward to the life God has available for us in 2020, we must let it go. Drop it. Move on. Surrender your right to carry it into this next year.
Something I’ve learned is just because you have the right, doesn’t make it right. You have the right to say anything you want to say, it’s called the right of speech … but that doesn’t make it right. There’s just some things you shouldn’t say. And for those of us who have ever stuck our foot squarely in our own mouth, we know this is true. Many years ago I was a receptionist at an office. My boss had been telling me for weeks about a real pain in the butt client he had. One day, she called and I answered. I thought (emphasis on the word thought) I put her on hold, and yelled across the office “Jeff, your pain in the butt client is on the phone.” And then I hear on the other line “uhhhh, excuse me?” Oh I had the right to say it, I was fully justified in my personal description of her, but it didn’t make it right.
You have the right to still be hurt over what happened in the past, but does that make it right? Really, does it change anything for you to still carry around this hurt? Does it make it better?
You have the right to be frustrated and angry, but honey if it’s not helping you it’s hurting you. You may be stuck in indecision today because you still don’t understand WHY what happened happened, so the question becomes, how much longer will you hold on to your incessant need to know as another day passes you by? A day of opportunity is here … will you miss it because you’re stuck in something that’s already happened?
Let it go.
You likely imagined this year of life would look a certain way. And the majority of us come to the final 3 weeks and look back with a few questions. Hmmmmm, why did it all work out the way it did? If you’re like me, some areas of your life really surpassed your imagination for 2019 … while other areas are honestly quite disappointing. You didn’t imagine this loss. You didn’t imagine this hardship. You didn’t imagine this setback. You didn’t imagine this struggle, no, not this one. And yet you’re walking right through it. Gosh, I can’t believe this is happening to me … not at this point in my life. How can I be here?
You can deny it, but what good does that do? Let’s face the truth … some of our reality is a bit hard to swallow. Things happened you didn’t see coming. Other things didn’t happen that you had really counted on.
I have a leadership team of 8 people from across the country. 3 out of 8 of us lost a parent this year. 5 out of 8 of us are struggling with a wayward child. Every single one of us love Jesus, and every single one of us prayed these exact situations wouldn’t happen.
Where’s God in all of this? Where is he when you’re struggling to understand why and why not? Answer, he is here, with you.
God says in Isaiah 41:10 “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.”
Why would God need to tell us not to be afraid and discouraged if there weren’t very specific life circumstances coming our way that would make us FEEL afraid and discouraged? God wouldn’t need to strengthen and help us if there were never a struggle. He would have no need to hold us up if we weren’t first being pulled down.
This is an opportunity for you to lean into God and receive from him all you need. But make no mistake, this is also an opportunity for you to run from God, convinced he doesn’t really care for you … and guess who will be waiting to whisper his lies and lead you to a deep pit of despair, telling you nothing will ever get better for you?
Yes … that would be Satan. And remember, there is zero truth in him. He’s a liar from hell and he does nothing but twist the truth into a contorted tangle of distraction and destruction. God is not against you. HE IS FOR YOU and Romans 8:31 reminds us “if God is for you, who can be against you?”
So that brings us back to our reality. A reality that maybe in some areas doesn’t quite measure up to what we were expecting come the end of this year and the end of this decade. We hold our unmet expectations, our unrealized dreams, our unexpected loss and unbelievable hardship in one hand, and honestly it seems a whole lot heavier than the limited successes, breakthroughs and progress we hold in our other hand. The scale is off.
Was this year bad? Were you bad? Why is one hand so much heavier here than the other? Why is it so much harder to palm the bad than it is the good from this year?
Answer, because you were never suppose to hold on to it. In this heavy load of unmet expectations, unrealized dreams, unexpected loss and unbelievable hardship is your invitation to SURRENDER. Surrender what you don’t understand, what you can’t make sense of, what you can’t fix, and what you can’t overcome on your own to the God who can.
God, give me the strength to surrender.
Yes, the strength to surrender.
It requires more strength to surrender that pain than hold on to it. It takes more strength to surrender all I thought ‘should be’ than dwell on what isn’t. It is strength we need to move on. It is strength we need to move forward with empty hands and a renewed hope. It is strength we need to climb this mountain that didn’t move this year.
Lord, help me to drop it. To drop what I can’t understand. To drop what seems so unfair. To drop what has been eating me up on the inside as I hide in shame, convinced by the enemy that I am somehow broken beyond repair and things will never change for me. Help me to drop this. I’ve been carrying it around, attaching it to my identity, consumed by the shame, the guilt, the hurt, the loss, the disappointment and today I realize in order for me to go where you want to take me in 2020, I have to LET THIS GO.
Give me the strength to surrender this to you God.
2 Corinthians 12:9 God says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
We are here, weak from the battle and maybe disappointed in our seeming losses from this year, but may you be strengthened by remembering THIS IS WHERE HIS POWER IS MADE PERFECT. This is where his grace covers you and makes you more than enough. This is where breakthroughs happen. Fully surrendered.
And God says, now she’s surrendered … this is where victory comes.