Letting go of “things” is always tricky. Letting go of your first love can be painful. Letting go of your first car can be either sad or exciting. Letting go of a childhood toy is sometimes difficult. As a kid, I have no clue why, I loved blue bears. Yep, bears that were blue. And for some strange reason, I still have like three in a box somewhere. OK, maybe they’re in plain sight in my closet.
As humans, sometimes we become so attached to something that letting go is not an option. When I was younger, my main goal was to make it to the Winter Olympics and I was training to do just that. It was the biggest dream that I had: race in the Olympics and win a medal. Unfortunately, the step before the Olympic Team was the USSA Team (United States Skiing Association).
Unfortunately, at the time, the USSA Team cost a lot of money, and amateurs were not yet allowed to have sponsors. You had to pay your own way. And back then, not a lot of people in Lake Tahoe had a ton of money to spend. But a couple of families did, and those kids made the team. And one of them went on to the Olympics.
I remember watching that year and being so destroyed from not being able to be there. And watching skiers that I knew I could beat be there because they had the money that I didn’t.
I stopped skiing all together. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. For the next decade, yes I said DECADE, I couldn’t watch the Winter Olympics. Every time they rolled around, I conveniently found something else to do. The pain was just too much to handle.
Then one day, out of nowhere, our youth group at church decided to go on a ski trip. I was one of the leaders, so naturally I had to go. We went to a ski hill in Indiana. Now, I was still new to the South, but I was pretty sure there weren’t any ski hills in Indiana. I was wrong. We headed to Paoli Peaks, which has a vertical drop equal to my driveway, and happens to be in the middle of what seemed like hayfields.
But hey, there we were. For the first time in a decade, I was skiing. Well, I would stand at the top of the hill and my ski tips were already at the bottom, sooooo. Somewhere in that day of teaching Tennessee kids how to ski, I remembered something … skiing. I really missed skiing! In fact, I wanted to be crashing gates right then!
What happened? Why did it take me so long to get back on the slopes …. or… plains as it were? The truth? I allowed the pain of the past to keep me from enjoying my future.
I believe it was the next year that I was back on the slopes. Not only was I skiing, but I picked a place that had racing available, where you compared your times to Olympic skiers. Bronze, silver, and gold were given out for great runs. They handed out platinum if you were close to the Olympic skier’s time that was set at the beginning of the year.
Within four runs, I had a gold. Later that afternoon, I had the platinum. I was on cloud nine!!! It felt like I was a kid all over again. Why did I allow that stupid pain to keep me from experiencing this awesome excitement? What a dork I was!!
From that moment on, I’ve tried to find the things that are holding me back and incinerate them when possible. With some, I’ve done really well. Others? Ugh!!! Not so much. But I can honestly tell you that when I have succeeded at letting go, my life is considerably better for it.
Question: How has letting go, or not letting go, affected your life?
66 thoughts on “The Importance Of Letting Go”
Thank you Chris LoCurto. I really needed this story this morning.
Absolutely Jim!! I’m glad to hear it!!
First off, this was a great story and post! Second, I will raid your closets in search of those bears.
I’m laughing out loud!!!!
Chris – I would keep my eye out for Joel – he wants to see those bears!
Where there are bears, there’s usually honey. Nuff said.
And salmon. Well….in areas…that have salmon….and bears are there too.
That’s a different scratch ‘n sniff book.
Here’s what you can get Chris for his birthday
HA! I’ve been there! Definitely needs a big pot of honey. Great smackerel!
SWEET!!! Will it fit in my closet?!?!
Now you know where you can go get your pic taken next time you’re in Denver 🙂
I have a thing for teddy bears:), and have tons of pictures of this particular bear. When i saw it on a recent visit to Denver, i thought it was the cutest thing, i have ever seen.
Don’t know if this counts, but i just gave away my first teddy bear. It was one of the first things i bought when i moved to this country, since i’d always wanted one growing up, and always had a tough time letting go of it:). Now it’s gone, it’s one less thing to worry about in the toys department.
