Let Go

CroyleSometimes holding on will hurt you.

By John Croyle


If you live in Alabama or have driven on our highways, you know that there is a church on almost every other corner. Most have a sign out front with some clever quote or saying that is meant to help us down this sometimes-hard road called life. Of course, occasionally you will see one that makes you ask, “What were they thinking? Apparently they were low on material this week….” But then sometimes one of the thoughts will stick in your mind for the rest of the day.

Recently, I saw one that I’ve probably seen, heard, or even quoted myself hundreds, if not thousands, of times. But it’s definitely one that has stuck with me. It said “Let Go and Let God.”

Imagine that your child is holding onto a rope swing, ready to jump out over a cliff. You are on the other side trying to pull it away from them. You know the rope has a weak spot, but your child doesn’t. All he or she knows is you are trying to take the swing out of their hands and take away their “good time.” It might seem like a crazy question, but would you—knowing of the potential, if not probable, injury or death that might result—let your child continue to play on the swing? Or would you do everything in your power to get him or her to let go? Of course you would do everything in your power to get him or her to let go and hang onto you, but you cannot get them off the rope until he or she chooses to let go.

For the past 40 years at Big Oak Ranch, we have met parents who simply walked away from their children. Their children were clinging to their “childhood” rope and needed someone to catch hold of them before their ropes broke and sent them into a downward spiral. Regrettably, this abandonment is the hardest issue to get over for each of our children. It is life-altering, to say the least. The emotional cuts, scrapes, bruises, and scars are sometimes irreparable.

Now let’s shift gears and imagine that the children on the rope swings are you and me. We are hanging onto something that we think is important, something that we feel is going to bring us happiness or a “good time.” All the while, God knows that it is going to cause us great pain and sorrow. We are desperately clinging to that rope of repetition, of wrong doing, of sin that will always end up negatively impacting us no matter how much we hope for a better or positive outcome.

How frustrating is it when we as parents are asking—practically begging—our children to let go when we know the outcome of the decisions they are about to make? All we are trying to do is save our children some avoidable heartache and pain. We ask ourselves, “Why can’t they see the consequences of what they are about to do? Why can’t they see that weak, frayed spot in the rope? Why won’t they just listen to me?”

We must realize that God is asking the same questions of us. As our Heavenly Father, He knows what is best for us. He also knows our temptations and what “rope swings” are pulling us, just dangling there waiting for us to get on and take a ride. And even though God is there pulling us in the opposite direction, laying out His plan for our life if we will just listen and turn to Him, we still sometimes make the wrong decision.

Wouldn’t it be wiser to listen to God and let go of that rope before we suffer the consequences? Before we fall down the side of that mountain and get the scrapes, bruises, and scars that happen along the way? We don’t always have to learn from experience, especially when we have been down that road before. Moreover, our children are watching us to see what we do—what kinds of decisions we are making. Don’t expect your children to do something that you are not doing yourself.

The next time you face a decision of holding on or letting go, ask yourself what you would want your child to do in the same circumstance. Would you be trying to pull that rope swing out of their hands? If so, be that example for your child. Stand up and make the right decision. Let go and let God.

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