Let Go, Let God
Updated: Apr 23
You have probably heard this phrase "Let go and let God". It is used by many Christians and also by 12 step recovery groups. Having been in Al-Anon for many years in the past, I can attest to the powerful effect this slogan has in my life and in others. It works for all of life's situations, not just when dealing with addicts. You may be wondering what it means and how it works.
First let me start by saying it is a bit misleading because it implies no action in "letting go", however the very action of letting go and allowing room for God to work, IS AN ACTION! And it is a powerful one indeed. It is actually not about THEM, it is about YOU.
Many times people try to control everything around them in order to get the results they want. By everything, I mean people, places and things. They may be successful in getting what they want occasionally, or frustrated when it doesn't turn out as planned, or even have terrible, unintended consequences.
Letting go doesn't mean you don't care. It means you stop trying to influence what happens in a variety of different ways. It is a surrender. It can be very freeing to stop trying to "run the show" and control every situation. The truth is that you can't always get what you want anyway and you can make yourself and others around you miserable by trying.
You don't want to be a "control freak". Plus most of the time it doesn't work and people will be turned off by it. Even if you think you are being subtle or sly, it is usually obvious. It is no fun for other people to be around someone who is manipulative and controlling. You will be more enjoyable to be around and more trustworthy. People will actually be able to relax around you. Believe it or not, things will actually work out better when you let go.
Manipulating can come out in different ways including emotional black mail, the silent treatment, ultimatums, and the list goes on. Some may try to take charge and do everything themselves or even use coercion, threats, and intimidation. They can micromanage, throw fits, criticize, or even lie.
When dealing with an alcoholic or addict it includes covering up mistakes so they don't lose a job, pouring out booze or flushing drugs down the toilet among other codependent behaviors.
Anything done in an attempt to control outcomes is the opposite of letting go.
So what is the secret? Realize things can be so much better, less stressful and more spiritual when you allow things to unfold the way they are supposed to. Understand life is a journey and there are lessons people need to learn. Trying to prevent them is counterproductive. Allow others to learn from natural consequences and their mistakes. You cannot do it for someone else.
Turning things over to God requires several things. The first is to trust God. Trust that God is within you, God's Spirit, and is working for your highest good. Next release the expectations of the results. Allow people to be where they are in their journey, to make their own decisions, and have their own ideas, beliefs and opinions, even if you disagree with them. Realize you can't change other people, you can only change yourself. Let people make their own mistakes and deal with the consequences. Do not try to "save" them. Stop enabling. "Tough love" is actually more loving than softening the consequences. Learn how to detach with love.
If you are dealing with an addict Al-Anon is a great resource. If you grew up in a home with addiction or currently live in one, I urge you to seek help. It is available, anonymous and free through Al-Anon. Whatever your situation, therapy with a licensed mental health provider can help and seek out resources for mental health financial assistance if that is an issue right now. You might be surprised at all the options available to you.
You are powerless over other people and situations. Everyone has free will. The only person you can truly control is yourself. It is a much better exercise to practice control over your own behavior, thoughts and actions than to try to control others. Instead of blaming everything and everyone else, it is better to take responsibility for yourself. To make the most of yourself.
It is not to care FOR, it is to care ABOUT. Read that again.
To be supportive does not mean fixing other people. You can't change anyone. Change happens when the other person is ready. Letting go is not judging but allowing others to be human. It means to stop trying to arrange, control, fix, save and be in the middle. Allow others to make their own destinies. Stop protecting and let them face the music of reality so they can learn their lessons.
It is about acceptance, gracefully. Not arguing, scolding, or nagging. Focusing on yourself and how to improve your own life takes the attention and puts it back where it belongs, instead of regulating. Working on yourself becomes your project, not forcing things to be to your liking or desires.
This process includes being kind and gentle to yourself. Forgive yourself, cherish yourself, practice self-care and healthy boundaries. Concentrate on your own dreams and goals and the beautiful life you want to create. Like a butterfly, morph into the best you that you can become. Don't dwell in the past, leave it there, take the lessons and move on to better things. Look to the future, enjoy the present, be fully in it. Fear less and love more!
Letting go means not letting fear run your life. Because fear is usually underneath the desire to control.
"Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than hanging on."
- Eckhart Tolle
"In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself."
- Deepak Chopra
Letting go isn't a one time thing. It's something you do every day, over and over.
"In the end we discover that to love and let go can be the same thing."
- Jack Kornfield
Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.
Let it be so, and so it is!
God bless you, have a great week and Namaste.
Rev. S. Castle