Letting go of anything can be scary. Letting go of expectations. Letting go of past hurts. Letting go of your dreams. Letting go of the person you love. Letting go of control.
Sometimes the act of letting go is a choice and the right thing to do. A parent “lets go” of their child when the child becomes an adult. A father “lets go” of responsibility when he walks his daughter down the aisle. A person “lets go” of sweets in an attempt to lose weight.
But sometimes letting go is not a choice. We are forced to let go of a situation or person or desire. Maybe no matter how hard we try to convince someone to stay, they walk away from us. Or maybe no matter how hard we worked, we were passed up for a job promotion and have to let go of that dream.
It might not even make sense at the time – you tried your best, so what happened? Why did it happen? These questions can plague the mind to the point of taking one into a state of depression or something even worse.
Here is what I have learned that has really helped me in my journey of learning to let go: having control, at the end of the day, is just an illusion. If you believe there is a Creator who made the world and is operating it and that you are a mere instrument or pawn in the game of life, then you understand you were never in control to begin with. Put simply, you cannot let go of something that was never yours to begin with.
In Hindi it is said, “Patha bhi nahin hilta iski marzi ke beghar.” Meaning, a leaf does not even move without His consent.
Therefore, refuse to be anxious or depressed or hopeless. If He wills it, it will happen. If it does not happen, there is a divine reason. And to embrace this understanding is faith in action.
This understanding can save mountains of grief if we can truly embrace it. Rather than being held captive by our desires, the truth- that He is in control- sets us free.
Buddha said that pain or suffering arises through desires or cravings. To be free of pain we need to cut the bonds of desire.
I don’t believe this means we cannot desire things at all; rather, it is about not being so attached to our desires that they take away our peace of mind. If you think about it, much pain that we experience in life comes from not accepting or from resisting what is.
Relinquishing control over a situation or letting go does not always mean giving up. In fact, sometimes it’s the best thing you can do- for yourself and for others.
When we hang on to something that God has not intended for us, it creates struggle and disorder in our lives. In fact, I have experienced many moments where I let go of a past dream that was bringing more disturbance than peace into my life only to find myself in a better situation.
Sometimes the reason things do not go as we planned is beyond our comprehension. We cannot grasp the divine plan with our limited intellect. That is where faith makes things easier.
Faith empowers us to let go of our way and accept God’s will. Or rather, it allows us to “let go” trying to do it all on our own and give it to God to take care of. It reminds us that God can do in one moment what we can try for our whole lives and still not accomplish.
The principle of “letting go” also applies to smaller, everyday situations where we do seem to have control.
Many times, people believe they are the victors when they have the last word in a fight or that they somehow have greater leverage and power when they get things their way. But the truth is, when we are able to “let go” of our ego and put the happiness of another above our own, we aren’t giving up- we are building character. We are practicing the art of “letting go.”
The best part of letting go? We get to let go of our worries, our anxieties, our plans, our troubles and give them to God. We can pray for God to remove all those desires in our Heart that are not good for us, and to replace them with what He desires for us.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7 Bible)
In return, he blesses us with a peace that surpasses all understanding. And the strength to let of anything we must let go.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 Bible)
He will direct our paths. He will give us wisdom. Trust Him, praise Him, and let go of anything you need to let go of right now. It doesn’t mean you are giving up. It means you’re accepting His will for you- and a lot of times, whether we choose to accept or not…. thankfully, it still goes His way.