Thursday, December 11, 2014

Learning to Let Go

I remember years ago, shortly after I got my horse, I found myself suddenly in a scary situation. My horse bolted when I was getting ready to mount and in that moment every bit of head knowledge I had about horses was long forgotten and natural reactions kicked in. I grabbed the first thing I could reach for, a stirrup, and ended up being dragged a good distance. Even though I "knew" in my head to let him go and catch him after he'd calmed down, everything inside of me said that the only way to control him was to hang on.

Obviously, I lived, and I'd actually forgotten about that incident until it "happened" to resurface because a totally different incident from recent weeks. 

I was hurt, very deeply hurt, by the actions of another. Someone I thought I could count on made a choice that forever changed the way that I would trust them. In the space of a few moments, it felt like the entire world came crashing down around my ears. Never have I undergone such an emotional roller coaster, never have I lived through such intense stress and anguish. Months of work, the energy and dedication of an entire group of people were facing being thrown out.

We got through it, after hours of reworking and rethinking. We prepared for the worst and were shocked when it came out beautifully in the end. To all appearances, it was perfect, the problem had been resolved and nothing was wrong. But it was wrong.

Outwardly, I put a brave face on it and made every sign of moving on and putting it behind me. Inwardly, I was a wreak emotionally. Bitterness and anger swelled up. The repeated question of, "why," buzzed in my ears. I wanted to hurt them the way that they hurt me. I wanted for one minute to make them feel the panic, the fear, the anger that they put me through. Every part of me cried out for "justice."

Everyone told me the things I already knew, all that head knowledge about forgiveness and making peace. I knew the right answers. My lips said that the fight was over, but my heart kept telling me that this was only beginning. In my mind and heart a battle raged, was I going to allow myself to keep "control" over the situation or give it up into God's control. I knew the right thing, but it wasn't want I wanted. 

Somewhere in this struggle, I was thinking, or more appropriately inwardly fighting with my conscience. Suddenly, from seemingly no where and for no specific reason, that memory of being dragged across the yard came flooding back into my mind. In so many ways, it felt the same as the one I was currently going through. 

In a moment of fear, I reached out and grabbed hold of something, in this case bitterness and anger, and now I was at the point where I had to choose between what my emotions were telling me, to hang on, or to do what my head was telling me, let go. 

Just like that time I grabbed onto that stirrup, I wasn't stopping or controlling what was going on.  In more ways than one my actions were more likely to hurt me further and cause more trouble than relaxing that white-knucked grip of anger and fear.
 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Eph 4: 31- 32 ESV
 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Col 3:12-14 ESV

As I was being dragged across the ground with the horse's hooves pounding in my ears, I had never been so far from having things under control. It was only in the moment that I released that stirrup that I was finally able to start to bring things back into order.

I wish I could say that this process has been easy, but it hasn't. It's been painful, but I'm not going through it alone. It's not my strength any more that I'm relying on and there is an unspeakable peace in knowing that I am giving up something that was poisoning my heart. I can't continue to allow myself to live in the past and the hurt, when I know that I have been redeemed and given this time, the present, to live my life for His glory and rejoice in the mercy and forgiveness I myself have received. 


  1. Whew! Yes and amen! I have been there before and have had to let go and forgive. Most recently this is the case with my own brother. It has been tough, but trusting in God is the only thing that brings peace. I am glad that God has filled your heart with peace. Thank you for sharing this. 😃

    1. It's not an easy place to be in, but I'm learning that God doesn't give us more than we can handle with Him.