It was November 2017, and my world was a hot mess. I think the technical term for it was dumpster fire—at least that’s how one of my friends described it.
In the span of three months, the life I built, my dreams and goals and hopes for the future seemed to disappear–like dust flying through the air. Those days, everything seemed to collapse at breakneck speeds while the days passed painfully slowly, as if each minute was a reminder that life was going to move on whether I wanted it to or not.
In this season—one of pain and crumbling—the Father whispered to my soul, “Release.”
Release. Let go. Pry open your clenched fists and let your life simply sit there—your hopes, your dreams, your love, your longings. It was, quite possibly, one of the most vulnerable yet most freeing words the Father has ever said to me. It was the word that led me to where I am today—a writer in Thailand.
It’s a word of surrender, of submission. For the record, I loathe that word—submission. So much baggage is tied to it, and in today’s American culture, it feels like a fighting word.
I’ve been running from it for far too long, because submission to the Father, means release. It means letting go. It means acknowledging that I don’t have control over anything. I only have the illusion of control.
The word release has found its way to my soul once more, and I think I’m feeling a little bit of PTSD at the thought of it. To be clear, it’s not coming in a season of intense pain and grief. It’s coming in a season of transition, of trying to figure things out. These days, release still means opening my clenched fists. Inside the palms of my hands, I’m trying to hold my dreams and plans for the days ahead. I’m trying to hold things loosely so that when my very next step becomes clear, I’ll find the courage to take it. It feels deeply vulnerable but also so very necessary.
These days, I find myself pulled back to the life of Joshua, and I find comfort in the words spoken to him by the Father.
“Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or discouraged. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I love that. Who doesn’t?
But this isn’t the part of the story the Father keeps reminding me of. These days, I’m camped out in the story of Jericho, and it’s throwing me off balance a bit. This story is crazy; it doesn’t make sense. It’s illogical. It seems unwise and utterly ridiculous.
I can just imagine Joshua saying, “Hey fam, tomorrow we will line up behind some priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant, and while they blow rams horns, we will march around Jericho once a day for six days. Don’t talk at all. Don’t make a noise. I don’t want to hear laughter or the faintest whisper. We will do this in silence. On the seventh day, we will walk around Jericho seven times, and when I give you the signal, we’ll shout really loud. That’ll show ‘em!”
Seriously? The Father wants His people to march around a towering city in complete silence for seven days, and a loud shout on the seventh day will make the walls crumble? Now I get why He told Joshua to be strong and courageous before they even saw the walls of Jericho.
Even still Joshua rallied Israel. He gave the orders and led the way. They marched day after day in silence, the only noise coming from the sound of their feet against the earth and the rams horns at the front of the pack. Day after day, those in Jericho probably looked out their windows at the caravan below. I’m sure it was a little eery at first and then probably just annoying.
But then on the seventh day, they walked around that city seven times, and after the final lap, they let out a kind of roar that shook the walls of the city. That day, the Father made those walls crumble to the ground because of the trust and obedience of His people.
Release even when things don’t make sense.
Release even when the way forward isn’t clear.
Release even when we have more questions than answers.
Release even when we’re waiting, waiting, waiting.
Release and trust even when the Father tells us to do something that seems illogical and maybe even unwise. Release and trust when the Father asks us to walk in a space that feels dark and uncertain. Release it all. Pry open our clenched fists and let all we love sit vulnerably in the palms of our hands. Our Father can be trusted.
These days, I find myself looking for Jericho moments, Jericho commands, because those are big, bold, impossible dreams. They’re the kind only the Father can make happen, and aren’t those the kind we should chase anyway? I don’t want to settle for the kind I can make happen on my own, the ones that make sense in my mind. I want to pursue the ones that send ripples into the world around me because of the what the Father does.
When people heard about Jericho, they said in hushed voices, “Only God could have done that.”
This is what I want to be able to say. Only God could have done that. So I will release. We will release.
Release and trust that the Father will do what only He can do.