Control: The Art of Letting Go

May 9, 2018, Written by Sue Miley

 

control

In Christian circles you will often hear the phrase, “let go and let God.” Simultaneously, and maybe even in the same conversation you will hear the most quoted not-in-the-Bible verse of “God helps those who help themselves.”

We can find a verse or a faith-based philosophy for whatever premise we are trying to prove or whatever dissonance we are trying to reduce. Bottom-line is this: all sides are trying to figure out what to do when things are not going as desired.

Being in Control

In the world of business, the pendulum swings far and wide, knocking people over as it passes.

On one end of the pendulum, a business owner is concerned with sales in their new store. They tried to do everything by the book and sales are slowly coming, but not quite meeting the financial needs of the debt repayment. The numbers stress him out; when discussing strategies to improve, the response is often “I am just giving it to God.”

Maybe we can isolate the areas to work on to improve sales?  Is it average ticket amount not increasing?  Is it customer count?  Are prices competitive?  Are they too low? 

The answer to each of these questions is repeatedly undetermined and the resolve by the end of each week is “I just need to trust God…give it to God.”

On the other end of the pendulum, a business owner is not achieving adequate sales and is in sheer panic. He isn’t eating. He is working long hours. He is throwing money that he doesn’t have at the problem. Let me do a month of radio advertising. I will put an ad in the local business magazine. I need to get my non-sales staff selling. Everyone needs to sell, whether they can or not.

This conversation is the opposite of the first scenario. “I have to make something happen. Everyone is counting on me.” “I don’t know why my team is so frustrated, don’t they know I am doing all of this for them.” “I can’t just pray and expect God to rain sales down on me and do nothing.”

No, we probably shouldn’t expect God to rain manna down for our every need or desire, but this is where the art comes in.

Who’s in control?

  1. God is all powerful and He can supernaturally meet our every need and desire. We need to believe He can rain down manna if He wants. So it isn’t a matter of His power.
  2. He is looking for us to look to Him. Yes, God wants us to be dependent on Him for life. But, just as any good parent, He is refining us – to grow, to develop, and do His will.
  3. Biblically, God’s tendency is to work through people. He will help solve our problems and provide protection, but many times it will be through our seeking His guidance and our obedience to His direction.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Being art, there is probably no one-size-fits-all solution to resolving our life or business struggles. However, I personally believe that rather than one extreme or the other, it takes a bit of our effort and faith in God that what we do truly need, He will provide.

This isn’t a formula, it’s just an example. If I want or need to grow sales in my business, I am going to do an eclectic mix of seeking, praying, planning, and executing.

The Lord doesn’t promise us our definition of success in any situation. Sometimes he will close doors – sometimes slamming them shut. In some cases, He may even just let us reap the consequences of past poor decisions when we didn’t include Him.

The Art of Letting Go

Ultimately, we are not in control and never were.

What we truly know about God is that He is faithful to provide what we do need in the world.  That real trust and faith of knowing that we will be alright regardless of the outcome of our current issue at hand is really the beauty in the art of letting go of control.

  • Being in relationship with the Lord, it is likely that He has heard me coming to Him over and over about the sales issue. I journal to God often and when I review entries from months past, I sound  like I am a broken record. I am looking to the Lord to determine if I have a real problem. If so, does He have any wisdom for me? Does the Bible provide any clarity? I can only imagine how sick the Lord is of my issue once I am focused on one.
  • Then I start praying. I pray for guidance. I pray for discernment. I ask directly for help and try not to be to whiny about it!
  • At the same time, I sit back and review the issue. God created me with specific abilities and talents to use. If the problem is in my gifting, I should develop plans and then bring them to the Lord in prayer. If it isn’t in my gifting, God may be wanting to work through others to help me. Do I need to find an expert to help me? Does someone on my team have the knowledge or initiative? I don’t need to frantically throw spaghetti (solutions) at the wall and hope something sticks. I do need to seek proven solutions or try creative, yet logical, strategies to solve my issue.
  • Then I bring the plans back to Jesus: Lord, this seems to be the best plan. I am doing my best to move forward and execute this plan in a way that would glorify You. If this isn’t the path you were thinking, then I trust you to re-direct me. Please shut a door. If this plan makes sense, I pray Your favor in our results and we will bear fruit from our efforts. Ultimately, I trust you and pray for Your will. Regardless, I believe we will be okay in the world for You will provide.

The Lord doesn’t promise us our definition of success in any situation.  Sometimes he will shut doors and sometimes He will even slam them.  In some cases, He may even just let us reap the consequences of past poor decisions when we didn’t include Him.

Ultimately, we are not in control and never were.

But, what we truly know about God is that He is faithful to provide what we do need in the world.  That real trust and faith of knowing that we will be alright regardless of the outcome of our current issue at hand is really the beauty in the art of letting go of control.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.