354 | How to Let Go Part 2

We constantly want it; we crave control while our lives continue to be loud and unaware of the lack of stillness we need in our daily walks.

In the second part of this podcast, Brian and I continue to talk through the ways we can lose our obsession for control and give it back to God.

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How to Let Go continued:

Folks, you’re listening to part 2 of how to let go of control. Now, if you haven’t listened to part 1, you’re going to want to pause and listen to it first. It’s episode 353. There is some powerful stuff in there that I don’t want you to miss. Now I’m excited to share with you the conclusion of this episode. So let’s dive in.

Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.

Relying on God.

All right folks, we are back and we are talking about letting go of control and we’ve hit a lot of stuff, uh, today. And the thing I think I want you, I want to make sure you’re hearing us say is that when we as humans take control, we are limited by our created ability, not creative. We are the created beings. We are limited by our human abilities. We’re limited by, you know, what God gave us as far as taking control of our lives. When we rely on him, we are allowing the power of God to guide and direct us to where He wants us to be.

Our culture is just a graveyard of those ships who were sailing that direction, didn’t get their ship wrecked, and and yet we don’t seem to take clues from that. It’s like we just ignore it. Like it’s just, it’s part of the tour. Well, they never made it. Well I guess I’ll keep trying thinking that we’re going to arrive somewhere and, and yet we miss that whole pilgrimage. We missed that whole journey and we miss being transformed along the way, not by the destination, but by the hard work along the way.

Right. And we keep thinking that, you know, like you say that as we go through that graveyard, well they weren’t good enough or they made a mistake or I’m going to do better than they did. At what? At what if your destination is man’s approval. If your destination is worth from applause. If your destination is the number of likes on your social media page, if your destination is the amount of money in your bank account, the house that you own, the cars that you drive, if your destination is that, then do not be surprised that everything else fails because of your choice of what you want your destination to be. Don’t be surprised that your kids follow after the same stuff and are screwed up. Don’t be surprised that your relationship with God is not that good. Don’t be surprised at you have money, but no friends. Don’t be surprised. I don’t think we’re saying that those things are evil, but when we objectify them as a goal and we place them in a hierarchy or a priority that’s above all else, it is an idol, as the destination. It’s an, it’s something that our heart, it idolizes it warships and it becomes a goal. It becomes a destination again, that we want to have control over, that we get our value and worth from and we’re willing to sacrifice anything or anyone along the way to get there. It’s a poor master and it’s a poor motivation and it doesn’t set us up well to live life well and to run a business well and to lead others well and rightly. And so it’s like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot limping along on this pilgrimage and being forced to complete the journey. But we’re our biggest obstacle, right?

What does stillness look like?

Yes. So, uh, as we talk about this, we’re going to shift into what does it mean or what is it like to be stillness? The things that we’re saying, if you are in control, then the destination will always be your destination. It will not necessarily involve God’s destination for you. Um, I, in my earlier years, the first half of my life, I spent time trying to make my destination happen. For the second half of my life, I’ve been focusing on trying to end up at God’s destination where he wants me to go. And there’s not just one. There’s 700 different stops along the way. Right? When I’m in control, I’m focused on whatever it takes for me to get where I want to be, where God has really shown me and smacked me upside the head sometimes of going, you can have this, I’ll even let you have it, but understand I’ve got something way better over here. If you follow me, it will be so much better. And we talked about this the other day with Steph, our new intern, who we love dearly. Um, the other day when we were talking about how, you know, NT Wright talks about that fogginess. There’s those road signs moving into a fog and you can speak to that much better than I can. But I know when I was in control of my life, the destination was clear. I could see it cause I knew where I was headed and I knew how to get there and I knew the things I had to work on. And if things torpedoed it, then I just figured out how to get back on that path. Interestingly, the moment I heard that it was, I resonated so greatly with that. I, I can see the signs and I’m following the signs, but the destination is foggy.

And you know, I think what we say a lot around here is we were holding things with open hands. Um, you know, the minute we grip on the reins and try to control and manipulate outcomes is a minute that we, we really lose control. We lose objectivity going after that object or that goal. And so I think we’re learning, you know, I forget how many times we counted. Uh, we had this conversation before I left, uh, seven years ago probably. Um, we had this conversation about the book of Proverbs. I think we counted that there were six times in six different ways in Proverbs where it says that there’s many plans in a man’s heart, but the Lord directs his steps. And so what does that say to us? Is planning wrong? Nope. This projecting wrong is having an idea of how he’s designed you and understand yourself and what he’s put you on earth to do wrong.

