MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION
By Deion Sanders with Tejado W. Hanchell, Ph. D
I know the title of this blog seems like an oxymoron (or like it was written by a moron). It’s OK, trust me, I’ve been called worse. Stay with me for a moment. One of the hardest things in life to do is to let go. Many of us carry around unnecessary weight and needless pain all because we refuse to let go. It’s hard to let go of something that you’ve been holding on to and something that has been holding on to you. It’s hard to let go of the pain and the past…even though it hurts. It’s even harder to let go of the people who hurt us. Sometimes, it hurts more to let go, but if we don’t let go we can never be healed.
Healing begins the moment we decide to let go. Not just when we let go of the person, thing, issue or situation but when we let go of the bitterness and UN-forgiveness attached to them. Un-forgiveness will hold us back like a report card full of F’s, when we should be holding on and moving forward. It’s hard to hold on to the right things when you’re not willing to let go of the wrong things. Church folk always say “Let go and let God”, but I always say, “Let God and let go.” Without God you will never let go of what has comforted you and medicated your pain. (Somebody shout AMEN!)
Letting go is scary because it means you have to deal with the unknown and the uncertain. How will I survive if I’m no longer at this job? What is my life going to look like if I’m no longer in this relationship? How am I supposed to live without this person? Letting go is hard, but sometimes staying put is harder. You can’t move forward unless you’re willing to let go. My pastor, Bishop T. D. Jakes, just wrote a book entitled Let It Go. In it he says, “un-forgiveness unchecked becomes a cancer in our soul.” Forgiveness then, he goes on to say, is a gift that we give to ourselves! We’ve got to let it go! Just like in a relay, you will never win, if you’re not willing to let go of the baton.
Letting go is hard enough, but what’s even harder is HOLDING ON WHILE LETTING GO. Ima say dis real slow…HOLDING ON WHILE LETTING GO. How do you manage to hold things together when you’re letting go of something so familiar at the same time? How do you hold on when your life seems to be falling apart? The reality is that while you are letting go, the only thing you CAN do is hold on. (My grandma just shouted right there…and her wig slipped off to the side!) In fact, sometimes you have to let go just so you can hold on. Perhaps that thing, that person, that job, that dream, that home, that car, that relationship you’re letting go of is the very thing that has been preventing you from holding on. It’s been weighing you down, and you need to let it go. This ain’t the first time you’ve heard this. This is confirmation. But how do you hold on when people are talking, laughing, judging, and hating? Here are a few keys to help you HOLD on, while letting go.
Have someone to talk to.
Letting go can be a lonely road. Make sure you have someone positive to talk to who will listen to you and give you GOD advice. (I left the O out on purpose because GOOD advice ain’t always GOD advice.) Good advice is often based upon the advisor’s trials and tribulations. Have you ever noticed that the person that is advising you is in the same situation that you’re in? That’s their good advice, not God’s advice. You never want to let go of something or someone without WISE counsel. You may even want to have two or three people you talk to that are different places socially, economically, and spiritually than you that can help you navigate the difficult waters of letting go. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said that there is safety in the multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14). As I have dealt with multiple situations in my life where I have had to let go, I have always had positive people I could call on to help me make the right decisions based on where I’m going, not where I am. Make sure you have someone to talk to that’s gonna keep it real with you – regardless of your feelings.
Overcome your fears.
As I said earlier, letting go is scary because it’s unfamiliar and uncertain. It was unfamiliar and uncertain for me to go from Florida State to the New York Yankees, from the New York Yankees to the Atlanta Falcons, from the Atlanta Falcons to the Atlanta Braves, from the Atlanta Braves to the Cincinnati Reds, from the Cincinnati Reds to the San Francisco 49ers, from the San Francisco 49ers to the San Francisco Giants, from the San Francisco Giants to the Dallas Cowboys, from the Dallas Cowboys to the Washington Redskins, from the Washington Redskins to CBS, from CBS to the Baltimore Ravens, from the Baltimore Ravens to the NFL Network, from the NFL Network to the TRUTH organization and Prime Prep Academy, and from Prime Prep Academy to YOU! There was some level of fear in each of those transitions, but if you’re going to hold on while letting go, you need to overcome your fears. Fear will paralyze you and keep you stuck in your predicament. Fear will make you feel like there is no way out or that you can never survive by yourself under these circumstances if you let go. You have to overcome that fear with faith. Faith does not mean that you get rid of your fears; it just means that you make a choice to move forward, despite your fears. You must have faith in God, but you also need to have faith in yourself! I know it may be difficult, but hold on, baby …and let go!
Love yourself more than your situation.
You must refuse to be held hostage by your situation. If it’s a choice between your emotional and spiritual health and them…choose you. Sometimes you’ve got to love yourself enough to leave. The Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That scripture tells me that I’ve got to love myself before I can love anyone else. If you’re in an unhealthy, ungodly, or abusive relationship, it’s time to let go. If you’re in a friendship that’s pulling you back into some old, bad habits, it’s time to let go. You can tell that person, “It’s not that I think I’m BETTER than you, I just know that I’m WORSE with you! I’ve got to let you go.” If you’re on a job that’s paying you just enough to make it back to work, HOLD ON PLAYA, don’t let that job go until you’ve got something else. You know we got bills to pay!
Don’t look back!
Once you let go, you can’t afford to look back. Looking back is too expensive. When you look back, you’re tempted to go back. Once a trapeze artist lets go of one bar, his entire focus is on the next bar because he know that if he’s looking back at the last bar – he’ll miss the next one. Many times we miss what’s next because we’re focusing on what we left. I played for nine professional teams, football and baseball combined, and I never looked back. When God moved me, He moved me on up like George and Weezy! The Apostle Paul says that we have to forget those things that are behind us and reach for the things that are in front of us. We’ve got to let go of our past so that we can hold on to our future.
The amazing thing is that when we let go of the old, our hands are now free to hold on to something new. Trust me, when I tell you this. Something new is coming to you for you to hold on and it feels good and it feels right, but you’ve got to be willing to let go! Let’s do this!
Tejado W. Hanchell