17 Lessons I Learned About Letting Go {Release 2022}

I thought I might be the last person to get it.

But I’m having to release that delusion. I finally caught COVID-19 for the first time this week, or else it finally caught me.

Hopefully the coronavirus will be gone from my system by the end of the year, which is also when I’m letting go of my One Word for 2022, RELEASE.

I’ll be glad to see COVID go. But frankly, I’m also kinda glad to let go of RELEASE, too (no pun intended). It was a challenge.

But it was also a blessing. (Why does life often, but not always, work that way? sigh)

17 Lessons on Letting Go

Here are 17 things I learned about letting go from my experiences with RELEASE this year.

1. The more you accumulate, the more you have to release.

I’ve piled up a lot of tangible and intangible things in my 60 years. I’ve had to mentally release a lot this year. Some things fully; some just partially. It’s been difficult. But clearing out the clutter (if it’s really clutter) of your life creates more breathing space.

[read more: 12 Things to Let Go This Year]

2. Releasing can be a spiritual discipline.

An intentional release can be spiritual offering. Even when it’s hard, voluntarily releasing something unhealthy is better than having it snatched out of your hand. If you have a choice, give it to God yourself when it’s time to let something go.

3. Practice by releasing small things.

Get in some practice with the easy things. Like a measuring cup. Letting go of unimportant things that no longer belong to you can prepare you for letting go of more important things if they are wreaking havoc in your life.

4. Everyone doesn’t have to understand.

I like being understood. About everything. But it’s impossible. Let go of the fallacy that everyone will understand you. You might find freedom in releasing the need to give lengthy explanations.

[read more: Do You Need to Explain Yourself?]

5. Unrealistic expectations are killers.

It’s normal to hope for things, but it’s unhealthy to cling too tightly to results out of your control. Releasing Plan A expectations leads to a more contented life in the long run.

[read more: 5 Ways to Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations]

6. Protecting your reputation is futile.

You can never fully control what people think about you. It’s safe to let go of their opinions, and live true to your values. It matters more who you really are than who others think you are.

[read more: Stop Protecting Your Reputation]

7. Acceptance is active, not passive.

When you stop fighting against reality, and accept things as they are, maybe they’ll change. Maybe they won’t. But the release will change you, one way or another.

[read more: Can You Let Go of How You Want Life to Be, and Accept Life as It Is?]

8. Holding too tightly causes extra pain.

A death grip can squeeze the life out of you. And is painful in the process. Lose a level of unnecessary suffering by loosening your grip on control.

[read more: Why I Need This Release]

9. Not everything is important.

Don’t take everything so seriously. Not everything matters the same. Sometimes your attitude needs to be, “Oh, well. So what?” Reduce your concern about trivial things as quickly as possible.

[read more: Oh, Well. So What?]

10. Release one thing to receive another.

Letting go of pride, you receive humility. Letting go of the past, you receive the present. Letting go of control, you receive freedom.

11. Fill your calendar with empty spaces.

Find the sweet spot between doing too much and not doing enough. Prioritize empty spaces by releasing superfluous activity. Get comfortable with the discomfort of the unfinished. Let more things go.

[read more: Are You Uncomfortable Filling Your Calendar with Empty Spaces?]

12. You can’t predict the most important happenings.

Some of your “must do’s” won’t be as important at the end of the day as you thought they’d be. Let go of working your schedule exactly as planned. Live with open hands around your tasks.

[more here: What Do You Really Have to Do Today?]

13. You don’t have to know everything before you decide.

Release the expectation of total clarity and full information before you’ll make a decision. Sometimes just go with what you already know. Move forward alongside uncertainty.

[read more: Let Go of This to Make Quicker Decisions]

14. If you don’t save it now, you won’t have to release it later.

Stop saving unneeded things in the first place. Don’t own things you can borrow or do without. End the pileups. Your future self will thank you later.

[read more: If You Don’t Save It Now, You Won’t Have to Release It Later]

15. Let go of always being right.

You naturally see life from your own perspective. But let go of thinking your view is always the right one. Look at what others see, too, and allow their view to expand your own.

