The Power of Letting Go

This article was first published on the 3rd of March, 2015 and last updated on the 23rd of April, 2016 by Patrick Carpen.

By the year 1993, my dad had spent a good part of the last ten years of his life working on a small project that he estimated would be worth about 20 million dollars on its completion about three years on.

When he was offered a relatively high paying job in the Island of Grenada, he thought it wouldn’t hurt to put his project on hold for two years – but not more than two -as he left to go work in Grenada.

In Grenada, his job was so wonderful, his lifestyle so beautiful and his salary so satisfying that he couldn’t have asked for anything better. But it got better: the company asked him to renew his contract for another two years. They were satisfied with his work so much, that they wanted to hire him “indefinitely”.

He himself admitted that if he had stayed on the job, he would have gained a multi-entry visa to the USA after five years – something which was hard to do at that time. He also admitted that he would have earned enough money in 5 years to build about 25 of the projects he had been working on in Guyana.

Nevertheless, it was an “emotional”, “not logical” attachment to the project he had started in Guyana that dragged him back to it. My dad lacked “the power of letting go”.

He returned to Guyana and took up his old cross and wrestled to complete his project. He finally completed it, but the project took twice the time he had estimated, and in the end, was only worth half of what he had imagined. It was not a “sore” disappointment, but somewhat of a disappointment.

When we invest our energy, time and money into something, it cultivates an emotional attachment to that thing, and makes it difficult for us to “break the yoke of it” off of our necks even when the project becomes too burdensome or show little signs of fructifying.

When the Commander In Chief of the US military sent the first batch of troops to Vietnam, they weren’t sending their boys to fight a loosing battle, but after facing a heavy assault and an unprecedented loss of lives, Washington felt compelled to justify their sacrifice by sending a larger number of troops to crush the enemy. But the outcome was defeat again, which only strengthened their resolve to “win at all costs”. It was a bitter “fight” which saw the United States sourly accepting defeat and finally giving up the fight after excessive losses in both money and human lives.

A similar scenario happened when George Bush sent US troops to Iraq in 2003. Losing sometimes make people feel inferior. And some people like neither to lose nor to feel inferior. So even though the occupation of Iraq was showing no signs of victory, President Bush kept spending money and sending troops to Iraq, with the hope perhaps “that this one would clinch the victory”.

President Bush apparently lacked the power of letting go; if he had, he would have pulled US troops out of Iraq a long long time ago, and saved countless American lives and dollars.

The end result was a defeated retreat from the country when President Barrack Obama took office after him.

My article on the “power of letting go” contrasts sharply with my other article on “never giving up”. On one hand we should have the power of letting go of things which we are emotionally attached to but are keeping us from taking advantage of much greater opportunities. But on the other hand, I wrote in my other article that when our cause is right, and God is on our side, we should never give up”.

So how do we know when its time to let go and when we should never give up? As I wrote earlier too, there is often a thin line between doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing. And as I explained in my article “the thin line”, the only way to determine which path is right in our lives is to ask God for wisdom and implore Him to direct our paths: He certainly knows the way!

Related: Ask of God who is a free giver of all good things.

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