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Let go and let God

Advice for living a more stress-free life

I usually don’t pay much attention to bumper stickers, but one caught my eye a few years ago with its blend of wit and good advice. It said, “Let go and let God.” I needed that little reminder that day, caught up in the hustle and bustle that can be part of everyday life. I was worried that I wasn’t going to get where I needed to be on time. I was concerned that, once I did arrive at my destination, I wouldn’t be able to spend the time I thought was necessary before having to excuse myself so that I could move on to the next item on my agenda. In fact, I was feeling pretty resentful that a number of situations had cropped up that day which, until they were dealt with, would continue to interfere with the other things I felt certain I had to get done that day.

It was in the midst of my frustration that I happened to notice the bumper sticker that helped me to put things in a better perspective. I was letting my agenda drive my life, and I had started to allow my perceived needs to interfere with where God needed me to be. Perhaps even worse, I had allowed my list of tasks to interfere with how God needed me to be, and for whom he needed me to be.

Each day, I look at my calendar for that day. Each week, I look at the week ahead. Yes, there are things for which I am responsible. There are places I need to be. That’s part of my priestly life. What I see more clearly now, thanks to that bumper sticker, is that it’s not only necessary, but also good, to make sure that I acknowledge, be open to, and respond to what is on God’s agenda for me that day or that week. I don’t need to be in control of each minute, and I don’t need to allow myself to become wrapped up in minutiae, as can sometimes be my nature. Instead, I can let go and let God guide me to where I need to be. I can let go and let God support me in the unplanned or the unanticipated. I can let go and let God show me how I need to be or where I need to be, even if that wasn’t necessarily on my list of things for that day.

In time, frustration gave way to a renewed sense of anticipation. What does God have planned for this week? What does God have in store for today? Where does God need me to be? I don’t know entirely, but I do know that surrendering my agenda and my desire to be in control to God’s desire for good for me inevitably leads me not only to where he needs me to be, but allows me to arrive there in a much better frame of mind.

Letting go and letting God guide us requires giving up a measure of our control. That can be a bit frightening, but it is also freeing. Letting go and letting God is also about trust – trusting that God will continue to guide and sustain us in those times when we’re tired or frustrated or at our wit’s end. If we let go and let God, perhaps we will discover that we were never truly alone. God is always there, willing to shoulder our burdens, listening to our prayers, and guiding our steps. And so our journey in FAITH continues.