Cease striving [let go, relax] and know that I am God.~Psalm 46:10 NASB, emphasis added
One of the items on my list of things to accomplish one day is to learn how to swim. It’s funny because as much as I love the beach and pool, it’s something I’ve never learned to do.
I remember attending a pool party one summer at an acquaintance’s house. While lounging around in the water, I struck up a conversation with a young lady who happened to be a swim instructor. I shared with her how I’ve always wanted to learn to swim but never got around to it. Since we had some time in the pool to ourselves while the others were preparing food, she offered to help me learn to float.
As she was holding me up as I lay back in the water, the first thing she noticed was how tense I was. I needed to relax. And if I didn’t, this wasn’t going to go far. However, the more I thought about trying to relax, the harder it became. I was in my own way. The fear of not being in “control” frightened me. I knew she was there to hold me up and support me, but I was still tense and having a hard time letting go. After a few minutes of getting comfortable, I finally felt a bit at ease. I had to stop trying to hold myself up and let my body do what it is naturally able to do in the water. But the minute she moved her hands from under me, I would immediately tense up and, well, I’m sure you know what happened next.
Holding on was hurting me rather than helping. My inability to relax and trust something different outside of my comfort zone was keeping me from the very thing I wanted to experience.
Reflecting on that moment in the pool, I know there have been other times in my life when I have clinched so tightly to my own efforts that it actually became detrimental. I was on edge about circumstances that troubled me and kept trying to fix them, moving from one thing to another, instead of recognizing there wasn’t anything I needed to do – except relax and let go.
When we fully let go of trying to hold ourselves up, we have the opportunity to experience and rest in God’s love for us, trusting in the promise that He will uphold us with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10), even when it seems like His hands aren’t there.
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.~Isaiah 41:10 NKJV
It’s interesting to me that this verse in Isaiah is found in a passage where there was apparently some trouble going on (read Psalm 46:1-9). However, the instruction in verse 10 of Isaiah is the exact opposite of what many of us would do. Instead of holding onto the things that caused the stress, or try to figure something out, they are instructed to:
- Let go.
- Be still.
- Cease striving.
- And know that He is God.
The word “know” in verse 10 literally means to acknowledge, become acquainted with/aware, or to clearly understand. If we are not careful, the act of holding on to so many things cannot only cause unnecessary stress in our lives, but it can also distract us from the importance of shifting our attention to the Lord. We can miss the chance to pause and recognize who God is and know Him in a deeper way.
Our striving can only get us so far if God is instructing us to be still and acknowledge that He is God. Not us, not our efforts, not our plans. I invite you to take moments of intentional pause today. Allow yourself to float in the current of God’s grace and love for you. Focus on who He is, His power, and His Word. For it is truly the only thing worth holding onto.
Are you holding onto worries, or letting go to rest in God’s hand of protection?
Father God, I surrender my cares to You, for only You are able to carry me through this life to achieve what You have predetermined. I rest in You, and trust You will guide me. As I let go and give you control, I trust You to make my life beautiful in Your eyes, for then I am hemmed in by your hands of grace as a carefree floater.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Adapted from Pages From My Heart, by Lekeisha (Ford) Maldon: Used with Permission
Copyright 2021: Sink or Swim: Lekeisha Maldon: All Rights Reserved