I know everyone has their favorite season. For as long as I can remember, the fall season has been at the top of my list. I am a sucker for leaves changing colors, mums, pumpkin painting, bonfires, Thanksgiving celebrations and more! There is just something about seeing God’s creation change on an almost daily basis that lifts my soul. A lot of people do not like the fall season as they see it as a time where everything is dying and settling in for the winter season. However, I saw a quote a few years back that has changed my perspective on that portion of the season as well.
“The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.” Author Unknown
The act of letting go is not easy. It’s hard not to always hold on. Many times, we hold on to the past and the memories that go with it. We don’t want to believe that things have changed and we need to move on. Sometimes we hold on to relationships that are no longer healthy. We are afraid of what letting go truly looks like. We hold on to past hurts and regrets, believing that we can never get over them. We hold on to what people have said, how people have perceived us, and what people have done to us or to those we love. We have a hard time letting go. We have a hard time moving forward.
Letting go is not always negative. The trees let go of their leaves to create new space for growth. When a tree is letting go, it’s not becoming less, but it’s making room for so much more. Our lives are similar. When we let go of things that are dragging and pulling us down, we are not giving up and throwing in the towel, but rather we are creating space for new experiences, new people, and new perspectives.
So how do we do it? How can we begin the process of letting go?
In Philippians, Paul is writing to the church at Philippi and he is encouraging them to have joy in their relationship with Christ. He is encouraging them that true joy comes from living in God’s grace. Toward the end of the book, Paul lays out some basic steps of letting go, and finding joy in the process.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9
1. Don’t worry.
The first step in the process is letting go of worry. When we worry, we allow our mind to
dwell on our difficulties or troubles. This is never a productive step. Whether the worry is about current issues, what people think, or mistakes that have been made in the past, worry only stifles our growth. Paul encourages his readers not to worry, but he doesn’t end there.
It’s one thing to say not to worry, but we have to replace that worry with something. Paul encourages his readers to replace worry with prayer. When you replace worry with prayer you are moving from an action that stifles growth to one that promotes it. Communication with our Creator is vital in order to let go and move forward.
3. Tell God what you need.
Be honest with God in expressing what you need at that moment. Maybe you need peace about a situation? Maybe it’s confidence in your abilities? Maybe it’s comfort that things are going to be okay if you move forward or change? Whatever it is, tell Him. Express that to Him. When you do, one of two things will happen. Either God will grant you those desires or He will change your desires to follow Him more.
4. Thank Him for His blessings.
We can’t let go if we are constantly focusing on the negative. Living in pity, sadness, or despair will never help us move forward. When we focus on the good things in our lives then we instantly have a shift in our perspective and our progress. Don’t just focus on the big things, but also think of how He does so many little blessings in our lives on a daily basis. Take a more intentional approach to look for those blessings daily.
5. Live in His peace.
When we don’t worry about things, pray about everything, tell God what we need, and thank Him for His blessings, then we get to live in His peace. There is nothing quite like living in the peace that God gives. It truly does exceed anything we can comprehend on this earth. We see people going through large trials and tribulations with grace and steadiness because they are living in His peace.
6. Fix your thoughts on good things.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking and dwelling on the negative. Paul encourages the readers at Philippi to think and meditate on good things. Paul states that we should fix our thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. How much junk would we take out of our lives if we truly focused our thoughts on these areas? How much extra worry, stress, and negativity do our daily thoughts bring because we are focused on the wrong things?
7. Put all this into practice.
Finally, Paul ends by saying we must put all this into practice. It’s not enough to know how to let go of things. We actually have to put these ideas into practice to let go. When we start putting these things into practice then we will once again experience that peace that passes all understanding.
Letting go can be hard. Letting go can be painful. But letting go can allow for new growth, new relationships, and new experiences.
What are some areas that God is calling you to let go of currently? What are some ways that He is wanting to give you freedom and newness of life? Don’t be afraid to put these things into practice and feel the peace that comes when we truly focus on Him and let go of the things that are holding us back. While the fall season may seem bleak and it looks like all is falling away, those trees are setting themselves up for a beautiful spring season with lots of opportunity and space to blossom.
Written by: Amy Carrico
Author of Making the Moments Matter Blog