A man was walking along a narrow path, not paying much attention to where he was going.Suddenly he slipped over the edge of a cliff. As he fell, he grabbed a branch growing from the side of the cliff. Realizing that he couldn’t hang on for long, he called for help.
Man: Is anybody up there?
Voice: Yes, I’m here!
Man: Who’s that?
Voice: The Lord.
Man: Lord, help me!
Voice: Do you trust me?
Man: I trust you completely, Lord.
Voice: Good. Let go of the branch.
Voice: I said, let go of the branch.
Man: [After a long pause] Is anybody else up there?
I remember hearing my pastor tell this story in church a few years ago. It got a pretty good laugh, but I remember being stunned by this story. “Yep, that about sums me up right there,” I thought. I was the QUEEN of praying to God for rescue, yet I was unwilling to let go of so many things in order to fall into the arms of my Savior. I was willing to pray for God to save me from my eating disorder, but not willing to let go of my desire to be thin, to fit in to the culture’s idea that being “thin” somehow makes someone “good.” I had to learn that in order to let God rescue me, I was going to have to let go..of everything. It started like this…
I will trust God to heal me..even if it means I gain weight..or even “get fat.” I will do this because I know that my size does not determine my worth. Even if other people on this earth think less of me because I weigh more, I am not less of a person to God.
I had to let go of my fear of gaining weight, being labeled as “fat” by society, in order to realize that I was really holding on to another fear…dangling from another ledge. I had focused so long on the fear of “being fat” and as I got sicker “gaining weight” because I was afraid to think about what I really feared…being left out, abandoned, alone. I began to ask myself, “What if my worst fears are realized, that my husband won’t love me, that people will make fun of me, that I will not be attractive to anyone, that I will be alone?”
This was my first “letting go”. I had to be willing to “let go” of the focus on my weight, my body in order to see what I was really hanging my worth on…not my body, but what others thought of me, how others treated me. This brought me to my second ledge..the second cliff-hanger in my life. Could I let go of my need for approval from others? Could I let go of the idea that I had to “fit in” with everyone (anyone) else’s idea of who I should be, being made fun of or mistreated?(yes, this happens even to adults…and even among Christians.) Could I risk failing? Could I risk falling?
God was calling me to “LET GO!” and have faith enough to know that He would catch me. So I did. I let go of the need to be the “skinny” one, the “perfect” wife and mother, the one that had it all together, the smart or funny one, or any other label that someone wanted to put on me (good or bad). I chose to let go of all of these and fall. I did not know where I would land exactly, only that when I landed it would be in the arms of Christ. One of my favorite contemporary Christian songs by the band Sanctus Real says, “I don’t measure up to much in this life, but I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ.” In order for me to let go of my true fear of being rejected by man, I had to come to an understanding that although I may be rejected, misunderstood, laughed at, left alone, I would never be abandoned by God. I had to know what His Word says about His people..about me, about all of us.
Psalm 139 gives us a picture of God’s care for us:
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth”.
When I read this verse, I am reminded that my “frame”,no matter what shape or size it is or may become, is not hidden from my Heavenly Father. He knitted me together and formed even my innermost parts. His works are wonderful…I am his workmanship…He must think I am wonderful too.
Just thinking about this verse and others like it make it possible for me to let go..yes, I am still letting go. After the first two letting go’s, I began to see that my life was a constant state of letting go. I must choose to let go on a daily basis of all the things that would keep me clinging to this world. It is work holding on to the branch…using all of your strength to try to hang on, to pull yourself back up..on to a cliff, into a life that probably had you running toward the cliff in the first place. What if we let go? What if we choose to fall?
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)
I believe that when we choose to let go, we will find that God is already there waiting for us. He knows our need before we do..we don’t have to wait for the rescue, because he is already waiting on us..we just need to let go.