Never Let Go

by Andy Wood on April 11, 2012

in Five LV Laws, Following Your Passion, Life Currency, Love, LV Cycle, Principle of Legacy

We live in a disposable culture.  “Old” has been redefined by phone companies in terms of seconds, and kommitment has been karikatured by kertain kelebrities as a multimillion-dollar hoax. And in a culture where the official religion is the Church of Relative Truth, disposing of beliefs or vows is old news.

Science has made recycling possible, but we’ve taken the plunge with some things – and people – that never should have been “cycled” in the first place. It’s one thing to recycle McDonald’s napkins; recycling children is another story.  And some people recycle relationships with little more care than they might recycle motor oil or a milk jug.

Of course, some things should be disposed of, either because they’ve satisfied their purpose or because they hinder our growth and progress.  Henry Cloud, in his must-read book Necessary Endings, says,

“Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth demands that we move on. Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.”

We can’t be free to let go, however, until we have some clear life anchors – those beliefs, relationships, and commitments that keep us grounded and pointed in the right direction.  Simply put, there are some things you should never let go of.  The question is, how do you know what to throw away and what to keep?  What’s the difference between a relationship or belief that serves as an anchor and one that is more like a ball-and-chain?

Here’s where I would start in your search for life anchors:

1.  Never let go of the dreams that won’t let go of you.

We all have bucket lists and wishes.  And some of those are as fleeting as the wind.  We also have deeply-felt dreams that are either fulfilled or end in disappointment.  Then there are the others – those goals or ambitions that never seem to fully escape our system.  The ones we keep returning to again and again, even when we can’t figure out how it’s all supposed to happen.

Maybe there’s a reason they keep coming back.  Maybe you’re dealing with what one Old Testament prophet referred to as a “vision that awaits an appointed time.”  Wouldn’t it be sad if the appointed time showed up and you were AWOL because you lost your hope and faith?  Don’t let go.  Keep waiting.  Keep believing.  Keep watching.  Sometimes the only thing missing is time.

2.  Never let go of the passion that fuels your vision or the vision that focuses your passion.

The more I study successful people and effective leaders, the more I realize that you need both working in tandem.  Vision without passion is wishful thinking.  Passion without vision leads to chaos and exhaustion.  But when vision is fueled by passion and passion is harnessed by vision, you’ll find miracles in the making.

This takes marathon-runner endurance mixed with sprinter fire.  Sometimes it takes the courage to stand alone against a crowd because they can’t see what you see or feel what you feel.  Stand anyway.  It’s worth it.

3.  Never let go of what you know that you know.

Anything that can be scientifically proven today can be scientifically disproven tomorrow.  Scientists once believed that California was an island, the world was flat, and that we were heading into another ice age.  Sometimes we change what we “know” because the evidence overwhelmingly convinces us otherwise.

But there are those other things – those things you can only “prove” by experience or a core conviction of the heart.  But you know that you know that it’s true.  This is the arena where faith lives.  Others may sometimes call you crazy or stare blankly at your testimony.  But don’t let the reactions of people rob you of what your heart knows.

4.  Never let go of the relationships that know no boundaries of time or distance.

I’ve silently said good-bye to thousands of people in my lifetime simply because life moved on and the relationships didn’t.  And what life didn’t usher away, death did.  But there are those relationships that transcend time, space, and even physical life.  People who, “being dead, still speak” (Hebrews 11:4).  Friends that stick closer than a brother.  Family members whose life or influence still run in your veins.

Just yesterday I received a request to write a tribute letter for a dear friend I haven’t talked to in nearly two years. That’s a no-brainer.  This friend could call tomorrow and it would be as if we haven’t missed a beat.  The friendship is one for a lifetime and you couldn’t pay me for it, even though we are separated by over a thousand miles.

5.  Never let go of the commitments of the heart that transcend the wear and tear of living.

Life wages war on commitment.  I once sat dumbfounded when a businessman I trusted said with all sincerity, “Contracts are made to be broken.”  And I’ve spend most of my adult life working with people whose lives are littered by broken relationships.

Look, I get it. The wear and tear of life in a broken world can lead to “heart failure” – not the blood pump in your chest, but the heart to go on when life or relationships get tough.  But through it all there are those people who just won’t give up on you, who walk in when everyone else walks out, who forgive when you’ve hurt them or wait patiently for you to come around.  These are the people who don’t need to be impressed by you in order to love you.  Cling to people like that.  They understand commitment, and can teach you a thing or two about it.

6.  Never let go of the people who have touched your life for a lifetime.

Have you ever met somebody, then completely forgot you met them, and when you said “pleased to meet you” the second time they said something like, “I think we’ve met before?”

Oopsie.  Needless to say, they didn’t register on your “unforgettable” scale.

Then there are the others.  The teacher who profoundly shaped your views.  The pastor who helped forge your spiritual growth.  The person who led you to faith in Christ or who convinced you not to give up.  Sometimes it was just one encounter – one “touch” – but the effects are life-changing.  These people are priceless.  Hold on to them or their memory as much as is possible.

7.  Never let go of the people or places who have anchored your life to truth.

There’s a reason my heart is drawn back to rural Alabama or the mountains of East Tennessee, among other places.  Those are “soul roots” areas for me, where my life gets anchored again to reality.

Some people do that for me as well.  They’re my reality checks, who can listen to my crazy ideas and neither dismiss them nor mindlessly cheer them on.  They ask quality questions.  They offer wise counsel.  They point out hidden danger or blind spots.  And most importantly, they speak the truth with love. Sometimes they listen to me blathering on and finally just say, “Stop!”  Sometimes they tell me things I don’t want to hear, but my life is safer and richer because of it.

All of us need people like that – people who comfort us when we’re distressed or distress us when we’re too comfortable.  When you find them, hold on for dear life, because they’re what makes life dear.

8.  Never let go of the sources of true peace and security.

You and I are the servants of whatever or whomever we look to for peace.  That’s why some people serve recreation and others serve recreational drugs. It’s why some people serve some people. The problem with many “sources” that promise peace and security is that they don’t last, and require more and more from you.  Soon the “cure” becomes the disease.

But there are those people who, by simply showing up, offer the grace and strength-of-presence that helps us confront our fears, face our failures, or find our way. They remind us what Easter is all about, and serve as a living expression of the peace of God, that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).  Stay close to them.  Their worth is greater than gold.

 

Every one of these are shadows of the ultimate Source of love, peace, security and truth – the Lord Jesus Himself.  No one can love you, secure you, or give you more reasons to hold on than He can.  The people and places mentioned above all ultimately point to Him and say with one voice:  Never let go.

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