If It's Not Working, Let It Go

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Our two-year-old daughter has a pink tepee tent in her room with a little lamp made of stars hanging on the inside. To turn on the lamp, you have to pull a pink string. Little E sees us turn it on, so now it’s her turn to try. She pulls and pulls with all her might until her little chubby cheeks start shaking.

“Let go!” we tell her before the string snaps.

She lets go and the light turns on. And the lightbulb in my head goes off too. She can pull and pull with all her might, but the light won’t turn on until she lets go. I can muscle my way through life, but I cannot “let my light shine” as Jesus tells me to until I let go. 

It seems that whenever I give up, the Lord gives me success.

I advertised for Boot Camps and personal training when I lived in Seattle and the only people who seemed interested were the ones who never saw my ads. So I gave up on making money and started a health blog instead. Six months later, I was hired by a Corporate Wellness company based off the merit of my blog.

I tried really hard to keep the health blog successful, but it was too much for me to handle. I gave up the blog and within a few months was hired for three new fitness jobs. 

I let go. I gave up on projects because I didn't have any other good ideas. Then crazy things happened and people offered me jobs out of the blue. Because the successes weren't my successes out of my own effort, I could genuinely “give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). I know that I can't take credit for any good things happening in my life, and that is freedom for me.

Letting go means knowing someone is there to catch you. Releasing control is about trust. We can trust that God knows what is good for us, rise above the light pollution of the world, and follow His lead. As the Psalmist says, "in your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9). Only when we are with the Lord can we see success clearly. 

You already are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

You don’t have to become the light of the world. You just have to let go of any pride, shame, or control issues that are holding you back. Let the Lord draw you out of hiding so He can be the light in you for His glory and others’ salvation.

Take a moment to go to the Lord, the light of the world, and ask Him to reveal anything that you might not be willing to let go. Ask Him for the divine strength to loosen your grip on life in order to give light to those around you. 

You can pull the string to a lamp, but you have to let it go to illuminate a room. Sometimes we have to give up and give it over to the Lord.  

Reflect And Respond

What in your life isn't working? What isn't successful, feels too scary, or isn't budging? If it’s not working out, you may need to let go:

  1. If someone asks you about a recent success, do you ever acknowledge others in the victory or just take all the credit?
  2. How would you feel if that thing was taken away from you?
  3. A light serves to help others see clearly. Are you striving for yourself (or hiding yourself) for the benefit of others?