Key to Letting Go

Letting Go

How can letting go be the right choice? Won’t I drown?

True story. Late eighties. The perfect summer day for a little water skiing adventure. There I am, all of eighty pounds, bobbing in my bright orange lifejacket, staring at the sun glistening off the tips of my skis. So I might have had lake scenes from various horror movies flashing through my mind, but there was nothing to fear, right?

The boat’s engine roars to life. The water begins to churn. Takeoff is imminent. My little fingers clench that cylindrical bar until my knuckles are as white as the plastic handle. The boat takes off, and so do I. Straight out of the water.

A second later, I go down. Way down. As in, head first way down, skis flailing in the air behind me. Now would be a stellar time to let go. But instead, I grip that handle for dear life and try to scream a garbled “Stop!” to a speedboat that’s dragging me across the top of a lake. Yeah.

An ungodly intake of saltwater later, I finally sputter to a stop. And there I am again, bobbing in the middle of the lake. But this time, I peek up at the sky through stringy blonde hair with a newfound gratefulness for the simple act of breathing. I’m alive!

You laugh. And frankly, I do, too. Now. But then . . . oh boy, then, fear paralyzed my heart. I’m talking the, “I know I’m drowning, but somehow that seems like a better option than letting go” kind of paralyzing.

Sometimes letting go isn’t just hard, it’s downright scary. We’re afraid of where we’ll end up. We’re terrified of losing control. Of surrendering that hope, that dream, that thing we’ve been clinging to for dear life. How do we know when it’s time to let go? And even more frustrating, how do we find the courage to do it?

If you’re tied to something that’s dragging you through waters until you feel like you’re drowning, it’s possible that’s a sign it’s time to let go. But not necessarily. Just because it’s painful doesn’t mean it isn’t purposed. I think there may be a better barometer. Ready for it?


Our circumstances aren’t the key. We could be bobbing in the lake, not a care in the world; or skimming across the surface, gulping saltwater, and still have peace. Why? Because peace passes understanding.

I feel like so often we spit out those words in a single non-stop breath like one of those speed tongue twisters. Peace-that-passes-understanding. It’s familiar. A catch phrase. We’ve heard it. We’ve memorized it. We’ve repeated it. But do we recognize it? Do we seek it? Wait for it?

When we let peace be our compass, letting go becomes a little easier. Not because the waters stop churning. Not because we’re no longer afraid or uncertain. Not because we know exactly where we’ll end up. We can let go because we trust the One who does.

See, letting go isn’t failure. It’s faith. It isn’t quitting. It’s release. Release into something God has for us or release away from something holding us back from what he has for us. And when we surrender to the Author of peace, I believe we’ll not only know when it’s time to let go, we’ll unleash the courage to do so.

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