Tag Archives: let go

The Raccoon Trap

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I’ve always heard that the best way to catch a raccoon is to create a trap with a shiny coin dangling, and then put a small hole in the side. A raccoon will reach in, grab the coin, and not be able to get his hand out because it’s in a fist. The simple way to get out is to let go, but the raccoon won’t because he wants the coin too badly. I’ve laughed at how stupid a raccoon must be, but then had to stop when the mirror was turned to me.

Each time I hear the story of the raccoon, I wonder what things I’m holding on to that I need to let go of. There was a young man who approached Jesus in Mark 10, and he asked Him what he needed to do to get eternal life. Jesus rattled off several commandments, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother” (MSG). This got the young man excited because he had kept all of those. Just then, Jesus added one more to the list.

Jesus said, “There’s just one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor.” The young man’s face dropped, and he went away with a heavy heart. Verse 22 says, “He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.” He got caught in the raccoon trap. He was holding on to things God was asking Him to let go of. In the end, he lost it all because he couldn’t let go. Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”

What are you holding on to that God has asked you to let go of? It could be hurt, regret, pain, bitterness, or something physical that you own. Whatever it is, it’s best to let go of it before God pries it out. Don’t let those things trap you and keep you where you are. Release them, no matter how important they may seem. You’ll find that God’s freedom is greater than whatever you’re holding on to. I’ve also learned that I have to let go of things before God can give me new and better things. The choice is ours. What’s it going to be?

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

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Basket Of Burdens


When I go grocery shopping, it’s usually for just a few things so I like to use the hand held baskets. My six year old son likes to accompany me on these trips. He always asks, “Can I carry the basket?” The basket is fine for him to carry until I begin to put things in it. Every item we pick up weighs the basket more. When I see him struggling with the weight of it, I ask for it. He often refuses. He struggles to carry it, but still he insists. Sometimes he ends up pushing it along the floor because he doesn’t want to give it up.

Even though life would be easier for both of us if he let me carry it, he keeps going until he’s wore out. I wonder if that’s how it is between us and God when we carry around burdens. God is asking us to release them to Him, but we keep insisting we can do it. We struggle with the weight of it, but still we push on. God asks us to hand it to Him, but we’d rather struggle pushing it than to hand it off. Life would be easier for both of us if we’d just give it up.

In Psalm 55:22, David wrote, “Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you” (AMPC). Every burden, that’s not from God, that we pick up weighs us down. We know from Matthew 11:30 that the Lord’s burden is light. The burdens He places on our hearts won’t be too heavy for us. He’s even willing to make an exchange with us. He’ll give us His burdens if we will give ours to Him, but that takes us releasing them.

I like the second part of that verse. The word “sustain” means to hold up much like a gable holds up a roof. When we give up our burdens to Him, He holds us up so we don’t cave in. The things we think are keeping us going are the things that are weighing us down. It’s time we heard the Father’s voice and obeyed. Were not strong enough to carry the basket of burdens. Release it to Him and walk in the freedom He offers. He has His hand out waiting for you to hand it to Him.

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Letting Go


Tug of war is a great game we learned to play as kids. You can have one on one tug of war or team versus team. Either way, it’s a battle of strength and will. Each of us has played with that person who just lets go of the rope. Your body was used to keeping the tension by pulling against the weight of the other side, and when they release that tension, you go flying backwards. Now, any time you hold any weight with tension, you’re afraid you’ll fall down if that happens again.

Just like our body gets used to keeping the tension in tug of war, our mind can get used to the tension of carrying a burden. There’s a struggle. There’s tension. There’s the fear of what it’ll do to you if that tension is cut. You don’t feel like you can let go of the burden for fear of flying backwards and being made to look like a fool. Fear keeps you holding on to the weights you should’ve let go of long ago even after God has told you to let go.

You may not know it, but God gave you a promise in Psalm 55:22 about letting go of those burdens. It says, “Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail)” (AMP). If you will release the weight of your burden, He will catch you. He won’t let you fall and look like a fool. His desire is that you let go of that heaviness and hand it over to Him.

Just like in tug of war, it’s a trust exercise. You’re going to have to be the one to let go though. You’re going to have to be the one who releases the tension and says, “God, I’m letting go of this burden. You can have it.” God cares about your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Carrying a burden affects all three. That’s why He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28NLT). You’ll be more productive, happier, and better rested when you let Him do the heavy lifting. 

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The Gift Of Help

One of my first jobs was being a sacker at a grocery store. Back then, the sacker didn’t just put your groceries in bags, they also took your bags to your car and put them in it. Society has gotten away from that in recent years. We have determined we can do it on our own and don’t need the help of someone else. We have self check out lines so we can avoid being helped by the checker and sacker. We do it all ourselves. We take the groceries to the car, load them up, take them home and then try to carry them all in the house in one trip. We load as much as we can on our arms. When so done offers help, we say, “No thanks. I got it.”

Have you ever done that? I think most of us have. Why do we refuse help when we need it? Why do we continually try to do things on our own? We need help from others. In fact, not long after God made Adam, He looked at him and said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper.” God recognized right after He made Adam that we need help. He knew it wasn’t good for us to do things alone. So He created Eve. He gave us the gift of a helper.

I’m the type of person who loves to offer help, but has a hard time accepting it from others. I’m also the guy who uses the self checkout lane and tries to carry every bag in one trip. What I find is that doing things on your own wears you out. It’s tiring. That’s because it goes against the way God made us. He intended for us to have others help us. He intended for us to have others be strong when we are weak. But if we don’t let others know we are struggling while trying to carry all the bags on our arms, how can they know to help?

The bags most of us carry are invisible. We struggle to carry them trying not to let one break. It takes up so much of our energy. It’s ok to get help. It’s ok to see someone struggling and to offer help. In fact, Galatians 6:2 tells us, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” That’s pretty powerful. Carrying someone else’s burden is how we fulfill God’s laws. Eve was made to carry Adam’s burdens. You were made to carry someone else’s. If you were made to carry someone else’s, then you were also made to let someone carry yours. You just have to let go and accept their help.

What all are you holding onto today? What burdens are you carrying that are wearing you out? You weren’t meant to carry them alone, so stop trying. Find someone you can trust and ask them to help you. Ask them to pray with you and for you. Share your burdens. When you do, your load will be lightened and your strength will return. Trust God’s plan that you need help. Don’t be too prideful in thinking you can do it on your own, God has someone waiting to help you carry the load. You just need to accept it and do your part in fulfilling the law of Christ.

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