I am lamenting for you right now. 🙂
Hmm, Things that have held me back? When I was a kid I was in extra reading classes because of some difficulties I had (I was more of a math guy). Just being in those classes I felt I was not a good reader. My confidence was nonexistent; I hated reading. If it had to be in front of a group, forget it, I think I just lost my voice. For years I just couldn’t find a book that interested me, I also didn’t look very hard. I carried that with me until I was 32 when I finally was given a book where the story was extremely descriptive of an area in Minnesota I have been camping many times. I could see exactly what the author was describing, who knew that a book could do that (obviously not the guy that has never read a book)? Now reading is all I do, I can’t even count how many books I have read in the last 3 years. I am so much better because of this both personally and professionally. It seems out of character for me to also have an interest in writing all of a sudden. If I had only started reading when I was five years old like everyone else.
How crazy is that Troy?! Why do we do that to ourselves?!
I enjoyed this story. It’s so true, we often hold ourselves back don’t we? One of the companies where we work seems to get audits every month or two. Internally and externally.
The people that work there are experts at providing the information they need to provide, when they need to provide it. The auditor says jump, and these guys ask ‘how high would you like that?’
It must be a pain in the butt to have to be constantly under the microscope – but these guys rock at it.
I bet if I started auditing myself – asking myself why I do or don’t do things, looking for areas where I am holding myself back, I will get better at noticing and burning them out.
Thanks for the challenge! You will have a great day today!
Thanks Aaron! It has been a great day. 🙂
What a great story! How cool is it that you were a incredible skier!!!
I retired from Olympic Style weightlighting after competing for 10 years. For a kid who was a “natural” athlete, I did pretty well as I competed in 8 national championships, held numerous state records, and competed in 2 Olympic Festivals. It was a blast, however, when it was done it was done. I let go intentionally and it felt great as I gave it my best and got out when it stopped being fun. I “wandered” for a few months after looking for a new passion and stumbled across a women’s professional football league that was starting out. Not knowing anything about football, I decided to train and had fun having my husband train me. Long story short, I had a blast and was excited to have been named on the team. Lo and behold, God had other plans. I became pregnant. I was in denial about the whole becoming a mom thing and continued to train. I didn’t want to let go. In fact, the night before I had our daughter I was doing squats in the gym with 110kg (242 pds).
After our daughter was born, I couldn’t believe I had been that dumb to want some sport over being a mom. Becoming a mom has been my favorite thing in the world. We went on to have 3 more kids. I found that being a mom doesn’t prevent me from doing extraordinary things either…it just makes it so time management and creative ways to include my family are found. That has been a much richer experience that doing it alone.
Live Beyond Awesome!
What a story, Jen! God does have a way of changing our plans – but sounds like His plan for your life has been remarkable.
Louise, thank you for the kind note!! I love your post below. It is funny how we think we know best sometimes isn’t it! Ha! God is pretty awesome at how patient he is with us.
Jen, that’s an incredible story!!! You know what it’s like being that wired up to win at that level. It’s so difficult to let that go.
But now you know what it’s like to win as a mom. I imagine that’s even better. 🙂
oh thanks Chris! Yes, it can be very hard to let go of things including when we think we are losing our “identity”. Sometimes our identify is found when we let go.
On another note, although I don’t post very often Chris, I want to let you know how much I enjoy your blog and podcast. Dan Miller had mentioned your podcast a few weeks ago and I have been listening ever since.
Live Beyond Awesome.
That means a ton to me Jen!!
Hi Chris! What a coinincidence. I just now started reading a book “Let go” by Shiela Walsh. Really medidating on those topics as I read through the book.
Too cool! Let us know how it is.
