by Buzz Dahlen
“When at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Seems like good advice, on the surface… I wonder if there are times when you should stop trying. I know that I have experienced times when, because of my “trying again,” I just made matters worse. My persistence and determination, not only was not appreciated, but caused more trouble for me… We’ve all had experiences like that. We had good intentions, we were very sincere, but the outcome was not what we were looking for.
So when do we give up? When is the proper time to surrender your desires and “let the chips fall where they may”? Right off the top of my head, I would say when you are angry with someone. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21
When someone offends us, we can carry that grudge for a long, long time. God wants us to let go of those things we are carrying and relax. Often times we experience rejection, real or imagined, and it is our natural inclination to reject back. We can get into a cycle of rejection and then begin to only see rejection or worse, cause it to happen. When this happens we must take a close look at our life and break the cycle.
What else should we give up? Bad habits! We want to think that habits have a hold on us, but the truth is that we have a hold on them. We hold onto bad habits like a security blanket. We think that we cannot make it through the day without, whatever habit we may have chosen. It is this kind of thinking that allows our habits to turn into addictions. We need to take a close look at what we are holding onto and make a decision to let go. The writer of Hebrews writes: …let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
What else? Unhealthy relationships. When we realize that we are in an unhealthy relationship we should let go of that relationship. But it’s hard, because some of these people have been in our lives for a long time. Some of the people we are involved with, we think are very important to us. This may be true, but how are they affecting your life? Paul writes: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. 2 Corinthians 6: 14 & 17
A wise man once said to me, “Buzz, you need to decide the difference between what is immediate and what is important.” Too often, we seek the immediate and lose sight on what is important. Believe me, I am not just preachin’ to you, I am reminding myself of this as well.
So, what is the bottom line? “You have to let go and let God!” Can you do that? Can you trust God enough to do those things in your life that need to be done? Can you let go of the things you know that you cannot change? Can you let go of those unhealthy relationships?
Think about this, if your hands are full of all the things that you are holding onto, that you should not have, are you going to have any room to take hold of the things that God wants you to have?