Letting Go

Predictability. Human nature thrives on being able to know and understand what is happening. We watch cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies even though we know how they all end. We listen to music with a learned rhythm. We want resolution and finality. We want control. Or maybe it’s just me.

There have been many times throughout my life I felt less than in control. Several years ago I found myself in the Nebraska plains going through survival training.  The guides had kept our team up until the night was so dark I lost the hand in front of my face. No light to guide us, we hiked up a valley. Branches smacked against my face. Weeds ripped the soft flesh on my legs. What was only a five-minute hike felt like hours. I was exhausted and angry.

At the opening of the valley was a field with a small dried up creek. Our guides lined us up one by one and gave us a glowstick. Then, one by one, they sent us down this small dried up creek. When it was my turn I realized the guides waited to send me until the person ahead was out of sight. I was utterly alone. I had nothing but a small glow stick to guide my way.


Instantly, fears started racing through my mind. What if there was a giant hole in front of me? Each step was heavy and reluctant. What if there was a branch that would smack me in the face again? My hands fluttered around my body desiring to protect. Halfway down the creek, I realized the glow stick in my hand. I had been so busy trying to protect myself I forgot I had it.

I tried to hold it against my chest in order to see ahead. Unfortunately, my hand seemed to overtake most it. In order to see my next step, I had to unclench the glow stick and move it out in front of my body. In order to see I had to let go of any control I had.

We read in John 8:12, “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’”

In order to follow Jesus, we have to give up our control. We have to stop protecting ourselves and living in our own narratives. Jesus tells us that He will give us the light that leads to life. I’d like to think that, often, this light is more like my tiny glow stick shakily held out by my trusting hand.

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