[read more: Release Your Perspective as the Only One]

16. Think about your death.

Eventually you’ll have to let go of everything here. Your death is coming. It’s the ultimate letting go. You don’t have to dwell on it, but when you release your denial of death, you open more space for appreciating the life you still have.

[read more: Don’t Look Away. These 5 things will happen to you too.]

17. Sometimes you need to release releasing.

Occasionally you need to let go of finishing even the best goals, like letting go. Maybe you need to hold your blankie tighter today. That’s okay. You can start letting go again tomorrow.

I haven’t mastered these lessons yet. Not by a long shot. And there are lots of things we DON’T have to let go of because they are good, godly things.

So even though I’ll officially let go of RELEASE next week, I hope it won’t let go of me.

Did you choose One Word for 2022? Are you choosing one for 2023? Join our One Word community here for extra tips and accountability.

Join Us for One Word 2023

All my posts on RELEASE are here.

Image - One Word 2022 Release

What did you have to release in 2022? Share your thoughts in the comments about letting go.

sharing at these linkups

23 thoughts on “17 Lessons I Learned About Letting Go {Release 2022}

  1. Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle

    Lisa, this is a post to bookmark and come back to again and again! How I need to be reminded of all these things. Your pithy way of expressing such big and important thoughts is a gift. You don’t ever have to let go of that!

    I am glad that this word proved to be a blessing, although a difficult one. I look forward to next year’s journey.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate these encouraging words, Lory. I’m grateful for the pivotal and encouraging role you played in my journey this year. Thank you for being you and being vulnerable with me when I needed it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Martha. It’s been a challenging year for sure, both with or without the word. But I’m grateful for the blogosphere and friends like you who have given me the space and grace to process some of these thoughts in my head here. Merry Christmas to you, too!

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Love this, Lisa!! I’m glad you are free to RELEASE, RELEASE since that in itself is a RELIEF for you! But you did not release the lessons learned. Bullet-pointing them will lodge them more firmly in your mind. I have not done this for a while, but I used to list the “lowlights” and “highlights” in the last journal of a year. This too is clarifying. I took a moment to read some of your linking articles. I hope to come back to a couple I’ve not time to read now. some I had not seen! This one really resonated with me w/ me in light of my word, FINISH: “Occasionally you need to let go of finishing even the best goals, like letting go.” I am likely “doing” this word again next year, and it will be helpful to determine what God really wants me to finish, and what I need to be finished w/, as in, yes, releasing it and letting it go. And I surely am starting to FINISH w/ the idea of needing to be right, or moreover, letting others know I am. What does that solve? Does it make my life or theirs better?Who died and made me Queen, and frankly, no one cares or wants to hear it. I need to FINISH w/ pontificating. Granted, I do think there are appropriate times to dialogue, to share another view, to respectfully persuade, or speak tenderly into someone’s life. The bible actually tells us to do that. But offering an opinion is not necessary just to hear oneself offer it, and it is the fodder of FB wars. FINISH w/ that, or RELEASE it, as the case may be. Thank you as always for sharing from your heart, AND I AM PRAYING THAT YOU CAN BE FINISHED W/ THIS WRETCHED COVID ONCE AND FOR ALL!
    xo Love,

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love the way you think, Lynn…I feel I get to tag along inside your brain as you type out your words. And it’s a beautiful place inside there! 🙂 You offer such encouragement and grace to me. And good advice too! I’m always listening.

      I’ve felt a little bit better today with Covid so hopefully tomorrow will be better yet. My prayers are with YOU in all the health challenges you have endured for so long now and are currently enduring. I’m so sorry and wish I could just pray them away. Love you, friend!

  3. Lisa Blair

    Release has been such a deep word for you, Lisa. It reminds me of the verse, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24 NASB) We release things to Him or plant them as seeds in the ground – some seeds die, some sprout and are pretty, other seeds sprout, grow and bear much fruit. We release ourselves, others and things to Him and trust Him for the outcome.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      A beautiful verse to mention here, Lisa. Thank you for including John 12:24. It’s a perfect analogy. I pray that the Lord will resurrect the grains of wheat that have fallen into the earth this year into a harvest for another time. Resting in that place of peace.

