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Los Angeles, California, United States

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Learning To Let Go

What should we do when the vehicles we've used in the past to steer our lives no longer work? We learn to let go.

When I was about 16, I got a bike for Christmas. A little late I know, but I was excited. Excited to have the freedom it provided... to go to the store... to go to a friends house... or just to go and explore.

One day, as I set off on my way to the store, I put my foot to pedal and began to pump. My foot slipped off the peddle and became wedged between the spokes of the front wheel. This caused my front wheel to come to a screeching halt, and my rear wheel to fly up into the air, propelling me forward.

As I, in a state of panic, looked at the ground getting closer and closer, I came to the realization that I had to make a decision, and make it fast. I was either going to hang on to those handle bars and plunge face first into the pavement, or I was going to have to let go... and see what happens. I decided that letting go was the only chance I had of averting a disaster.

At that moment, I let go of the handle bars, put all my weight on that foot wedged (sideways no less) in the spokes of my front wheel, swung my other leg over the handle bars as they came down, holding on to nothing, and somehow to my amazement... landed on my feet. The whole thing happened so fast, but to me it seemed like an eternity... as if it were happening in slow motion.

There are times in life when we just have to let go of the handle bars... the steering mechanisms of our life and trust... trust God that He will provide what we need... trust ourselves that we made the right decision and trust the process... the letting go... the taking that first big step...believing that we will land on solid ground... in one piece.

My neighbors, who had witnessed the whole event, came over to see if I was ok.  One said, “I've never seen anything like it! How did you do that?” They were amazed and to be honest, so was I. I had not even come close to falling. I didn't even twist the ankle of the foot caught in the front wheel... it had somehow managed to work it's way out. I'd landed flat footed, like a gymnast's dismount and the only answer I could give my neighbor's then... and the only answer I have now, is that I let go and stepped out.

When Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and asked to come out to him, the only answer Jesus gave him was “Come” (Matt. 14:29). Peter had to have the courage and the faith to take that big first step, letting go of all he knew about the world, letting go of reason, and trust that if Christ said “Come”, it would be alright. Jesus only chided Peter when he began to look at the circumstance... the stormy sea... and believed it more than he believed His command to “Come”, and Peter began to sink.

Since that first lesson I received in letting go, I have had many others. When I left Los Angeles and moved to Chicago at the spur of the moment... without even packing a bag, I had to let go. When I began teaching for the first time and equipment began disappearing making my lesson plans for that day useless... I had to let go. When the job market dried up in Chicago, I had to let go. Each time I had to trust that God would provide what I needed, that my decision was right and believe in the process, knowing that I would land on my feet...I've had a few stumbles when I looked at the circumstances, but for the most part, I have. I've even reclaimed a few good things along the way.

Learning to let go, and let the Spirit be my teacher, life be my classroom and God be my leader, is the scariest, most exciting and most wonderful experience I've had. I highly recommend it. Enjoy the journey.

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