For most—if not all—of us, the desire for a sense of control is a natural tendency. And understandably so. If we are to be honest, it is nothing short of fear that is at the base of this desire. There are countless things to fear in this world. Countless. So we go through life searching for anything solid that we can cling to—to give us a sense of meaning, to protect us, to identify us.
All we want is to be grounded. To know that we are safe. To understand what it is that will remain consistent even if everything crumbles around us. When we find anything resembling this consistency, we are hard-pressed to let it go. So we fight for it with all our strength—this thing that promises stability, if perhaps falsely.
The truth is we were made for security, but we’ve clung to empty contracts instead of finding it where it truly is. Because the place where security truly lies runs against all human logic. When he walked the Earth, Yeshua assured us that we could experience peace in a storm, that with faith in him we could walk on top of water and waves that would otherwise compromise our safety. He said that those who follow him would not be harmed by the bite of a serpent, and that there is victory in death. This doesn’t make sense. How are these dangerous places made places of refuge? Yeshua called us to the humanly impossible—namely, to trust. When you can’t see anything, when nothing makes sense, when it feels like you might lose your sanity if you let go, trust. Security is found in his superior realm, the realm of his Father, of our Father. So our job now is to let go, to release our grasp, to defy human logic and false feelings of safety to discover an incredible reality.
We must take the step before seeing what’s there. This is the most difficult part, but also the most freeing. The nature of grasping onto something is that we don’t have the capacity to allow something better to be passed into our hands. Because our fists and our eyes are closed; we’ve taken up a fighting stance, put up our guard so that no one can wrench that thing from our hands or penetrate our resolve. But what if we’re missing something so much better, so much more secure and peaceful, by maintaining our grasp?
In Philippians chapter 2, Paul speaks of how Jesus did not “consider equality with God something to be grasped,” and that we are to have this same attitude. At the end of the passage he explains that as a result of Jesus willingly giving up his rightful place, the Father glorified and exalted him to the highest place. In letting go he received the thing he could have chosen to fight and strive for in his own effort, but it was even better than anything he could have achieved apart from his Father.
There are many different things that we grasp in this life: titles, positions, identities, possessions, offenses, wounds. Even having a revelation of our right standing with God can be something we grasp because we’re afraid someone may have the ability to steal that from us. But, just as with Jesus, no one has the authority to steal our true identity. And all the other things we cling to—they pale in comparison to what God offers to his sons and daughters. See, there exists both a consistency and a glorious unpredictability to our Father’s realm. Though it may appear frightening, this is where we live at our truest. So we must neither cling to the known nor the comfortable in light of the fact that every good thing and everything that we feel gives us identity truly pales when held up to the wonder of his Kingdom, where we are seated as heirs of all the Father’s promises.
Sometimes we even cling to wounds, conditions, or diseases because we feel they somehow identify us. There is a reason Jesus had a habit of asking people what they wanted, even if it seemed obvious, or asking if they wanted to be healed. We are afraid of losing our excuses; we’d rather be wounded or ill than discover that we are nothing otherwise. So we grasp onto the “comfort” of our wound instead of receiving healing and an identity so much greater and truer, accompanied by the grace necessary to carry any responsibility that may come with the loss of our excuse.
We also tend to grasp onto the things that we really want to do—whether that be a job, an adventure, entering a relationship, or a great opportunity. We grasp and worry about losing these possibilities out of fear that life may actually not ever live up to our biggest dreams. But what we fail to realize is that our Father’s dreams are even bigger, and maybe if we would let go and trust him, the doors would be opened for us to experience even better, unanticipated opportunities.
Thirdly, those of us who are artists or creative in any way have a tendency to cling to our ideas, or to strive for them. We are afraid of their elusiveness and so we stress ourselves out by trying to stretch our brains to remember them when they come to us, or we nearly explode our brains in our search for the ideas we need. Last year at a writer’s conference I attended, one of the speakers talked about how before a writing session he takes time to empty his mind and connect with his true identity as a son of God. He releases his need for the next great idea and finds that what he needs comes to him in just the right time. I have also begun to experience this myself in my own writing. I’ve learned to not worry so much, to not stress about losing an idea or fear that it won’t come when I need it. And as a result the ideas keep falling in my lap. We must let go so that our unlimitedly creative Father can give us even better ideas than our striving could ever invoke.
In Philippians chapter 3, Paul explains how he has learned to put “no confidence in the flesh,” even though it seems he has reason to. Let us learn to do the same. Let go. Whatever the question is, whatever the false identity, whatever the unknown, let go and find something greater than you could have ever anticipated or imagined. We belong to a good Father who loves to give good gifts to his children, so let us not cling to something that could prevent our reception of such lavish gifts.