Three Benefits of Letting Go…in My Own Life

I don’t mind hard work. I’m a firstborn with a Type-A personality. A nerd. A rule follower. Give me a “think-and-do” page with lots of blanks to fill in.

The flip side is…sometimes I push too hard. I don’t always trust God. I worry. Think I know what’s best. Try too hard to figure out the future.

Last week, I shared my one word for 2012. Surrender.

Here’s more of the story. I didn’t go down without a fight. It wasn’t pretty. When I got really honest with God and myself, I knelt by my chair and filled pages in my prayer journal. Using a red pen I scrawled in messy handwriting, not caring that I wrote outside the lines.

Snippets from my journal…


I let go.

I surrender.

Forgive me for not putting You first.

For worrying.

For not trusting You.

Will You help me?

What’s happened so far…

1. Rest. The cement boulder of worry lifted from my shoulders. A nap on Sunday. Lots of mental energy and fresh creativity.

2. Gratitude. I drove up the driveway Saturday and noticed my husband and son splitting wood. Before December 28th, I would have zoomed past them and missed the moment. But I had to stop and take a picture! Our yellow Lab Clyde is helping them. 🙂

Thank You, God. A strong husband and son. Wood for the winter.

Later that day I washed my sheets. Hung them out to dry. I remembered watching my grandmother do the same thing so many years ago.

Thank You. The smell of sunshine-y sheets. April in December.

3. Anticipation replaces fear ~  I can’t worry and anticipate good things at the same time.

Life’s too good to miss–especially the little things.

“Be anxious for nothing…” Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

Can anybody relate?

If you picked a word for 2012, how’s it going?




  1. One of my favorite things you’ve written … so many treasures like you drove up the driveway and “noticed”… pausing to give thanks, pausing to capture the moment.
    yes, April in December…

    • I know, Robin! It was amazing–what I SAW when I opened my heart. Thank you, my friend. You’ve been a big part in this. You prompted my One Little Word…and so many other things. I love you.

  2. Beautiful post, Julie. Faith. Trust. Surrender. Those all beckon to me. And I do my very best to feel them and allow them to permeate what I do. I do understand, though, that God wants me to do my best (I know you do too), and that once I do what I can, I leave the rest to Him.

    So that synopsis for a book project? I do my best with completing it and then have faith and trust that the editors and I can work on it together. The problems at work? Do my best to talk calmly about possible resolutions and to share my feelings, then leave the rest to God.

    So if I can have three words it would be: Faith, Trust and Love.

    • Faith, Trust, And Love. Three wonderful words, B.J. Just about says it all. You’ve helped me Surrender. I love what you said…”Leave the rest to Him.”

      Thank you for everything–especially listening and walking this walk with me! I love you.

  3. Mike says:

    Liked: ALL
    Especially, Anticipation replaces fear….
    and Philippians 4:6 ~

  4. Roxann Crane says:

    Your post is inspiring Julie and a true example to live by! I too have chosen “Surrender” as my word for 2012. It made a very strong impact on me when seeing it. Sure hope there’s no rule for choosing the same word… (-: My NYE Face Book post read ” 2012…. here we come, with anticipation.”

    My parents are elderly and live nearly 1,000 miles away. It’s been difficult not being there with them. I think of them constantly. Although my prayers were diligent, I was still left with an unsettled and helpless feeling. This can be very comsuming and effected other areas of my life. The word surreder just seemed to settle into my thoughts and and fit like a glove.

    Thank you Julie!

    • Hey, Roxann! I’m so glad that word SURRENDER grabbed you like it did me. I’m telling you…I just couldn’t put it down. Couldn’t forget about it.

      Love your analogy of how the word fits like a glove. I’m sure it’s tough with your parents being so far away~and I know just what you mean–that unsettled, helpless feeling. Exactly what you mean. For me, no other way but surrender. Over and over. Thanks so much for reading and writing me.

      xoxo xoxo xoxo

  5. Anna Haney says:

    Patience. I don’t mean patience when it comes to waiting in line or getting caught at a red light. I mean patience with other people. I had a moment over Christmas when I realized that I let my impatience with people and their personalities anger me and lose sight of the fact that they are God’s children. I have to be patient

    • Ohhhh, yes, Anna. Patience is an incredible word. For me, I can have it one minute, and then all of a sudden, poof, something happens and I react…rather than respond in love. I love your word! Thanks for reading and writing. Blessings on your 2012 year filled with patience.

  6. Julie Naegele says:

    Thank you again, Julie, for a great post. If I didn’t already have “listen” for my word, I think I would have to share yours.

    Listen – I want to listen for God’s voice, whether it be the voice of God himself or that of a friend through whom He is speaking. It is difficult for me to put all the things going on in my life out of my mind so I can listen. In an Upper Room devotional, someone wrote that it is like being in a swimming pool and stopping so the water is calm. Oh, to be able to feel that calm! I am working at learning to empty my mind of everything but God. How do I do that? It’s funny how, when I read your post and that of the others, in order to listen, there has to be patience, surrender and relaxation to achieve it.

