We’ve all been “there” before—whether it’s missing out on the job of your dreams, the trip of a lifetime, or the soul mate you spotted in the freezer section of the grocery store. Very seldom does Life go according to your plan. You can have the most fool-proof plan ever devised, everything laid out nice, neat and orderly, and life will come along, spill red wine all over them every time. In Isaiah 55:8-9 we come to realize God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and over in Jerimiah 29:11 He says “I know the plans I have for you…”
When we set our intentions and eyes on something, we believe the outcome will be a certain way unfortunately, when things don’t go quite as planned, it’s a huge letdown! Sometimes we hold so tightly to things or situations or people. We fear the unknown. We doubt we can cope without them. I think the idea applies to anything we protect a little too defensively – whether it be clutter in our homes, beliefs in our heads, ideas about the way things should be, or people in our lives.
Sometimes you got to add things to your life to move it forwards, but other times it’s what you remove that allows your life to take shape. Letting go not only frees you up from your outdated assumptions and rules, but it gives you strong, undeniable evidence of your ability to learn and grow. You grow by letting things go, it’s by letting go that you get the best shot at the life you really desire, the one God has already designed for you.
This is why when we do finally let go of the job, the person, the conviction to which we’ve clung till our knuckles are ragged, we often find something more wonderful waiting for us on the other side of the pain, the disappointment. Happiness requires letting go of our plans for our life and learning to forget the past. Worry won’t change the past, so forget what can’t be changed and focus on the future.
If your knuckles are white from gripping too hard, maybe it’s time to loosen your hold. And wander into the life that’s waiting for you. You only have a limited amount of time and energy. That’s why you get tired. That’s why you get fatigued. That’s why you get worn out, you must adjust your focus learning to concentrate.
Philippians 3:13-14 says, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (NLT).
Trials and tribulations—not getting what we want when we want it, saying goodbye on terms we can’t control. Each of these is a way of helping us grow and allowing us to reframe the past from a place of gratitude for our present and our future.
So brace yourself when the road gets bumpy, strap on that helmet, and prepare to pedal backwards for something greater is sure to come. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. Being careful to avoid two major pitfalls along the way.
The pitfall of regret. You’ve got to let go of regrets. Are there things I wish I had done differently in life? Of course. But I can’t dwell on them because I can’t change them. Don’t waste any emotion on regrets.
The pitfall of resentment. Holding on to resentment doesn’t hurt anybody but you. Let it go! For your own sake, you must forgive. Do they deserve it? No. But do you deserve forgiveness from God? No. Those who experience grace are gracious.
Sometimes in life, your own plans are the very thing keeping you from the life that God has had waiting for you all along.