No, but in doing that and in pleasing him and, and walking out obedience, we hold it with open hands. And allow him to direct us and we have to have these priorities, right? Because at the end of the day, those plans and those projections are poor masters. They’re poor motivations because eventually they’ll lead us to abuse our power, abused money, abused people as means to an end. And so we’re keeping these things with open hands. But somehow we have to detach from that objective or from that object that we’re focused on our object, our object. It has to be Jesus. It has to be him, it has to be the Lord as a Master. And, and so then what becomes our motivation is serving and loving and obedience. And that changes everything. That changes how we treat people, how we steward resources. It affects every sphere of life.

Yeah. I, I think, uh, I’m so glad you brought that up because what I want to make sure people are not hearing because we, God’s a planner. He always has been a planner. He has many plans, he has great plans for us. He is a planner and sometimes you can hear in a, again, in a bad Western Christian message, don’t plan anything. Plan. Have plans. God has, God doesn’t have any problem with you having plans. What he does want you to do is have that openness to when He decides to make you turn right when he decides to make you turn left. And that’s a big piece of that. So stillness. Let’s talk about that cause we’re asking how, how do I mean? Cause we toggle back and forth between these, you know, these opposites, uh, these, these polar opposites, the pendulum goes back and forth. Let go and let God, Oh Jesus, take the wheel. I mean it’s this whole idea of either I’m in control, he’s in control, I’m in control. Okay, well the truth is he is absolutely in control. He is sovereign over all -over you, over me, over the outcomes, over the circumstances, over everything. And so then the better question to ask is, God, what are you doing right now in my sir, my circumstance and my situation? How can I cooperate with you? How can I be obedient? Walk in faith and respond to whatever you’re calling me to right now in this season where I am, but how do we, how can we gain some perspective and gain some clarity over where that is? Like we said at the beginning, if it’s not here or there or we’re somewhere in between, in this nebulous fog, um, how can we gain some clarity? It really has to do with, as you told me today at lunch, shut up and listen.

Shut up and listen, Brian, Brian, shut up and listen because that’s how I lead and I took it so well. Hey, you’re not listening to me. Shut up and listen. Uh, so that’s a joke folks. Uh, so, um, Blaise Pascal has a phenomenal quote that I think, gosh, it was so obviously so relevant in his time, but it just seems ridiculously relevant now.

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”. Yeah. Talk about that.

Well, um, as I’m, as I’m thinking about this, the other day, staff meeting, uh, to bring up Steph again, Steph, if you’re listening to your ears are probably burning. Um, but we, we were kind of going around talking about our bio’s, we’re going to put some new bio’s on the website so we’ll be looking for a new website coming soon. And a couple of the, a couple of those present had put, I, I like to have a cup of coffee and sit in quiet.

Yeah. It’s so funny because one of the things we’re saying is favorite food pairings. You know, because I haven’t heard if we should change that title. I dunno. I think it is great. Yeah. Because you know, I’m a foodie. A lot of us are here, but it’s so funny when you asked the question, the response was not what we would have thought. Two foods. It’s coffee and quiet. Yeah. Steph was coffee and quiet. Uh, Holly was really before my kids wake up. It’s coffee in quiet. Right. Uh, you know, I mean, it’s interesting.

You know, Lynee said something similar about coffee before everybody’s stirring in the house.

Yup. Same thing before the kids get up and get going. It’s just that moment of quiet

that she gets to experience. So it’s so strange because I think at the core, most of us, if we’re honest, value that and coming back to at the beginning,

Psalm 62 let, right the quieter the coffee peace. Well, can I have both? Good. I need both. Let it be both hands.

Let all that I am wait quietly before though. It’s something that we don’t practice often, consistently or well, but we desire. Yeah, it’s a, it’s a huge desire. It’s a huge value I think, but somehow it doesn’t translate to the culture we live in, which is snooze, snooze, snooze. Okay. Third time I guess I’ll get up and I’m in the rat race and I’m running throughout my day. I’m not quiet, I’m not listening. I’m not still, how are we shooting ourselves in the foot to run the race we’re on?

The Negative Tape.

