(Did you catch the pun? I couldn’t help myself.)
It’s no secret that God wants our whole hearts. I always hear that hard truth on one of those Sunday mornings where it feels like someone told the pastor my life story. He would keep making eye contact with me, and then I end up questioning why in the world I sit so close to the front.
Pastor’s know everything.
So why is it that everytime I hear that message or read about it in the bible, I cry my eyes out, say a little prayer, and ask God to take everything that I am still holding on to out of my reach? It’s because letting go of things is hard. Like REAL hard. I have to do it daily because if not I end up holding on to so much crud in my heart I have no room for the other stuff God is trying to give me. There are no such things as half white flags or gray surrenders.
I kind of always secretly wondered why God wanted ALL of us. I thought, “God, don’t you think that’s asking for kind of A LOT? I mean I got plans dude.” However, I’m reading Exodus right now, and I found some clarity.
So far in this story, God tells Moses to go tell the king to let His people go or else. Moses tells the king, the king doesn’t listen, God punishes them, the King apologizes and says he’ll let them go, the punishment stops, and then the king goes back on his promise. It’s cray cray.
After God punished Egypt with a hailstorm, the king FINALLY says (with some convincing), “Go and worship the Lord your God. But tell me who just is going?” Moses says that everyone is going-- the young, the old, the men and women, and the farm animals-- EVERYONE. In Exodus 10:11, the King says this, “No! Only the men may go and worship the Lord, which is what you have been asking for.” But God did not settle for just the men.
God wanted ALL the Israelites to go to worship Him in the desert-- not just the men. The king was willing to let the men go, however, he was still holding on to the women, children, and livestock. As long as he held on to those people and animals, the men could not go to worship God either.
God cannot fully bless even the things you are willing to let go of if you still have things you are desperately clinging on to.
For example, in my heart I find insecurities, hurt, unforgiveness, and pride. Multiple times I have let go of the insecurities and the pride and the unforgiveness, but I can’t seem to let go of that hurt that still lingers around in my heart. So on the days the hurt surfaces, unforgiveness wells up inside for the ones that hurt me. Then insecurities pour out and instantly I begin to believe every lie and insult I was given. Shame builds up another wall and pride rages making me believe I should’ve done better. I’m too good for mistakes. Have you ever believed you were too good for mistakes? I have. I’ve beaten myself UP for making a tiny mistake. Silly right?
So for me, if I don’t let go of everything, I can not live the life that God called all of us to live: free. It’s just like the king. Until he has let the men AND the women AND the children AND the livestock have a feast in the desert to worship the Lord, he will continue to be punished; even the people he is willing to let go cannot experience that worship ceremony because he is still holding on to a few others.
I’m still learning how to let go of EVERYTHING all at once. I want to experience God’s blessings in all its glory. I’m not saying God can’t bless you even when you are clinging on to some things. Believe me, I’m gripping hard yet I have been blessed abundantly. However, God can’t bless all areas of your life until all areas have been surrendered. And when you let go of the things you weren’t willing to let go of before, you will see even greater blessings in the things that have been waiting patiently for you to raise the white flag.