All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. (Havelock Ellis)
Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
We make moment-by-moment decisions to let go or hold onto whatever makes us feel good, validates our feelings, or determine to be of some value to us. To be painfully truthful with you, I have held onto some things I would have been better off letting go of, determined somethings to be of great worth that really had very little worth, and listened to my emotions way too much in this lifetime. Those things only served to trip me up - keeping me in a place I didn't want to be. When I finally let go of what I thought was so important to hold onto, I found myself pursuing God with a greater focus and a deeper love.
Why is it we hold onto things? I know we don't always know the thing we hold onto so tightly is going to do us so much harm, or keep us from pursuing things that would be more beneficial in our lives, but we hold on for dear life. We get 'wrapped up' in stuff that keeps us bound in the muck and mire of life, all the while missing the point that what we are holding onto is more of an anchor than an oar. For some of us, it is time to let go. We have held onto past hurts, bad memories, limiting thoughts, and dark secrets. It may not be evident to you that these things exist, but if you are not moving forward, you are probably stuck.
As Ellis said, it is both letting go and holding on that must be balanced, but what I know from my own experience is that it isn't always clear what I should hold onto and what needs to go. I have had to ask God on more than one occasion to show me very clearly if what I was holding onto was actually deterring my progress forward. Was that hurt ever dealt with and forgiveness given? Was the perceived threat ever acknowledged as no real threat at all because God was in control all the time? Did that thing I thought would give me a sense of worth really just mislead me into some dead end?
Be very cautious when you pray for God to reveal any anchors, though. You must be willing to not just be set free from the anchor - you must also be willing to take up the oars. A boat set free from the anchor will just drift if there is no one to take up the oars. God expects us to put in the effort to be free from the place where we have been so deeply anchored - to 'take up the oars' and move on. That may be the sticking point for many of us, because 'rowing' isn't easy, but know this - two can row much better than one! Ask God to bring you a 'rowing partner' to help you. You might just find the one he brings to your aid knows now just how to row, but the direction you should be rowing! Just sayin!