Yeah. And let me kind of speak into this a little bit because this has happened so many times. We just had a client come who I love dearly that uh, it, w I got to speak into this as well, but this is, I, I don’t know how many clients that I’ve kind of pushed into this area on where they can’t be with their own thoughts being the, the concept of being silent is horrid because there is such negative self talk in there and so therefore it’s snooze, snooze, snooze radio or TV or some noise, something to fill the void. So I don’t think, and then let me be distracted all day long so I don’t have to be stuck with my own thoughts because-we run an escape. But something I’ve heard you say in, in rare moments of vulnerability now, something you’ve said, um, you know, you find yourself in a situation and there’s a tape that automatically plays. And so your battle, your struggle is to hit the stop button on that negative tape and to replace it, not to run from it. Nope. Not to try to escape or just, uh, you know, mask over it with static and noise, but to replace it. Okay, where’s truth here? And let me bring to bear the truth and objectivity to the situation so that I can’t, not to gain control, but so that I can think clearly understand and move forward because those other things are so paralyzing that no negative lives lies, are so paralyzing that that we, we try to avoid those moments of quietness because that’s all we’re going to hear and we’re just going to feel stuck.

Yeah, we, we did the episode on the lies and the truths and what people get stuck so badly with is that tape plays. And so a lot of times what I’ll just do is I’ll stop somebody in the moment and I’ll just ask to ask a question. Hey, what’s the lie you’re telling yourself right now? And every time they kind of drop their head a little bit and just, you know, then the head bobs a little bit in a, yep, I am. And then out comes the lie. The thing is, is that until we stop that tape, if we avoid the tape, we don’t actually solve it. Right? And so being still in listening to God is virtually impossible. How are we going to hear God when we can’t even hear our own thoughts? Right? And so many times when I’ve heard God, it’s been literally being still in silent and you know, being able to hear him speak into my life, being able to hear that voice is the key. Being able to, to be silent and listen and experience God and wait for him. You know, Psalm 62:5 is something I’ve held onto for decades because I realized in the first half of my life I didn’t, I just didn’t do it. I was always looking for the next thing. And so it’s been a powerful peace for me to spend time in prayer, spend time in silence and listen, uh, you know, for that, that voice and getting rid of the distractions,

right? Some people are afraid of that. I mean, I know there, there’ve been times in my life with sitting quietly in a room alone is uh, as Pascal puts it is a little bit of a scary thought because of what we know we’re going to be plagued with sense of loneliness, isolation, all these negative tapes that are playing and just sequentially in a series and, and going through and having to stop that and stop. I mean, it’s a lot of work and we, we avoid that because we feel plagued by that negativity. And so I think that’s a great first step is identifying the things that are distractions and, and having to begin to maybe systematically block those things out. Maybe I need to get up a little bit earlier before everyone is busy. Maybe I need to take away those distractions, whether it’s the, you know, the radio or, or people talking and I can come back to terms with, okay, where am I in this?

And, and I, I think it’s wonderful, uh, at, at times you hear nothing. And other times it feels like truth or God’s voice or a scripture or thoughts that you’ve been trying to avoid, but you know are true about you or your situation. Um, they’re ready and waiting at the door. But because we filled up the room with every other thing, there’s been no room for it. So this isn’t, this isn’t a complete process here, but this is a first step along the way. Identifying distractions, blocking those things out. Eventually we get to a place like Pascal was pointing to, I wonder what can be done in a room like this. Yeah, yeah.

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That still small voice

I think, you know, as we’re talking about this, I go back and we’ve had this conversation recently a couple of times of um, Elijah who was so obedient to God and so focused on doing what God was telling him to do. And just, you know, when all of Israel is just going against God and focusing, you know, we’ve got King of Sa with Jezebel and all the crap that’s happening and you know, here is Elijah who calls down this fire, you know, goes and kills the prophets of Baal.

I believe it was Baal. Uh, the two different profits he kills. He didn’t kill the other ones cause they decided not to show up, which was hilarious. Then, you know, discovers that Jezebel wants to kill him and he’s like, that’s it. I’m done. I’m done. Screw it. God, I’m done. There’s nobody else. It’s just me. God sends him out into the world and is this loving God, this God that so many people are afraid of, this God who people say is just a horrible God. This loving God sends him out into the wilderness and just puts them to sleep, go to sleep.

Not what he would have thought is the most productive thing. It’s not as, it’s not going to produce the results. It’s not, you know, he’s so tethered to the objective and you know, driving forward and God does the exact opposite of what he thinks would be the most helpful, productive thing in the situation.

