This is the reflection I read this morning as part of an Advent series I am emailed. I thought it was fitting to share as part of the Counseling Corner letter because as I continue to prepare social emotional lessons for the students, I am working on upcoming lessons and for the lessons on Mindfulness, I have noted the importance of Letting Go and Letting God. I remind myself to do this often and this seems like a good reminder for us this week as we are now in the third week of Advent as well as the third week of NTI.
As flexible as I try to be, I will admit that I like all my ducks in a row and to be in control of situations – it is comforting. I have been challenged more than a few times (even in today’s Advent reflection) to always make sure to let Go and let God’s grace in situations. I have been challenged to let go of what I want to happen and to be open (with eyes, ears and heart) to what may need to happen (even if I do not understand it); to just be flexible and accept and go with the situation. It can be a challenge to truly be in the moment and whatever happens, find God’s grace in it (and that maybe I am the one who is called to be an example and share that GRACE). In today’s reflection it asked, “Do you ever surrender to God’s will? Do you ever let go of what is eating at you, tearing you apart, and ask God to take charge?” That can be hard but can allow us all us some more peace I do believe – I think we can all use a bit more peace😊.
So let me break this down a bit more and give us some tips (that we can all use as educators, parents and students perhaps). “Let go and let God” may seem simple, but it’s not. If you, like me, have tried this throughout your life you know it can be tough to just let go. Yes, it can be tough, but still, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The experts remind us that It doesn’t even mean that it has to be hard. They remind us that if we make a daily concerted effort to sincerely (and prayerfully) follow steps such as these:
1) Identify what you can control—and what you can’t.
I have a great prayer to remind us of the importance of that and you may have heard of this prayer – the Serenity Prayer. The Serenity Prayer is a prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. It is commonly quoted as:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
Much of our inability to “let go and let God” stems from our failure to recognize that often the things that stress us and worry us are things we can’t control. So, let us focus on LETTING GO AND LETTING GOD this week and finding some GRACE AND PEACE.
2) Address what you can control.
Another key to wholistic health is action (physical, mental, emotional and spiritually). In fact, very often inactivity with a focus on our health (any of those) breeds worry and can be the catalyst for anxiety, stress and depression. One antidote to worry and stress is action. So, instead of brooding over your situation, take action on the things you can control (which often pertain to us and our attitudes). I like to make a list of things that are worrying me and rank them and then put an action by each of them (and sometimes the action is changing my view, sometimes an action step (or a few) and sometimes to simply pray and to truly let go and let God).
3) Surrender what you can’t control.
In the words of the theologian E. Stanley Jones, “Surrender the thing you fear into the hands of God. Turn it right over to God and ask God to solve it with you. Fear is keeping things in your own hands; faith is turning them over into the hands of God—and leaving them there.” Again, a reminder to let go and let God.
4) Meditation and Prayer
Replace your frantic thoughts with calming thoughts, based on God’s promises such as, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5. Also, one of my favorite scripture verse serves as another great reminder, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7. This step reminds us the importance of taking a few minutes each day to be quiet and reflect (maybe turning any worries to God but to also count our blessings). If students can start this simple habit now, from my experience it can have great benefit throughout their life.
5) Choose a “letting go” motto.
Select a memorable verse or phrase that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day to keep your body, mind and spirit that all will be ok and to not let us spiral in worry. I often remind kiddos that they are the boss of their thoughts – work to catch the worry thoughts and change them to ones that allow more grace and peace! This motto might just be “let go and let God” or asking yourself a question, “is this a big deal or little deal?”
6) Resolve not to act on fear but on faith.
To quote E. Stanley Jones again, “Never act on a fear, for fears are usually false…. Don’t build your life according to any pattern shown to you in the valley of fear. Wait till you get to the mount of faith and then build your life plans.” Let us all be reminded to be patient and take our time and act when we are calm.
7) Focus your mind and heart on trusting God today.
Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:34 Be in this day – it is called the PRESENT because it truly is a GIFT and this moment is all we are guaranteed. We are reminded that even with troubles and tough times, the same God who is with us and empowers us to meet today will be there tomorrow.
So maybe “let go and let God” isn’t expecting too much. If, that is, we do it one day at a time.
In today’s Advent reflection I was reminded that it is the feast of St. John of the Cross. St. John of the Cross taught us courage and a deep reliance on God in the midst of adversity. Such a poignant reminder in these times especially. He taught us that when we let go of all that burdens us and open ourselves to God, we can be uplifted and find grace and peace.
I hope you have a great week.
A reminder that there are optional social emotional lessons for the students so please check those out if the students would like to do so (this week’s focus is Social Awareness – Empathy, Gratitude, etc.). Please reach out with any questions.
Again, please continue to reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org should I be able to offer any assistance. Please know of our continued thoughts and prayers.