“Let go and let God” has become a favorite saying. When we feel overwhelmed, we’re reminded to give control to God. It’s a feel-good statement that, when said, isn’t always necessarily referencing the Christian God. If you’ve needed the one true God to rescue you, you may wonder what it means to let go and what part we continue to play as we “let God” help us endure suffering.

So what does “let go and let God” truly mean and look like in our lives? This phrase has two parts: our part and God’s part. We should figure out what we’re letting go of and what we’re letting God do. Here are some ways to learn to let go and let God and what it means in our lives.

Let go of perceived strength and control.

Imagine kayaking on a big lake, and a storm suddenly rises. You start padding furiously against the wind, going nowhere but believing you could manage fine if you just paddle hard enough. Finally, you decide to head to the nearest place of refuge and hang on. If you tried paddling any further, your strength would’ve given out, and you would’ve overturned into dark, choppy waters or been driven to a distant shore miles from help.

You had to hold tight to safety, let the storm rage around you, and stop believing in your strength, recognizing that you had no power over the storm. God always controls situations around us, even the scary or painful ones. He invites us to rest in His strength. Our part is to submit to His will and trust Him, even when chaos abounds. God wants to be Lord in our lives, so His spirit flourishes in us. Surrender brought victory and a clear understanding of God and His ability to do what He says. Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be sturdy in the Lord and the strength of His might.

Let go of entitlement.

We love our dreams, cherish our expectations, and foster our pride. We believe people should behave a certain way and that life should go as planned. We expect God to honor our goals, but He typically chooses different and better ones. Most people sulk when they don’t get their way. Sometimes, we just want to be told we’re right and don’t want to wait for pain relief or answers. First John 1:9 tells us that if we acknowledge our sins, He’s faithful and will forgive us, purifying us from all righteousness.

God has given us forgiveness and a promised inheritance in heaven. How can we receive what God wants to give us if our hands are full? God helps us swap pride for patience and humility. Proverbs 3:6 gives sage advice to submit to God in all ways, and He will straighten our paths.

Let go of worry.

In modern times, we’re learning that any global crisis can upend jobs, health, or anything else. As we pivot to make do, many changes and precautions inspire anxiety. They can escalate to panic and nightmares if we don’t maintain a godly, healthy perspective. Continuing to worry keeps us stuck in a place of fear. Fear won’t help us fight pandemics, diseases, disasters or mental illness. God repeatedly tells us not to be afraid or worry. He offers peace because it cuts through darkness. God offers us peace during sickness, financial challenges, or bipolar disorder. Let God replace your worry with these gifts.

Let God show His power.

It’s natural to want to run away from a significant problem or at least ignore it for some time. Have you ever turned back to address an issue and realized it was more controllable than you expected? Or the problem was massive, but God’s mercy surprised and delighted you? To truly see, we have to look. If we slip into denial, pretending nothing is wrong, we miss God’s glory when He flexes His mighty muscles. Joseph persevered as a model prisoner until God brought him to a powerful position, using his brothers’ evil plans to bring an awe-inspiring outcome. Joseph watched, waited, and was rewarded.

Let God comfort you.

Jonah was upset when God saved Nineveh from destruction. Even while he sinned in his heart, God comforted Jonah by growing a tree to shade him from the sun. However, Jonah settled into resentment instead of taking comfort, and the tree withered. If Jonah had remembered that God gave him a second chance, he might not have envied Nineveh for theirs. Perhaps God’s love would’ve comforted Jonah. Usually, comfort goes hand in hand with gratitude. Give thanks that God has saved you and that He’s loving and close.

Let God be the focus of your life.

We typically suffer because our priorities get messed up. When troubles come, our lives are on the threshing room floor, and much of what we thought was important is banter. We can re-establish priorities and put God as the focus, perhaps for the first time or the first time in a while. We shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best, making God our top priority. We should live out our faith daily, not just on Sunday mornings, and do life God’s way, not our way. When our gaze is fixed on God, and we’re quiet and still, all of the confusion settles down. We feel His comforting closeness and discern His direction.

This potent and famous phrase isn’t merely an encouragement to leave everything to chance or fate. It’s not okay to let go of beliefs morals, and willfully sin simply because God forgives us. We’re not releasing accountability and good sense only because God will make sense of everything. We must still pursue God’s direction through prayer, Bible reading and fellowship. Otherwise, our God might become more like a worldly god, distant and powerless.

We might as well forget the cross and resurrection, but what basis would we have for faith? Is “Let God and Let God” in the Bible? God never told Moses to write these words. It’s not in Proverbs or Psalms. Jesus never told a parable about how to “let go and let God,” and Paul didn’t write the phrase in any of his letters. The origins of the phrase may not be clear. However, to “let go and let God” means we put God’s plan above our own and let His will be done.

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