Yeah. And then he wakes him up and he feeds him. He delivers food. Thank you. Kind of, you know, the Uber eats to Elijah out the wilderness. Uh, and by the way, for those of you that have never been to Israel, out in the wilderness has out in the middle of just nowhere. It’s this. You know, desert type place. Um, I, I had the opportunity to be out there not far from where Elijah would have been, and it was phenomenal to think of. There’s nothing going. There’s nothing. And God puts him back to sleep, wakes him up, feeds him again, eventually sends him to Mount Sinai as he’s standing in the cleft of the rock. He, you know, there’s this lightning, there’s this thunder, there’s this earthquake, there’s all this crap going on. You know, obviously those come from God, but none of that was God speaking. Then the still small voice.

Yeah. And I, I love how scripture just reiterate, but God was not in it, but God was not in it. But God was. And then, and then here’s the stills, the still small voice. And so we come back to Pasca, all of humanity’s problems, stem from man’s and ability to sit quietly in a room alone. What did God have to put the prophet through to get him in a position where he could hear that still small voice

In the midst of chaos in the midst of the biggest fear in his life, in the midst of mass rejection, in the midst of believing that God did not have his best interest at heart. Right? Cause I’m assuming that, that’s my assumption. But if you take a look at it, he probably felt that way.

And how little did he know about his real circumstances? He wasn’t the only prophet and God did have a plan, but he felt like everything was out of control. And so he does what we all try to do, take control and God just removed everything off the table. Nope. You’re not going to do that. Nope. And just drives them out. Restores him, nourishes him back to health and then shows him his plan. Oh yeah.

Just absolutely amazing. All right. So more of this stillness. How do we get to this? Yeah. Yeah.

Right. So some of what I, I’ve taken here recently, um, things that I’ve gone through, going through, uh, been taking from a Ryan Holiday book on stillness is the key. And he tells us a story about an archery master. Um, I, I don’t think I would do his name justice, but his last name, Kenzo. Um, he, he has said to have spent very little time teaching students how to aim and shoot. And that would be the first thing you think an archery master or if you’re at the gun range that you’re going to focus on the target. That is not what he does. And so instead he teaches them the importance of detaching from their objective. And that is so counter intuitive. He wanted them to detach from even the idea of the outcome cause it was more important how they behaved as a, you know, on the, on the range or you know, with the bow and arrow, it’s more important how they behave than what they produce. And I think that’s, that’s what we’ve been saying all along here. And Holiday goes on to mention we live as though getting that arrow in the smallest circle is the, the most and usually the only important thing. Yeah. And if I can’t get it there, it must be my equipment. Right.

And he just flips the, the, the script on that to say that. And this is Kenzo, this, uh, archery master. The hits on the target are only the outward proof and confirmation of what purposelessness and egolessness and self abandonment. And, and so what we’re saying is this detachment from the objective actually brings a sense of clarity where we understand more about who we are, the state we’re in, how we’re behaving, how we’re treating others and those things take on prominence, eh, because they have a higher value than us just reaching an objective and using every means at our disposal to get there. And so, at the end of the day, or at least in this particular passage in the book, he just comes to this place of saying, Hey, look, we need in life to loosen up, become flexible, get to a place where there is nothing in our way, including our own obsession with certain outcomes. And we’ve talked about this a lot. I want everything in me wants to control.

Obsessed with control.

I’m obsessed. I wouldn’t say obsessed. That’s such a, it’s so terrace, a strong word. But seriously though, right? I am obsessed. I mean, if we’re not, if we can’t let our creator take control, it’s because we’re obsessed with having control. Well, I mean, even the way that we have to phrase that,

uh, an assumption that we don’t think that he’s already in control. It’s, it’s this undergirding assumption in everything that we do that I have to give him. Okay. Jesus take the wheel. Yes. What makes you think he hasn’t had it all the time? It was an illusion that you were sitting in his lap, you know, like a little three year old, uh, you know, playing with the wheel, thinking you were driving the car, you weren’t driving the car. And that’s a stark reality. It’s such a bitter pill to swallow. And so, you know, just to wrap this up and bring it back to where we began, you know, we can spend so much time chasing after outcomes. We forget to be led by our values. That’s something we press on here all the time. I know you press into it, at least in me and some of the other team members here with personality because, uh, every personality has its earmarks, characteristics, flaws that are our ways that we try to have leverage or control in a situation. And we have to constantly keep that in check. Yeah.

