You might have heard this saying before, but you might not know what it means. I’m not sure what it means either, as far as an official Webster’s dictionary definition… but here is what it means to me. There may have been a time in your life, when you finally understand that you can’t do it all. You don’t have the answer, and no matter how smart you are you can’t figure something out.
Maybe it is overcoming an adiction, or trying to connect with someone you’ve had a big falling out with. You might have tried to change a behavior over and over, and keep on finding yourself at square one. Or, you might have wanted to change a destructive thought pattern, only to find out your mind keeps going back to it over and over. Once again, starting you back at square one.
It is easy to do one of two things at that point. First, you may decide to simiply give in. Why fight it, you might proclaim. Why waste energy pushing against something when you can take part in something that does give you some short term pleasure or benefit? The problem with this is that the short term payoff rarely satisfies our craving. Next time we need a bigger hit.
I’m not just talking about drugs, but that is something millions of Americans actually do deal with daily. I’m also including food, sex, shopping and a long list of other adictive behaviors. A week, month or year later we find ourselves at a level of helplessness we could have never imagined. The trouble is now, that it almost seems normal. We need a marajuana cigarette several times a day, an hour of porn just to start our day, or our weekend shopping sprees have climbed from $100 to $1000 to give us that same buzz. Giving in gives us temporary relief, but it snowballs into something much, much bigger.
The second thing we can do besides giving in is to not give in, “white knuckle” style. We might have stared at a line of cocaine on the table for 30 minutes, finally brushing it off on the carpet as we are sweating from the decision. We drive by the strip club over and over, back and forth, one hand forcing you to drive straight while the other hand wants to turn the steering wheel. You find yourself parking at the mall, walking through your favorite department, but clinch your teeth and walk faster in order to get to the exit on the other side of the store, all while crossing your eyes in order to blur your vision so you don’t see something “you really, really need to buy”.
You might even take a look at these examples, and are appauled there are people like this. You’re not adictited to drugs, not even alcohol. You’ve only slept with your spouse, and would never think of Googling sex pictures. Finally, you know you’re the farthest thing from a shopaholic, as you’ve worn the same pair of jeans for eight years. However, as you look deeper you find that you have other adictive tendencies, such as gossiping, talking down to people, over eating, stressing out easily, or obsessively trying to control people or experiences. There might not be a “Gossip Annonomous” like an AA, but it is just as adictive. The same holds true for any of the other things mentioned.
My point is that whether you know it or not, whether it has been happening for months or decades, you can now see that there are areas of your life which have a negative pattern. My purpose is not to make you paraniod about your life, and everything you do, just raise your awareness to see if there is anything you cling to which you haven’t fully handed over to God. After reassessing, you realize that you have been overeating for years, or treating people badly is just something you do, because you need to get things done.
Whatever it is you realize you have either given in (and now it is just normal) or you’ve tried to change, and the white knuckle strategy results in the same conclusion it has for everyone: Coming back to the same pattern. Case in point, “diets” never work. Almost everyone has experienced this once in their life. You “white knuckle” it, and stay away from candy, sweets, soda pop, fatty foods, etc. You find out one day isn’t too bad, but by day three or four even your own mother doesn’t want to be anywhere around you. By the end of the week you “congradulate” yourself (alone, because people are sick of your mood) with a little treat, which turns into two, then an all out celebration the next day. By day eight you’re back at square one, having packed back on the four pounds you lost, and adding on one more.
At this point, whether it is with food or sex, an OCD pattern or prescription drugs… you need to let go, and let God. Let go of trying to do it yourself. Let go of trying to have the answers. Let go of thinking you can do it all by yourself. Let go of saying I’ll fix it tomorrow. Let go, let go, let go. Let God.
At one point in my past, as I was trying to overcome a sinful pattern, I finally had to ask myself where was this going. If I played the movie all the way to the end, where was I headed? As the emotional buzz I got needed to get fed with more and more, where would it take me a month from now, a year, a decade? I tried this and that. I tried I my own. One night I sat down on the couch completely worn out. I prayed to God, “Ok, I don’t know where to go, what to do, or how to beat this Lord”. I had to let go of trying to find the answer, trying to find the way to “manage” it.
I’ll tell you what, after that prayer, where I kept on shaking my head in frustration and fatigue, I felt this weight lift off of me. Was I still responsible for my sin, absoultely, in the fact that I still had consequences and a long path to dealing with daily temptations which revolved around it. However, I also knew that God forgave me after I asked for it, and God’s power would overcome any temptation whenever I felt it.
I slept like a baby that night, and awoke the next morning not hung up on the sins of the previous day. I knew that temptation would come, and it did that next day. But I also know God put into place some barriers which protected me. The fact is that He can do the same for you. He can help you overcome any issues with shopping, gossiping, emotional inbalance, overeating, sex, drugs, broken relationships, and so much more. Patterns that had to cycling back over and over again, ramping up the antie each time can be broken.
So, if you are at your wits end, if you are broken beyond repair in your eyes, or if you see no light and no end of the tunnel, God is closer than you think. He is waiting for you to ask for forgiveness, and Let Him take over and help you get out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves in. He will help you as you cope with dangerous patterns you’ve made – and have even perfected. He will block tempations, and holds true to His promise that He will always make an escape route.
All He is asking is that you Let Go, and Let Him… God.