  4. Trudy

    This is SO good, Lisa. Thank you for all these reflections and lessons of releasing! God has taught you a lot this year through this word. I especially love this encouragement – “Maybe you need to hold your blankie tighter today. That’s okay. You can start letting go again tomorrow.” I just read Author Laura Thomas’ post – https://laurathomasauthor.com/out-of-control-christmas/ – and I thought of you and your word. It was an encouraging message about letting go of everyone and everything:
    “God, I give you everyone.
    God, I give you everything…

    My children, church, challenges
    My family, friends, finances,
    My partner, plans, parents,
    My travels, troubles, temptations,
    My health, hopes… and my heart.
    ♥ Most of all, my heart.”

    Love and blessings of a wonder-filled and peace-filled Christmas, my friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you for sharing Laura’s post. I’ll go read it in full, but for now I love the piece that you’ve shared here. It definitely fits perfectly with my word! May you and your family have a blessed Christmas too, Trudy. Thank you so much for your tender kindness to me during this tough year.

  5. Donna

    Such good lessons from a year of Release, Lisa. My favorite thing to remember about release is, at times we hold too much, and full hands cannot receive any more.
    Often God cannot work in our circumstances because we are holding them too tightly, with an expected outcome in view.
    Plus, less of me, more of Him. The more I release, the more room I have for Him.
    Rejoicing with you as you wrap up your year of Release!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Donna. The Lord could use the rest of my lifetime teaching me lessons about Release. But this is enough for one year. 🙂 Thank you for your gentle guidance and wisdom to help me through it. I know you know where I’m coming from, and I appreciate you.

  6. David

    Dear Lisa, this has been a very wise and heartfelt series of posts, each post a thought nurtured and released. Reviewing these all together, the effect is quite melancholy. I do admire your writing.

    I had a bout of Covid in the spring — like a mild ‘flu with added strange fatigue. I’ll pray yours is mild, and doesn’t marr your Christmas season.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment on this post and other posts throughout the year as well, David. I learn from and value your considered opinions as authentic and wise.

      Covid has been a strange beast so far. The first two days were fairly miserable; the latter two have been a myriad of changing symptoms, but easier. I expect Day 5 to show continued improvement. May you and your family have a meaningful Christmas even amidst the sorrows you also carry from your losses this year. Joy and sadness can coexist in harmony (echoing back to a previous theme of yours and of Brian M’s book).

  7. Lois Flowers

    This is an amazing list, Lisa. I’m struck by the simplicity of certain points, liking “practice by releasing small things.” I think I need to make that my own practice. And the point about death led me to your linked post, which I must have missed before. This point from that post really resonated with me: “By releasing my tight grip on denying death, I open more space for appreciating life.” Wow … that is SO true! It was a joy to be on this One Word journey with you this year. Looking forward to all that next year holds for us too.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t it interesting how sometimes it’s the simple lessons that are the most important. I continue to discover that again and again (especially since I tend to overcomplicate things!). 🙂 It was a true blessing to peek over your shoulder this year with Dawn, and I look forward to doing the same with your word for 2023!

  8. Jean Wise

    What a powerful reflection about your word of the year. Next week is the time I set aside to review the year, my word and pray about 2023. Merry Christmas Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I admire and appreciate the intentionality that you put into listening for your shimmering word, Jean. You choose such interesting words that make me want to trade with you! 🙂

  9. Tea With Jennifer

    I love your following statement Lisa;
    “Letting go of the past, you receive the present. Letting go of control, you receive freedom.” Amen!

    I have found the same!
    Many blessings for you & your family in this coming year,

  10. Paula Short

    You’ve done it again Lisa, what a superb lesson. I saw myself within your list. Bookmarking so I can come back and reference it time and again.
    Thank you for sharing this treasure with Sweet Tea & Friends this month.

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