One of the reasons we can’t land into rest is we struggle to let go. To many, this is one of the scariest actions to take. Their lives are full of stress and tension, but it’s the only way they know how to live. So letting go doesn’t seem fun.
I remember having an experience with God where I began to release a ton of burdens to Him. I felt myself spiritually and emotionally letting go. Yet within minutes, even seconds later, I was tempted to take it all back. Learning to let go was not a familiar place for me to live. Holding on was my sense of safety.
I’ve learned that I wasn’t used to a life of letting go. Does living in rest make life that much more peaceful? It almost seemed too good to be true.
Yet it’s a promise available to us. But I have to learn to let go.
To experience rest and walk in greater wholeness, you are going to have to learn to let go, release and cast off burdens and pressures that you were not meant to carry.
Here are five areas of “letting go” that I have learned about and continue to grow in to this day:
1. Let go of the Pressure of Your Own Works
Living in rest does not mean you don’t do anything. It changes where the motivation comes from. When you live in rest, the works that manifest in your life come out of a flow of confidence–a clarity in God’s power operating in your life. When you live out of rest, there is always pressure, a pressure to perform, a pressure to achieve and a pressure to provide results.
This is a completely counter-cultural thought in America and many other regions of the world that elevate self-reliance and non stop drivenness to produce. The enemy has taught many that provision, wealth and success only come through burning the candle on both ends by striving to produce until one runs out of gas.
Because of this, people continue to live under pressure, laboring in their own works, yet eventually end up operating on only fumes and burning out.
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Hebrews 4:10
You can see how much pressure you live under by how well you are able to stop, take a break and let God refresh you. Most people who don’t live in rest cannot stop, they don’t even know how to slow down, because they are so used to living under the constant pressure. They want to be free, but they don’t know any other way to live.
“I can’t stop!” many would say. They think that rest is almost too good to be true.
But in the Kingdom of God, there are many paradoxical mindsets. To the world, they seem crazy, yet they are ways of thinking that preserve and manifest the peace and rest of God.
If we want to save your life, you must lose it.
If you desire to live, you’ll have to learn to die.
If you want to be wise in God’s eyes, you may look like a fool in the world’s eyes.
If you want to be great in the Kingdom, you must be willing to be the least.
In addition, God shows His definition of fruitful living–living in rest.
Now if you’re read my material on the subject of rest and think in any way that I am talking about laying back in a recliner, waiting for provision and success to fall on your lap, you are sorely mistaken.
When you live in rest, the pressure is off, so you’re ability to act effectively is actually enhanced. But you are no longer pressured with fear, insecurity and striving. You are positioned to be led by the Spirit of God.
It must sadden the heart of God to watch His children frantically run around, trying to accomplish great things for the Kingdom, yet live without rest. Unfortunately, in this fast-paced struggle to survive, God’s hands become tied by our unwillingness to let go and surrender our jobs, families, ministries and lives into His hands. The reality is that Father God longs to give us rest while clothing us in His peace and love. All He asks is that we simply release.
2. Let Go of the Results
It’s a myth to think that the results of life are 100% in our own hands. So much of your life is more out of your control that you realise. Yet we live as though life’s pressure and results weigh on our shoulders.
Release can seem like a hindrance to achieving success, yet it has a profound effect on the life of a surrendered believer. I have found over the years that the greatest triumphs that came in my life were in those areas that I released to God by taking my hands off, letting go of control and surrendering the end results to Him.
Too often what we end up doing in life is working hard and long all week and then asking God to bless what we did; without first seeking Him and His direction before we did anything. But the pattern gets worse. When we succeed, we continue in the dysfunction, believing the myth that we accomplished everything by our own labor. When we fail, we blame God for not coming through. Either way, the bondage to be driven is still there.
3. Let Go of Cares.
The Bible teaches us to cast our cares upon Him. (1 Peter 5:7)
But what is a care?
A care is an area of our life where we have deep concern for, which can become an area of anxiety and unrest.
Having a care is not the problem. It’s what you do with it that determines how it will affect your life. That’s why God is telling us to cast those cares on Him. We were not designed to live with our hearts filled with cares all the time. They distract us, drain our energy and keep us from the power of rest.
Letting go of a care does not mean we live cold hearted or in denial regarding our problems. It means we live outside the pressure and weight of those issues. The only way we can do that is by practicing daily trust–releasing our cares to God before they become anxious places of unrest.
The more we learn to cast those cares, the more we gain a revelation of how much our Father loves us.
4. Let Go of Trying to Change People
It’s another myth to think that we are in control of changing another person. It’s the quickest way to take us out of rest.
Years ago, I met a gentleman whose testimony illustrates the power of release very clearly. His name was Darrell and he grew up in a Christian home with parents who were involved in ministry as pastors. He also had an older brother who followed in his parents footsteps in ministry and became a pastor.
As a teenager, Darrel developed a distaste for the things of God and undoubtedly experienced a sense of rejection when his older brother followed after ministry and Darrel did not. As a result, Darrell went into rebellion and walked away from God for over 20 years. His decisions led him into a lifestyle of alcoholism and running from God.
During that time, Darrel’s mother faithfully prayed and interceded for her son, something any godly parent would do for their children. Every day she would tirelessly lift up petitions to God for her son to come home again to God.
After decades of frustration and seemingly unanswered prayers, Darrel’s mother surrendered her son and released him to God. As he told me the story, this is what I remember him quoting his mom as saying, “God I give my son over to You and I release him into Your hands. He’s Yours.”
I wish that I had the creativity to make up the end of this story, but I did not, and it is a true story. At the very same time that Darrel’s mom released her son, Darrel had his own encounter with God and came to a realization that he needed to leave his destructive lifestyle and come home to Christ. From that moment on, Darrel has not only been serving the Lord, he has also never turned back to those rebellious and addictive ways. He lives as a testimony of love and grace—but also of the supernatural power of release.
5. Let go of false responsibility.
Entering into rest can be help with clearing up what you are responsible for and what you are not responsible for.
You are responsible for your own thoughts, decisions and actions. Yet millions of people fall out of rest because they are carrying the weight of other people’s poor decisions and lifestyles. The toxicity of other people’s lives infect us because we come under the guilt and weight of how they have chosen to live.
There is a new level of health we need to walk into by letting go of those false burdens we carry. This applies to every area of your life, including your children, spouse, job, relationships, employees, ministries, bosses, community and church.
Release those situations and people to the Lord. Bless them in your prayers and watch God work in mighty power and supply. Release that trying situation that is causing distress in your mind and watch God work in a way you never could have imagined. Release that lost loved one to the Lord and watch God bring them home.
Surrender your business fully to Father God and watch opportunities chase you down like wildfire. It is the power of release and surrender! On top of that, you also have the privilege of entering into the promised rest of God, because you have walked in a realm of absolute belief and trust.
In this journey of ceasing from my own labor I have learned a powerful lesson. That which I hold onto and keep from completely releasing to God is that which I will probably be responsible for in carrying out the results. Yet that which I faithfully surrender into the hands of God will not only be taken care of, but will bring a compounded return in my life in supernatural ways.
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