So what we’re saying is that if you are finding that in life you are needing control. If you are finding that right now you’re struggling with where God has you, if you’re finding that right now it feels senseless. It feels a purposeless ness.

The context I’m coming from, we spend a lot of time waiting post office, two hours bank at least an hour and a half. And in this part of Western Europe, the bureaucracy is a nightmare. Everything is about waiting. It feels so useless. Right?

Yeah. And if we are feeling that the sum of our circumstances is, you know, either not purposeful or ending in the direction that we really believe we want to be in, no matter what we’re still looking at is us, you know, here’s these situations and these are all happening because I’ve made bad decisions or I’ve done made good decisions or, or, or, and we leave out the King of the universe. We leave out that there is a better plan and a better decision by somebody else. And so for me, what I’m saying is, is that it’s okay to be in that place of confusion. It’s okay to be in that place of, you know, being restless. It’s okay to be in that place of even I’m mad at God, I’m upset that I’m here. I’m upset that, I mean I’ve had that you can say that, He can take it. He’s a big guy, he’s a big God. He can take it, he can handle that. He actually knows you’re going to read the Psalms and you will see somebody, a couple of people going through tough times, shaking a fist, giving that out and having those outbursts and then coming back to, but I know you’re in control and if that’s where we end up, have the outburst, have it, say it. Say what you need to say. Get that out. Knowing that at the end of the day you’re, you’re wrestling with your own powerlessness. You’re wrestling with coming to terms with the fact that you and I are not absolutely in control of every little thing. And thank you John Mayer.

Say what you need to say. Right? Is that better? I think it’s made it, I don’t know, but it’s okay to do that. It’s okay to be frustrated. It’s okay to feel as though you are waiting is, doesn’t have purpose. But here’s what we want you to understand. Press in, press into God. Spend way more time in prayer. Discover, listen, take a look at people that have struggled. Take a look at people that have shaken their fist at God. I’ve definitely shaken my fist at God. It’s senseless. He is the one who knows everything and who has, you know, my best interest at heart. We had this discussion yesterday of all the things that people are experiencing in the office that are painful, difficult times, and I’m not going to go through all of them right now, but if you go around the team, almost everybody has some sort of painful, difficult, troubling thing going on.

And yet God continues to send us people here. We continue to help people change their lives. We just had another salvation that came through. I mean, it’s just fantastic. Um, you know, all of the things that are happening when you look around. What I ask for all the pain and suffering, well, I guess I do. I do it all the time. Every time I keep asking Him, grow me closer to you, make me more like Christ. Help me to, you know, be great in the Kingdom of Heaven and not least in the kingdom of heaven. You know, as I asked for those things, suffering comes my way and praise God because I’ve been through enough of it. I stand better. I stand longer. I have learned to sit in the silence. I’ve learned that the pilgrimage, the journey toward God has become way better. Walking in, following the road signs into the fog, then walking directly into the clarity that I know was my own vision that we think we have. Right? Exactly. And while it’s been tougher, the blessings have been immense. Focus on the obedience. What is God asking for? You recognize that God himself says, I want your obedience more than I want your, your sacrifice be obedient. So if you do these things, then letting go of control will just be easy.

I don’t think we can promise that quite up front that we can put that out there. Let’s take that out. Uh, I can tell you it will definitely be worth it here. Here’s what we can say. This is coming from Hebrews chapter 12. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening. Maybe it feels like a season of purposelessness, senselessness, why am I in these circumstances? But recognizing God’s ultimate control over every aspect of our lives and us leaning into Him to hear His voice and be obedient, it’s not always going to feel enjoyable while it’s happening. In fact, it’s painful. But he says afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. He says, make straight paths for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

Powerful. So there you have it, folks. Hopefully this has helped you. Uh, I know it helps us. It’s stuff that we teach all the time. Uh, it’s stuff that we help folks through Next Level Life to get to a better understanding and get to a clear path, to be able to be still, to be able to battle the negative self talk, to be able to let go of the control, to be able to recognize when they’re trying to control people or outcomes and to how to get over that and get rid of that and be able to put healthy decisions in place.

Well, brother, thank you for joining me on the show. This was fantastic. This was really good. Uh, and folks, again, I hope this has helped you today. As always, I want you to take this information, change your leadership, business owners, business leaders, everything we talked about today applies to everything you’re doing every day. Change your leadership, change your business, change your life. And John is on the next steps.