A friend of mine once told me this and it struck me because for years I have firmly believed that, if you love someone, you should let them know. It is when you don’t love them that you let them go. Therefore, I disagreed. Yet the saying haunted me.
During my sophomore semester of college, I had the privilege of attending a PHENOMENAL presentation by former CBS co-anchorJane Robelot. She moved gracefully from comic to life lessons, prompting her audience to be rolling in laughter one moment and willing themselves to hold back tears the next. I was captivated.
She also beautifully wove her “faith story” into the plot of her career so I found myself with her at a moment when everything was perfect. She had progressed in her career to a place so advanced she never even dreamed it to be possible. Not one thing was lacking, yet God put a “divine discontentment” in her heart, and she wrestled with what it could be about.
Finally, she felt God say, “You tell me every day that your life is mine, yet you’re holding broadcasting back.”
“Because you gave it to me,” Jane replied.
“And you kept it.”
That hit me hard.
Abraham was an ideal example when he was called to sacrifice Isaac. He went against his will, his judgment, his understanding, and obeyed God’s calling.
“Now I know that you fear God,” the angel told him, “seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Gen 22:12b). God rewarded him saying, “because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you” (Gen 22:16b-17a).
Ironically, holding on in fear of loss is what causes us to inevitably lose. Matthew 10:39 plainly says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Jane and her college roommate often prayed, “Dear God, we will go wherever You want us to go and do whatever You want us to do, just don’t make us be missionaries in China.”
They had not wholly surrendered their lives to Christ and, therefore, would be holding themselves back if God were to call them into an opportunity with great potential.
We are to give to God what holds us back from fulfilling His calling for our lives.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?“— Matthew 16:24b-26a
We as fallen humans are all too often guilty of this. May God forgive us. We can be such hypocrites, promoting a refined image while self-righteousness rots within us The Son of God died for us, offered us grace, showed us His glory— and we looked away. May God forgive us.
We misplace our faith. We grab ahold of His blessings and run off with them. They are not meant to be something we call our own, nothing is. We are living on borrowed time with all that we know on loan. Nothing is ours to keep.
“Lay down what’s good and find what’s best”— Jonny Diaz, “Breathe”
As my senior project mentor put it, we are to love God with every fiber of our beings (Deut 6:5). We are not to love anything more than Him (Matt 10:37). We are to give Him every aspect of our lives.
We are to place everything in His hands. Every hope, every dream, every aspiration, every desire. If one day He fulfills them for us, we will enter His courts with thanksgiving. If not, we will bless His name, but we must surrender our all to our Father.
“Letting go of every single dream / I lay each one down at Your feet”— Lauren Daigle, “Trust in You”
We must also be open to whatever it is He has in store for us, whether our innate selfishness desires it or not. We are here, puppets in His hands to live for His kingdom, not one of our own. Not our will, but His be done. My high school chemistry teacher put action to these thoughts like this:
- Love Him most
- Follow Him first
- Serve Him always
May our eyes be fixed on His kingdom. May our gaze never linger away. May the Lord of our hearts be our Vision. Nothing be all else to us except for Him. God and He only, first in our hearts. High King of Heaven, our Treasure He is. Yes and amen.
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders / Let me walk upon the waters / Wherever You would call me”— Hillsong UNITED, “Oceans (where feet may fail)”
Of course, this is not a “one and done” kind of thing. It will be an act of continual surrender, but God in His grace grants the strength to submit. Furthermore, this concept does not mean that you do not love the person. In fact, it signifies quite the opposite. It’s a change in mindset, not sentiment. Like how one of my favorite songs puts it:
“You know that I love you so / I love you enough to let you go”— Sleeping at Last, “Already Gone”
So it turns out my friend was right: if you love someone, let them go.