“Let Go and Let God” Is Not a Synonym for “Give Up”: Christianity, Wicca, and the Law of Attraction
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Since when has Let Go and Let God become a synonym for Give Up?
Several years ago, I was facing an extremely shaky time when I was leaving a long-term marriage and starting a brand-new life. It was the first step in building a new me and all the confidence that comes with reclaiming your independence after really losing yourself for a while. I had compromised a lot of my true self over the years in order to meet the expectations of other people as well as my belief system that required me to be “selfless” to the point of giving away self. It was not an easy time. I’d lost my ability to trust and I desperately wanted to trust again, so I jumped out there and put my heart on the line and it got stomped on all over again. I fought to regain control of my life, and much of it seemed to be an uphill battle.
A member of the clergy told me I should handle a particular difficulty in my life by giving it a “spiritual surrender.”
I had no idea what he meant. He wasn’t in and will never be in the particular situation I was going through, so his counsel didn’t quite ring authentic. Like many other people in my life who didn’t have answers for themselves, much less for me, he talked a lot about how I should “let go and let God.” I’m not sure if he simply didn’t know how to advise me on my particular situation or if he truly had insight into something greater that he kept fumbling to explain. I do know that his suggestions did not help me to find the happiness I have now. I do know that most of the people who spouted “Just let go and let God!” were among the most controlling in my life at that time and weren’t very good at the “let go and let God” process in their own lives. Most of them were telling me, some outright and others as kindly as possible, to give up on my dreams—and that grated against my soul. Some advisors tried to tell me not to worry about things, not to expect anything, just “go with the flow,” and mostly to just take whatever came along. They reminded me that I was at the mercy of …well, God…and helpless to do anything but accept what was coming to me. And what was coming was, of course, suffering…because that, to them, seemed to be our purpose until we can die of natural causes and go to Heaven where we can be happy at last or Hell where we can continue to suffer. Most of these people, I don’t fault for their frustration over my refusal to crawl into a cave and let life run over me.
I understand the whole concept of “let go and let God” a whole lot better now. If you expect life to be hard and bitter and they you die, then that’s probably what’s coming to you. If you expect life to be full of good things and joy beyond your wildest dreams, then you’ve let go of those thoughts and put them out to God and let go of them to be taken care of for you. If you expect everything to go wrong and that Murphy of Murphy’s Law fame was indeed a genius for looking for all that bad stuff that happens, then you will repeatedly see things go wrong in the most bizarre and simplest ways. I understand this process much better now because I’ve looked at it through several forms of spirituality. But the idea that to “let go and let God” means just taking whatever comes and thinking that whatever comes must surely be awful? No!
I could never reconcile myself to the concept of any Deity worthy of being worshipped wanting me to suffer, suffer, suffer and live my earthly life in misery, misery, misery. It seems terribly…inefficient…and maybe a little sadistic to think a Creator would want His most prized creation to be disgustingly worthless rather than cherished.
It really doesn’t matter what your religion or spirituality is for you to understand this “let go and let God” concept. To “let go and let God” does not mean give up, be a doormat, don’t care, don’t have desires, or forget your dreams. It’s really quite the opposite. It’s really about the handing it over to God—or Gods, or the Universe, or whatever you call your Higher Power—to make it happen for you. That’s not you in control in the way we usually think of control. It’s not God being your servant either. It’s more of a loving partnership with Deity.
In Christianity, to “let go and let God” is likely to be a prayer for what you desire to come to you and then a feeling so strong with belief that your desire is already yours that all you can feel is gratitude and instead of begging, pleading, prostrate prayers of rolling around on the floor in sackcloth and ashes, you aren’t praying to something to come to you but rather, you’re thanking God because it’s already yours. Yes, I heard those words unconvincingly a few times in my 35 years as a Christian but when you grow up in a particular belief system, you don’t question it and often don’t even understand some of the fundamental beliefs or where they came from. In fact, I was taught not to question anything–or else, as in “If you have any doubts, you’re going to hell.” There is truth in that, but not necessarily the way it was told to me. I now understand that if you doubt (don’t have the belief that is required in this spiritual formula), then your fears (usually something rather hellish or troubling) will certainly be delivered to you. However, if you put your belief out there that your desires will be fulfilled and just let God take care of that for you, you’re letting go and letting God make it happen on your behalf in a loving, fatherly, joyful sort of way. That’s not giving up!
In magical practices, to “let go and let God” (or Goddess) is really the same thing, though the terminology is a little different. For example, a Wiccan High Priestess will cast a circle which, among other things, creates her own little world of swirling, positive (usually) energy and thoughts. In that sacred space, she states her intention (comparable to a prayer for what she desires), raises that energy (the feeling of un-doubtable connection to her God, Goddess, or plural), completely believes that it is hers already, and sends the energy forth to happen, which is the letting go part of the process. She doesn’t, if well-practiced, ask for the same thing again and again and again and thereby hold the not-there-yet feeling in place but she lets go and allows her Higher Power(s) to bring it to her without any more worry on her part. Like Christianity, her intent, connection (feeling), and belief are key factors.
Universal Law extends beyond both traditional and alternative forms of spirituality, using different terminology but still, it’s really the same thing. Just different names—just as I am Lorna Tedder to some, Shmom (Shannon’s Mom) to her friends, or Milady to a lover. The concepts are the same. With the Universal Law of Attraction (the real deal, not the hype), the idea of “let go and let God” is the same as setting your intention, aligning yourself with the feeling/vibrations of what it’s like to be there already, and knowing/believing that your desires are manifesting for you so quickly and easily that they are already yours to feel grateful for.
See? I’ve looked at it personally from the viewpoints of Christianity, Wicca, and Universal Law and have found that it’s the same ideas in all three but a different language—intent, feeling, belief. And in that believing–and I mean really believing–you can relax and know that it’s coming to you and you can just let it come with little to no effort at all on your part. The spiritual practices are a different way of looking at Universal Law and that in no way detracts from spiritual practice. For me, understanding religion and spirituality from the view of Universal Law actually enhances my understanding of my own religion and helps me to appreciate and better understand other religions.
It’s too bad we’ve gotten so caught up in the nice alliteration of “let go and let God.” It’s a lovely catch-phrase. But maybe the easier way to understand that it is a loving partnership with God, Goddess, the Universe, your Higher Power, or however you call That Which Is Greater, is to reframe the phrase:
Let God, and Let It Come.
or even more simply…