Subject: [closblog] Re: The Importance Of Letting Go
Stories about letting go? How much time do you have? 🙂 I loved that your story has a happy ending. I like doing things well, no, I like things to be PERFECT! (I’m a high S-C in the DISC profile, if you haven’t figured that out by now). This means there are MANY reasons I will hold back.
A huge life breakthrough was when I decided to leave my country, my family and pretty much life as I knew it and move to the US to get married. I had to let go of my “picture” of what marriage and parenting looked like and take a huge leap of faith.
We prayed about it like crazy and asked God to put obstacles in the way if this was not what we were supposed to do. We planned a wedding in four months (and under 4.000 dollars too!) and things could’ve not gone better.
I still have a hard time letting go. I’m VERY cautious about many things and come up with 1000 reasons not to do something. But hey, since I got married, I have flown an airplane (twice!), snorkeled in Hawaii (and I can’t swim), crossed the border to Canada just to eat ribs at Tony Roma’s and have experienced the miracle of giving birth to two amazing little kids. It doesn’t get any better than that! I have to keep reminding myself of this next time I say “But… I can’t do [X] because…”
I also recommend listening to Michael Hyatt’s latest podcast episode: Seven Steps to Thinking Bigger. Good stuff!
Girl, I would say you’ve been pretty successful at letting go! Way to go you!!
Lily – you are amazing. I think of the things that I have had to let go of – but not my country and way of life. What a COUREGEOUS woman you are!
Wow! Quite an inspiring list from someone who thinks they have trouble letting go! What amazing challenges you have taken on!
What would REALLY have been amazing was if you had given birth while flying the plane into Canada for Tona Roma’s ribs! lol
I actually did almost fly into Canada, thankfully I wasn’t giving birth at the time 🙂
Lily- I can identify with a lot of this, and can totally understand what you mean, but only by doing what you’ve done, can you experience a different life, and even better enjoy it more.
I’ll give you one more challenge, you’ll have to learn how to swim:). I did it a couple years ago, and with the little ones, it’s probably one of the best ways to spend time them.
Great Post Chris. It gives food for thought on reflecting on past wounds. Through Jesus’ strength, I am able to face those issues now and learn from mistakes. Thanks for sharing your story.
My pleasure Daniel! I have a lot of those past wounds that I need to let heal myself!
Great, great, great stuff Chris. I was talking with a friend of mine this morning about some similar things. I was sharing with him some of my past trials and wounds – things I have not thought about in years. The emotions and feelings from those times immediately came back to me (guess I still need some healing there as well). But as we talked we also shared with each other about how hope was restored how vision was restored and in many cases how direction for our life was restored as a result of the pain.
Oh, great stuff Chris!!
The crazy thing is, I know the wounds can heel, but the scars remain. I have to reming myself not to rip open the scare again. Leave it alone and learn from it.
The crazy thing is, I know the wounds can heel, but the scars remain. I have to reming myself not to rip open the scare again. Leave it alone and learn from it.
There was a dream I had once – and I thought if that dream did not come true, then I could not be truly happy. I prayed and fasted – and then fasted and prayed. I just KNEW that God would answer my prayers – it just HAD to be HIS will….. One night, God spoke so loudly to me through the following scriptures and almost immediately I had a peace even though I knew that this particular prayer would not be answered – at least the way I wanted it to. It wasn’t going to happen – but God’s Grace was suffcient for me. The scriptures were from 2 Corinthians 12:
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
GAH!!!!! Solid Louise!!!!
And thank you for sharing this story, Chris. It is a powerful testimony and I think will touch many lives.
I hope so.
Reflecting now (as a well-written blog post will make its reader do), I realize that my greatest moments of personal and professional growth have been after I have let something go. I’m a professional musician, and, for the longest time, I despised any music that wasn’t either country or western. Since I was living in Texas and playing in honky-tonks, I could afford this closed-minded mentality, but my playing stagnated. When I finally opened my mind to some classic rock, reggae, blues, modern rock, funk, etc, it reinvigorated my playing.
