January 19, 2021

Laying It Down, In Real Life

“Lay it down.” 

“Let it go.”

“Give it to God.”

What in the world does this look like? 

Because until we stand in the immediate presence of Jesus, we are most definitely in the world, even while we’re not supposed to be of it.

“Lay it down.”

“Let it go.”

“Give it to God.”

We know these are good ideas. We know this is what we should do. We know this is the best way.

But every time I see or hear this advice, I think, “Yes, but HOW??!!”

What does this really mean?

What does it look like in practice?

And also, “just” lay it down? It doesn’t usually feel like “just” to me, because the “it” I’m supposed to be “just” giving to God or laying down or letting go of—my burden or worry or struggle or fear—is almost always connected in some way to some person I love. Someone I very much want to clutch to me.

“Lay it down” is no simple advice to follow because I’m almost never needing to lay down an “it” but a “who.”

The it may be worry or fear or a weight, but my goodness, the who is my child or my husband or my friend or even my own self.

Yet I know it is for the best good of all these “whos” that I do unclench my fists of worry, fear, et al, and lay down, let go, give up to God
Who is infinitely able to bear them for me while He cares about the “whos” behind them. 

But—back to this again—what does this laying, letting, giving look like in real life? Not just as an “amen” to someone’s “let it go” post on social media? Not just as a nod of agreement to a preacher’s “give it to God” in a sermon?

Sometimes, it looks like a symbolic but also literal physical act: in prayer, clenching my fists, holding on...then opening my hands, palms up, and praying, “Here, God. Here it it. Take it.” And turning my open hands over, palms down.

Sometimes, it looks like turning whatever I’m clutching into a sacrificial thank offering. “Sacrificial,” because it will cost me something to give: my comfort, my familiarity with the burden, my feelings. 
“Offering,” because this is what I will present to God. “Thank,” because what I will sacrificially give is my gratitude. I am worried, maybe, about my child. But I am thankful I have her to care about. I am burdened, maybe, by my schedule. But I am thankful I have meaningful work to do. 

Sometimes, it looks like getting control of my thoughts ahead of time. If I’m trying to let go of something, that letting go is going to happen first in my brain. So if (and this is not a very big “if”) I know that something is going to be my first conscious thought in the morning, I can preselect an alternate thought. A thanksgiving, a praise to God, a name of God, a Scripture. I wake up, and the worry or the burden shows up immediately. But I already have its override ready. I plug it in...letting go, laying down, giving up.

Sometimes, it looks like starving the thing. Like not feeding it more time or attention or energy or new information or one more check-in.

Sometimes, it looks like sifting out the lies that are adding the most burdensome weight to whatever I’m carrying and washing them down the drain with the water of truth. What is it about what I’m trying to let go of that, if I’m honest, isn’t true? What’s the counteracting truth? Pour that on. Let the lies go down the drain.

Lay it down.

Let it go.

Give it to God.

These cannot just be nice ideas; they have to be real-life choices. And they will never be one-time acts; they will always be repeat motions. They will be hard. I will have to fight myself.

But I trust, even if only with a mustard-seed’s worth of faith, that if I give up fear, I’ll gain freedom. If I let go of worry, I’ll take hold peace. If I lay down despair, I’ll pick up hope.

It won’t be a “just” job. But the payout might just be nothing less than joy.


  1. Spot on!! You've reminded me giving my "whatever" to God is not giving up or failing but choosing joy and health!!

    1. Lisa, oh how I love that: "not giving up or failing but choosing"! Yes! Thank you so much for this lovely insight!

  2. As I have read in the early part of the OT this year, when I came across the 'wave offerings,' it made me think sometimes we have to lift our hands and offer to God our prayer, life, family, etc. issues. I often pray, "Remember me" as Daniel did, too. Totally agree that it's not a one-time act!

    1. Oh my goodness, I was JUST thinking about Daniel! How his ordinary (e.g., not one-time) practices made extraordinary faith possible! Thank you so much for reinforcing that! I will now be practicing "wave offerings"! :)


I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!