He told us later that it was the best weekend of his life.
We had decided last minute to go join grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins for a couple of days at a friend’s lake house.
There were early morning duck feedings. Fishing off the side of the dock. Countless rides around the lake on jet skies. And tubing. A first for my seven year old son.
A double rider tube was tied up to the jet ski and I agreed to ride alongside of him for his inaugural tubing experience.
The driver of the jet ski took off at a rapid speed and within less than a second I realized we were in trouble. The difference in his weight vs. my weight and the fact that our combined weight wasn’t heavy enough to hold the tube down created a problem. The front of the tube began to take on water. As this happened and the jet ski kept going faster and faster, we began to be pulled under water.
As soon as I realized what was happening, I let go.
My son did not.
I could hear the screaming of those watching from the dock. They were screaming the name of the jet ski driver. Stop! STOP!
For what seemed like an eternity but was really only a handful of seconds, I watched my son being drug under water with the massive tube on top of him. He was hanging on for his life.
Knowing he couldn’t hear me over the noise of the jet ski, but feeling helpless to do anything else, I kept screaming over and over “Bennett, LET GO!”.
Finally, he let go!
With the speed of an olympic swimmer I was by his side and holding him close. “Benny, you were suppose to let go if something happened to the tube.” To which he replied, “Mom, you didn’t tell me that, you just told me to hold on tight”.
He was right. I hadn’t given him those very crucial instructions. In fact, I remember my last words to him, before we took off, being, “Benny, hold on tight.”
Once we got back to the shore, and checked him over, I was so relieved to find out that he was not hurt. Terrified, but safe.
Thankfully, he had let go and letting go meant he was still alive.
Sometimes you have to let go to live!
I love to have company in our home. Hosting people and making them feel loved and welcomed is at the top of my “fun list”. It used to stress me out though. While I loved parts of it, I let perfectionism make it stressful. If company was coming, every single room in my house had to be clean, including the silverware drawer. I’d spend ALL DAY cleaning and preparing. The floors had to be mopped, every piece of furniture dusted, the toys separated into correct bins, oh and by good golly the air fresheners had to be new and spewing good smelling scents.
This need for perfection made having company over a difficult task.
I wanted things perfect because I wanted to look good.
I wanted people to think I had it all together.
But holding onto this control, this need to be perfect, was not allowing me to really live.
I had to let go to live.
I had to let go of perfectly clean floors, three types of beverage choices, the garage being organized and looking like I had it all together.
I began to pray and ask God to take this perfectionism out of me. I knew it was stealing life from me. I suffered, my kids suffered, my spouse suffered.
I read this and it slammed my justifications against the wall and they fell flat on the floor.
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
Obviously! The Apostle Paul just throws that in there. Like, DUH! Don’t you see? As a servant of Christ, pleasing people isn’t my gig.
I’m pretty sure I had it backwards. I think pleasing people was my goal. I think you probably have it backwards quite often, too.
We all struggle with doing things because we want to look good. Or please people. We want people to like us and think highly of us. But doesn’t this just mean we are making it really hard on ourselves?
For someone reading this today, you need to hear me. Let the perfect house go. Let it go and really live. Now, I’m not advocating a pig sty. I still like an orderly and clean home. I’ve just learned to not let it control me, and to not stress out if things aren’t “perfect”.
For me I had to let go of perfect. Let go so I could live.
I’m preaching to myself right now because the perfect house was the easy one to let go of. Other stuff in my life….that’s a lot harder. Many things are still in progress as I hold on tightly to the rope….
For some maybe it’s holding on so tight to the struggles you are going through all on your own. You won’t open up to those around you. You feel scared of letting people really see you.
What you don’t know though, is that by letting go, and letting people in, you’re letting others help you live.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
Let go of your pride and let people in to help you. This will help save you.
Or is it bitterness towards someone who hurt you? Unforgiveness. You can’t let go of the bitterness because it helps cover the pain. Holding onto the bitterness makes you feel less pain, and yet bitterness eats away at you until there’s nothing left but an empty shell of who you once were.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Let it go. Then you can live again.
Let go of that failed relationship. It’s over. Start living again. Start believing that what is in the past is in the past. What God has put in front of you is living and breathing and giving you life. What’s dead and gone is in the past and will not bring you life.
Let that past relationship go. Start living by recognizing the relationships right in front of you.
Your childhood was messed up? So were lots of people’s childhoods. It doesn’t make you less important, or even more important for that matter. It means you had a harder road to walk than some. But let it go. Stop holding onto the fact that life wasn’t perfect for you. Stop allowing what happened to you in the past to define you. LET GO! You’re allowing a moment or season in your life to determine your entire life. STOP! Let go! And truly start living the life you were purposed to live before the beginning of time.
God has a plan for you NOW. He wants to use you. He wants you to have a life full of joy and purpose. But some of you have to let go of some things before you can really begin to live the life that you are suppose to live.
Whatever it is that you are holding onto that is causing you to drown, let go.
Jesus offers you healing, and redemption. He gave you forgiveness, so give forgiveness to others. He says ‘His grace is enough for you’. You don’t have to go out and find your own grace. He’s got plenty for you. You just have to let go of the tube, so you can really live. Whatever that sin, or hurt, or fear, or person, or memory is, let go. Lay it at the feet of Jesus and find freedom in knowing that He already took care of it on the cross.
I’ll end with this verse that gives us a simple act, yet so very hard to do until you fully surrender…
1 Peter 5:7
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (NLT)
or this version…
(MSG) So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.
I just love that. Live carefree before God. You cannot live carefree when you are hanging so tightly onto something that is killing you.
Let go of that thing that is slowly taking the life right out of you. Let go and see how full your life really is. Living is not just gasping your way through life. Living is deeply breathing in and filling your lungs with life giving air that allows you to live to your fullest God purposed potential.
He told us later, even though he had nearly died on the tube, it was the best weekend of his life.
My son didn’t let one traumatic event ruin his entire outlook on the weekend. He let go, and loved every other minute.