At that point, I was being asked to play a lot of jazz, and I had a real problem with it (not to get too technical, but for a young musician used to the chordal and form structure of country and rock, jazz is a different animal). For the longest time, I hated jazz, and I could give you ten solid reasons why I thought it was an inferior art form. When I finally let go of that hatred, I found that playing jazz gave me something new to practice and that it really tied together a lot of loose ends in my other playing styles.
Holding on to anger, hurt, or hatred is not painless and not without consequences, but it often seems easier than the alternative. As DR said, “It’s like a little 2-year-old sitting in a dirty diaper, saying, ‘Yeah, it smells bad and it’s disgusting, but it’s MINE!’.” The hardest part of letting go is wondering what will fill that void created when you pour out whatever is in there.
Was the last sentence tagging onto what DR said? Lol
Chris, you clearly have a need for speed!
I’ve let go of my desire to travel. In spite of letting go, the Lord has provided some unexpected opportunities in the past several years. It is my hope to remain thankful for those chances and not just crave more. I am continually seeking (and finding) contentment in my circumstances.
I DO have a need for speed!!! It never goes away.
I know what you mean. It’s easy to look around at unfortunate circumstances that kept us from achieving our dreams. But you never know when that’s God putting a better dream in front of you. It may just take us time before we realize it 🙂
I believe when dreams still linger in our heart, we didn’t let go of them so much as we simply put them out of reach. Imagine this: Think of something in the past that made you happy and fulfilled – something you no longer do because of (fill in the reason). Now visualize seeing that “something” sitting on a shelf above you and it’s just out of reach. And no matter how hard you reach, it’s just too high. And you’re frustrated because at one time you could sit this something on that same shelf and easily reach it, enjoy it and place it back whenever you would like. This something made you happy, fulfilled and was a consistent part of your life. And it’s not that this something has been misplaced or lost. You never said goodbye to it like a good friend who moved from the neighborhood. You never grieved for it like a childhood pet that passed on. There has never been any closure! It’s right there above you and just out of reach!!! All you can do is stand there and look at it! And while staring at it, you may even use terms like “I remember when…” or statements that begin with, “I regret I didn’t…” or “If I were given the chance to…” or “Why didn’t I…”
Can you feel how frustrating it is??? It is right above you and you can’t reach it!!!
And then you realize the reason it’s out of reach. You’re standing in a hole. And it’s a hole you’ve dug one thought at a time – thoughts centered on self-defeat, resentment and regret. Thoughts that became the shovel you used to dig the hole you’re in.
Now imagine how it would feel to step out of the hole, reach up, and reacquaint yourself with something that was once part of your happiness.
Probably feels like be awarded a gold and platinum medal a decade later… 😉
Dang brother! Solid solid stuff!!!
Just a few months ago I had to let go of my music Production business called Armory Beats Production. I had been doing hip-hop and R&B production for myself and other Christians artists for free since 2007 to meet a need, but as other Christian hip-hop producers started popping up they were getting all the business. My beats were just as good as theirs but I was not trying to compete with my brothers, plus I was a Christian hip-hop artist, pastor, and leadership training at the time. Those other things took up my time and eventually I had to let my beat business go and start outsourcing for producing of my next three music albums rather than produce all the music myself. It was HARD, because the Lord had blessed me with the ability to create the type of beats that I wanted for my original sound. It was hard to find good Christian producers back then so God answered my own prayers by getting me equipment to do it myself for free. So I played with the stuff with no training and master it! Everybody was loving the beats, but as leading a ministry, a church, and record label (along with blogging and writing e-books) became more for my focus, I could no longer find the time to make beats or market my business. So I had to shut down all my producer websites. I wasted a good amount of money from paying for websites and domain names, etc. I cut it loose before I could lose any more money and moved over into what I am doing now. It was HARD!
Love your story! I was getting a little teary eyed myself!
