If You Love Someone, Let Them Go

A friend of mine once told me this and it struck me because for years I had 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-anchor Jane 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.

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 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,” she felt God say.

That hit me hard.

Letting go in the Bible

Abraham is an ideal example when he was called to sacrifice Isaac. He went against his will, his judgment, his understanding, yet 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).

An irony of life

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.

“What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”

Matthew 16:26a

We as fallen humans are all too often guilty of this. 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.

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.

The call to surrender

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:

  1. Love Him most
  2. Follow Him first
  3. 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, letting go of someone you love does not mean you do not love them. In fact, it signifies quite the opposite. It’s a change in mindset, not sentiment.

“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.

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