How ‘release’ is changing me

I began this OneWord journey four months ago. You can read about what I learned in January and February in previous posts.

“You have set my feet in an open place.”

Psalm 31:8

At times, in my life, I feel trapped. Unable to move beyond the boundaries I, or others, have set for me. I want to escape but don’t see a way out. And I don’t always know what it is I’m trying to escape.

But in the months since adopting “release” as my OneWord for the year, I have felt freedom like never before.


“Release” has  become more than a word to me.

It is the words of the psalmist to his Lord, “You have set my feet in an open place.”

An open place where I can run or sit or look up at the sky. Where I can feel the sun on me and see for miles.

This is how I feel four months after hearing God whisper, “Let go” when I needed a word for the year.

It is seemingly small decisions.

Like cleaning out my e-mail inbox so I no longer have 300 unread messages. (Let it go, Lisa. If you didn’t read the blog posts the first time, you aren’t going to read them now.) And unsubscribing to lists I’m no longer interested in. And saying “no” when I can’t do the task someone asks of me.)

How did I not know there was freedom in saying “no”?

It is lines from a poem from a brother in ministry that speaks to my writing and the whole of my life.

What if, writing, I always seem to leave

Some better thing, or better way, behind,

Why should I therefore fret at all, or grieve!

The worse I drop, that I the better find;

The best is only in thy perfect mind.

Fallen threads I will not search for–I will weave.

Who makes the mill-wheel backward strike to grind! – George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul

I will weave. These words embedded in my soul when I read them. I’ll stop looking for something better and I will do the thing I’m called to do.

It is quotes on social media that affirm the power of letting go.

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.”
― C. JoyBell C.


“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
― Ann Landers

It is song lyrics from reluctant prophets like Mumford & Sons, particularly “I Will Wait.”

I’m drawn to these words: “a tethered mind freed from the lies” and “now in some way shake the excess.”

It is this prayer to surrender everything I have to God: “We release from our hands to Yours the things and people we have held too tightly.” (The Power of a Praying Wife devotional by Stormie Omartian).

It is the very difficult decision to let a dream die. To weep and wail and feel your guts being ripped out because you have believed that this thing is the ONLY thing God has for you.

let go

It is choosing to embrace the wilderness because it might actually be where you live.

It is becoming indifferent in a good way. “This is a state of wide-openness to God in which I am free from undue attachment to any particular outcome and I am capable of relinquishing whatever might keep me from choosing for love.” (Sacred Rhythms, Ruth Haley Barton, 119)

It is the peace that settles afterwards. Like dropping a pair of heavy bags you’ve been lugging through life and melting into the couch.


With “release” comes “rest” and “relief.”

And this realization that Jesus meant what he said.

If you lose your life for His sake, you will find it.

By letting go, I have found life.

One word.

It seemed so simple.

I suspect I have much more to learn.