Learning to let go

By Megan Erbacher

I’ve never been able to easily let go. Whether it’s about hard feelings, people, exchanged words, grief … the list could go on. I frequently struggle with letting go.

I’m not talking about forgetting, but knowing when it’s time to let go for your sanity.

I wish I could be more like my sister. She seems to know when it’s time to let go of people or situations. She knows when her season with them is over, and it’s time to let go, put all her trust in God and move on. She doesn’t seem to get stuck or dwell on the past.

It’s not that easy for me.

I’m not sure why I sometimes cling so tightly to the past. To be honest, the stuff I can’t seem to let go of is usually toxic for me. A friend once wrote that hoarding feelings like regret, jealousy and resentment can poison us. I couldn’t agree more.

To be honest, I believe it not only poisons our minds but distorts how we remember something; and we occasionally romanticize the past. The more time we spend in the past the less time we are living right now in this wonderful present God has given us.

My hometown library recently shared on Facebook an excerpt from “Pillow Thoughts II: Healing the Heart,” by Courtney Peppernell. The excerpt read: “You can’t skip chapters, that’s not how life works. You have to read every line, meet every character. You won’t enjoy all of it. Hell, some chapters will make you cry for weeks. You will read things you don’t want to read, you will have moments when you don’t want the pages to end. But you have to keep going. Stories keep the world revolving. Live yours, don’t miss out.”

If we spend so much time focused on the past, how can we be fully present today? Allowing ourselves to mull over the “what ifs” or the “could have,” “should have,” “would have,” scenarios causes us to miss out on everything happening before us.

Ecclesiastes tells us there is “a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away.” While there may be a time to hold onto something, there is also a time we need to let it go.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Despite the steamy temperatures we’re still enduring outside, fall will be upon us hopefully sooner rather than later, and another phrase I recently read got me in the mood for fall and also put thoughts of letting go into a different perspective: “The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.”

I’m learning letting go isn’t a bad thing; it can be a positive, healing process.

Proverbs 4:25-27 tells us to “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

God is aware of any tribulations we may be facing. We need to remember to let go and put all of our trust in Him because He will take care of us.