It is hard!! Especially when you know God has blessed you with talent and passion like He did yourself.
The great thing is, you’re changing lives either way!!
I know! I had to do one of those “greater good” mental scales kind of things and the latter one by a land slide, though it still bothered me a little bit.
Letting go has affected my life in a positive manner. I just recently stepped down from my coordinator position to take a weekend staff position. It is more money, less stress, more time with my family, and most importantly, less travel.
With 120 mile round trip to work each day, I will now be able to “camp out” at my hospital, stay all weekend, and get my whole 40 hours in 2 1/2 days. All while saving over $300/month in gas.
However… letting go of the leader in me is bittersweet. I have made many positive changes, but it’s time to pass the torch.
I’ve started reading “Necessary Endings” by Dr. Henry Cloud. It is the perfect book for my frame of mind right now.
I heard that is so solid!
In my case, it’s letting go of a lot of fears, when it comes to new experiences, especially learning things i never learnt as child. In the last 10 years,
– I have learned how to ride a bike (disappointed they don’t have training wheels for grownups),
-Learnt how to swim (there is a reason, they call it the deep end),
-Tried and gave up skiing (For some reason, the bushes woudl not move)
-Learned to roller blade
-Learned to dance etc.
Through every new experience, i learn a lot about myself, and its just sheer joy to be able to do this things, especially with my kids. I’m also able to encourage others who may be facing the same fears.
What…you can’t ski through bushes? 🙂
Letting Go is having much more importance but not every time we should let the things go as its is very dangerous for others.The previous day i was watching someone who was letting someone go than it is very difficult for him to tackle.
To “let go” does does not mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else. To “let go” is not to cut myself off, it’s realization I can’t control another.
To “let go” is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands. To “let go” is to not try to change or blame another, it’s to make the most of myself.
To “let go” is not to care for, but to care about.
To “let go” is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To “let go” is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
To “let go” is not to be protective, it’s to permit another to face reality.
To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.
To “let go” is not to nag, scold or ague, but instead to search for my own shortcomings and correct them.
To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.
To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
To “let go” is to fear less and love more. ~Author Unknown
Letting go can be hard. Tough. Downright killing to the soul. I believe it is a learning experience to not hold onto things, to not hold back, to have faith and believe! I think for me the process of letting go helps me understand Gods plan for my life and understand me better. Strange how that happens, but I believe we only grow deeper when we prune.
The above poem was given to me in family counseling in 2010 when my brother attempted suicide for the 6th time (my 1st hands on experience). I have gone to this poem many times to reflect on the truth of it. I share, hoping it helps someone else.
I think that’s a post all in itself!
. I am continually trying to look for contentment in my circumstances. it is my hope to become thankful for those chances which has changed me or my life.
Great story. I have a similar one and it is hard to let go and move forward but the longer you wait to let go the harder it is. I am glad you were able to to get back on the slopes.
I, of course, clicked on the link to see the hills with the vertical drop of your driveway…and the 4 posted “rules of the park” caught my eye;
“Paoli Peaks promotes and encourages Smart Style, which is a terrain park specific safety program that you should check out before using terrain parks.”
MAKE A PLAN – Every time you use freestyle terrain, make a plan for each feature you want to use. Your speed, approach and take off will directly affect your maneuver and landing
(I.E.”WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU IS YOUR OWN FAULT”)
LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP – Scope around the jumps first, not over them. Know your landings are clear and clear yourself out of the landing area
(I.E. “WHAT YOU DO TO OTHERS IS YOUR FAULT”)
EASY STYLE IT – Start small and work your way up. (Inverted aerials not recommended)
(I.E. “THIS IS INDIANA- NOT ASPEN- YOU ARE NOT THAT GOOD”)
RESPECT GETS RESPECT – From the lift line through the park.
(I.E. “DON’T BE A JERK”)
But, the rest of your story was touching, especially the part about the blue bears.