DEVOTIONAL: “Letting Go” In The New Year

But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.  –Psalm 115:3 (NASB)

Bible teacher and author Chuck Swindoll explains the importance of “speaking the truth, even when it hurts.” The start of a new year can be a time of joy and expectancy. However, it can also be a time of anxiety and fear, as we may wonder what bad things might await us in the months ahead. He writes: “My responsibility is not to make you feel good. My responsibility is to tell you the truth, because only on the basis of the truth can you deal with reality. (…)  I hope you will say to yourself each week through the next number of weeks this year. ‘I am not in charge.’ Just five words. Easy to remember. Hard to practice. To begin with, I’m not in charge of others.”

In fact, Swindoll claims each year around January 1 he takes time to pray and plan his schedule for the upcoming twelve months. However, in addition to his careful planning, across the top of each page of his paper calendar he writes: “I am not in charge.”

This is not an excuse for laziness or irresponsibility, for Swindoll is no shirker. Though now in his upper 80s, he still is active writing, teaching, pastoring, and leading tours around the world. The point is, none of us are in charge of what other people will think, say, or do. Also, no matter how hard we work or plan, none of us can control outcomes. As today’s verse reads, “God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”

As we enter this new year, we only have so much time, focus, and energy. Dragging around old baggage is not only exhausting, but it can keep us from living fully in the present. What do you need to “let go” of from the past so you can step confidently into the future? May this poem by an unknown author bless you as it has blessed many others.

To let go does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off,
it’s the realization I can’t control another.

To let go is not to enable,
but allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means
the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
it’s to make the most of myself.

To let go is not to care for,
but to care about. 

To let go is not to fix,
but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their destinies.

To let go is not to be protective,
it’s to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to deny,
but to accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody,
but to try to become what I dream I can be. 

To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and love more.


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