The other day I was at a restaurant with my little family. It was just the three of us, my husband, my teenage daughter and me. We were waiting on our number to be called to pick up our food at the counter. I looked over as I heard a number called and saw a little girl maybe 4 or 5 years old go up with her mother. The mother handed the little girl the tray of food, and told her to go back to their table while she got their drinks. The little girl wobbled as she carried the tray. The tray leaned and the food slid. She was concentrating, but she was so small behind this big tray of food. It was a lot for someone her size to carry. I kind of held my breath as I watched her come toward the area we were sitting. I spoke quietly to my daughter, “Oh no! She’s going to lose her hot dog.” My teen daughter looks at me and says, “Mom, just let it happen!” The little girl teetered and tottered, but kept her balance and made it safely all the way to her table with the food intact. I sighed with relief.
Since that day, I have thought a lot about what my daughter said and really about the whole scenario. I wanted to assist the little girl handling something that seemed like it was a bit much for her. However, her mother had entrusted her with the tray full of food. Who was I to step in and “make things better”?!?! So, I just let it happen. Many times we want to control what’s going on in our lives. And sometimes we need to step up to improve the circumstances. Sometimes, though, we just need to let it happen. We need to trust that the One in charge of us knows what He’s doing. We think about solutions. We dwell on the circumstances allowing it to monopolize every thought. We picture every possible scenario and outcome, but at times we can’t put anything into action. We don’t have the ability or the means to change some things. The truth is I like to be in control. I would venture to say that most people do prefer some level of control in their lives. The reality is that we’re not truly in control at all. The only thing we can control is the amount of faith we carry as we walk through this life. I didn’t have the faith to believe that the little girl could handle what she was carrying, but her mother did. Her mother knows her, and knows what she is capable of handling. Who knows the damage I could’ve done to that little one’s confidence and independence if I had stepped in. I would have been in the way of the plan her mother had for her.
God knows us better than anyone. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows who we are, what’s in our hearts, and what we’re capable of carrying. If He knows me that well, who am I to step in and interrupt His plan? Additionally, who am I to step in and interrupt His plan for others. There are circumstances we can help with, and we should seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for when to step in and when to ‘just let it happen.’ There are also circumstances with which we can’t help. In those cases, we have to trust and encourage those being worked on to trust that the God that knows us in and out is in control even when we’re not. We have to ‘just let it happen’.
I have encountered a lot of tough circumstances lately. Some of them are my personal circumstances, and some of them were others’ circumstances. I want to fix it. I want to make it better for others and for myself. I can’t though. I don’t have control over a serious illness in someone I love. I don’t have control over the loss of a loved one. I don’t have control over the poor decisions of those I love dearly. In some cases, I have had to just let it happen while reflecting the love of Christ in the midst of the ugly. It sucks to not have control, but I truly believe that my personal faith has grown in my own storm as well as walking through some storms with those I love.
This doesn’t mean we give up or just say ‘oh well’. No, this is where we step up with action that really makes a difference. What does that look like? How do we grow our faith while we’re just letting it happen?
- Explore God’s Word: Pick up the YouVersion Bible App and find a short reading plan to start. Take the opportunity to read the Word in several translations. Ask God to show you what to read. He will reveal Himself in unexpected ways. To get you started… 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 119:105, Psalm 18:30; Psalm 119:130; Psalm 33:4; Proverbs 2:6
- Pray: Praying doesn’t require a special place, time or even a special ‘dialect’. Jesus is the One that knows you better than you know yourself, and can understand your words and your heart. He even understands your tears. Sometimes that’s all that we can express. Talk to Him like you would a best friend. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Philippians 4:6-7; Philippians 1:19
- Surround yourself with warriors: Did you get that? Warriors, not worriers! Plant yourself in the middle of a group of friends that will love you without judgment. Friends that will pray with you and for you. Friends that will walk alongside you whatever the storm. Friends that will be completely honest with you, and not just tell you what you want to hear. Friends that you know when they’re honest with you it comes from a place of love. Don’t discount the value of a close friend or two in the midst of just letting it happen. Never isolate yourself. Isolation is ALWAYS a dangerous place to live. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-13; Matthew 18:20; Hebrews 10:24-25; Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 13:1-2
You, my dear friend, have everything you need to survive AND thrive while just letting it happen. I look forward to hearing the testimonies that follow the storm. I know so many of us are going through some things right now and we want to control. Don’t do it! Just let it happen!
If we maintain control in our lives, are we truly free?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7