The Trouble With “Let Go And Let God”

The slogan “Let Go And Let God” is a milestone for anyone recovering from addiction. It is probably the most difficult thing about the journey.

The problem is our money-grubbing, “anything for a buck” culture has hijacked the slogan. It’s now fashionable to “wear”  let go and let God. You can find

Let Go and Let God tee shirts, magnets, aprons, stickers, greeting cards, decals, thermoses, jewelery and even tattoos plastered with the slogan They have trivialized one of the most sacred accomplishments for anyone in recovery. And they invoke it at will for a myriad of  occasions. At the first sign of trouble, whether it relates to its true meaning or not. It’s almost flip when some folks use it. Instead of gushing, “Gee, I’m sorry.” they flash a fashionable, “Let go and let God.” That’s nice and spiritual, right? It’s the right thing to do if you have a problem, right? It’s the right thing to say to them, right?

Sorry. Those folks  toss “Let go and let God” around as if it’s a panacea for one’s problems, as if it’s comforting to say to someone who is hurting. They have no idea what Let Go And Let God really means.

Anybody who has any time in recovery will tell you to truly Let Go And Let God requires two things without which letting go and letting God is impossible: total surrender and complete trust.

Then Jesus said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

Deny self.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

Surrender means giving up control. . . .the C word . . . .For lots of us in recovery, control is issue Numero Uno. We’ve had it, manipulated it, forced it, imposed it, and fought family and friends to cling to  it. Those of us who learn to truly let go and let God come to realize the only person we have any control over is ourselves. When we discover that we arrive at one of two choices: we learn to surrender it, or we continue nurturing it and our recovery stalls.

As children bring their broken toys
with tears to us to mend
I brought my broken dreams to God
because He is my friend.
But then instead of leaving Him
in peace to work alone
I hung around and tried to help
with ways that were my own.
At last I shouted out and cried,
“How could you be so slow?”
“My child,” He said, “what could I do?
You never would let go.”

Letting go sometimes involves crashing and burning. It may involve the agony of relinquish control. It is one of the toughest things a person can do. But once we experience the wonderful freedom we find in surrender, once we experience the joy of truly letting go, we want more.

We don’t surrender everything at once. Sometimes surrender comes in little bits. Surrendering a heartache, or a spouse, or a child, or a situation at work, or a friend, or a challenge, or a habit. But when we learn to surrender one thing, the next thing becomes easier to surrender, and the next, and the next.

Will we ever live a completely surrendered life? No. Surrender is a daily, sometimes hourly thing. It’s a life long challenge to surrender to God and not hang on to control.

The other part of letting go and letting God is letting God. That’s the real trick to managing step two (came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity). Trusting God is the complement to letting go. Letting God means you know in your heart of hearts that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.

My daughter and I were at our pool one afternoon when she was first getting used to the water. I stood a few feet off the bank. She stood on the edge of the pool. I encouraged her to jump into the pool. I promised her I would catch her. She refused.  It took about 15 minutes of coaching, but she finally held her nose and jumped into the water and my arms. ‘See, Leah, I told you Daddy would catch you. Did you like that?” She wiped the water from her face and jumped out of the pool. “Let’s do it again, Daddy.”  For the next 30 minutes I stood in the water and caught Leah as she jumped into my arms, fully trusting that her daddy would catch her.

God does the same thing with us. He stands in the deep, threatening water and says, “Jump, my child. I will catch you.”  Surrender and trust. Surrender and trust. It’s the key to allowing God to take control of our lives.

It is no trivial matter to be plastered on tee shirts and aprons and jewelery — commercialized like Wheaties or car insurance. It does not belong in stores. It belongs in your heart. It is the life blood of spiritual health.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5

I’m grateful you stopped by today. I hope you were as blessed to read this as I was to write it.  Thank you again for reading and may God richly bless you.


About Steve Sawyer

God blessed me with the gift of writing. Mom told me I wrote paragraphs in second grade when others were learning to write sentences. I spent more than three decades in professional writing gigs. For the past eight years I've combined my passion for writing with my love for the Lord. He and I write a Christ-centered, family-friendly blog to glorify God Monday-thru Friday at My wife and I have four grown children and two precious granddaughters we co-parent with their mom. I'm a Galatians 2:20 disciple of Christ seeking to allow Christ to live His life in me, through me, and as me.
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9 Responses to The Trouble With “Let Go And Let God”

  1. ptl2010 says:

    He becomes Lord of your life only when you “Let go and let God”. Yes, it is a daily experience, one step a time. but the only steps in life worth taking with the Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent God. How wonderful an expereince!

  2. Great analogy with your daughter, Steven.
    I have to agree with you that ‘Let go and let God’ – along with several other slogans – is inappropriately used and does nothing to spread the truth of the wonderful experience.

  3. Pingback: Christian Sayings: Let Go and Let God | Inspired Christian

  4. Steven Sawyer says:

    Thank you. I’m so grateful God allowed me to experience that with my five year old daughter. I have applied that story i dozens of ways to God and trusting Him over the hears. I appreciate your encouragement. God bless. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  5. GodGirl says:

    Well said! Love the image of Jesus standing in the deep waters encouraging us to jump into His arms. Beautiful!

    • Steven Sawyer says:

      Thank you, the whole pool thing with my daughter was such an inspiration to me. Straight from God. I’ve told that story at least a hundred times. God is so good.

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