    Bless you, Julie, for your posts. They really do talk to me.

    • Hey, Julie. I love your word, too. Isn’t it beautiful? Just to listen, or have someone really listen to us? I’d gladly share my word with you 🙂 🙂 but sounds like you’re heard from God. I love the swimming pool analogy. Makes perfect sense.

      Thank you for reading and writing today! xoxo

  7. And the word I got was Rest. But not rest as in sit still but as Rest In Him. Much like surrender, Julie. So we may be working on the same thing this year. 🙂

    • Love it, Ane. Yes!! I do think rest surely follows surrender. So glad to be walking this journey with you this year….can’t wait to see where it takes us. So much love!

  8. Marie says:

    Love! I think we are soul sisters. The description of yourself at the beginning of your post describes me to a tee!. Loved your phrase “anticipation replaces fear.” Good words to choose to remember.

    • Hey, Sister Marie! So glad we’re so much alike…and to have someone understand me/us! Yes, that’s what I’m learning….the beauty of anticipation! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Much love to you, my sissy!

  9. Jan says:

    I’m glad I found your blog. Have read so many of your Mom’s Guidepost articles, and found two of her books also–I love her honesty, and her craziness–helps me own my own. We’ve been given words at church the last two years–don’t know if or when it will happen this year as the lady who organized this is ill…so maybe I will hang onto last year’s word awhile longer. It is “delight”(the first one I was given was “evangelism” which I did not delight in and thought it was a mistake–still need to think about that one too–what it really means rather than my immediate reaction to it, which is to run!). Will be content with those two awhile longer I think. Unless another one comes to me–I won’t go looking!

  10. Welcome, Jan! Loved your comment. I’m with you on the “delight” word….smiling. 🙂 So glad you found me. Sometimes, I just blog funny (sometimes deep) conversations with Mother.

    xoxo !!

  11. Like you, I’m trying to let go, make time to rest, put an end to my long, long days. Sunday afternoon I visited an uncle in the hospital instead of working on a blog post. Haven’t caught up yet, but I feel the permission to let go. It feels good. 🙂

  12. Vonda, my friend, we are so alike. Makes me smile that you visited your uncle instead of working, and boy, do I understand the tug of work. Love that freedom that comes with letting go. Thanks for commenting! xoxo

  13. Very nice Julie! Strange how surrender has a connotation of losing something but in reality we catch glimpses of the fullness of life!! Thanks for the reminder of my need for and the blessings of surrendering to Him moment after moment. Bless you and yours!

  14. You’re exactly right, Tom. Well said. We’re the ones gaining–not losing! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. And Happy New Year to you and your family!

  15. Mary says:

    Hi Julie! Long time, no chat! I’ve been busy, but I’ve been trying to keep up with your blog. I have enjoyed your last two posts about ‘a word for the year.’ I’ve actually had a theme for myself some years — last year, it was ‘Fly light’ – and I pictured myself as a bird, flying lightly, without tons of excess baggage. I tried to clear things out of my mind — old habits or hurts that were weighing me down. I also tried to clean things out of my house! Who needs excess junk? It was a good year for Goodwill, LOL!
    This year, my theme is THANKFULNESS! I am focusing on the wonderful gifts that I am given every day: squirrels chasing each other up the tree, a bush in my front yard that tried to send out a bloom or two during the first week in January, the sound of classical music on the radio, the comfort of a warm mug of tea, with a lemon cookie on the side. My phrase is: More purring, less yowling. LOL!

  16. Hey, Mary! So good to “talk” to you! I just added a comment and it vanished. Hope this doesn’t come up twice. 🙂 I so love Fly Light. Perfect!

    Sounds like you and I are on the same spot in our journeys….being thankful watching squirrels.

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Much love to you, my friend.

  17. Julie, I have just found your blog and I have only read a couple of posts so far but can’t wait to read more. My husband and I have been Daily Guideposts readers for almost 20 years and have read your devotionals as well as your mother’s. Anyway, I’ll stop gushing. What I wanted to say is that this is the first year I have chosen a word for the year (I read Debbie Macomber’s article about it in Guideposts). I have chosen the word BALANCE. I seem to go all-out on one thing too hard and too long and find I have neglected lots of other important stuff. “Balance” is written across my brain this year to help me remember to take a break, take a walk, stop the circles in my head, re-focus my attention occasionally. I wish you Godspeed with your word, Surrender. That word, although we weren’t aware of “choosing a word” at the time, was the word that changed our lives 20 years ago. We had made a mess of our lives and knew we could never fix it on our own. We surrendered, in a very positive way, to God, and we absolutely became new. God bless you. I’ll be reading.

  18. Hey, Marcy. So nice to “meet” you. Yay!! You found my blog. Thank you for becoming a new reader and friend.

    I love the word Balance! One I should probably work on too. 🙂

    Thank you again so much for reading and commenting. You made my day.


  1. […] And then I realized I’d abandoned my one word for this year, SURRENDER. […]

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