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God Knows What You Need to Release

God Knows What You Need to Release

I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1–2

We stood as a group of thirteen, with no thoughts of luck on our minds — just yieldedness to the Holy Spirit. He had been working inside our hearts all weekend at Levi Oaks, my newly renovated barn turned ministry space, which just nine months prior had been full of cobwebs, walls of ant families, and stray rusty nails. This was my first gathering there with my ministry team.

We all held different colors of balloons in our hands, a beautiful reminder of the kaleidoscope of our own lives, stories, struggles, and hopes. Tucked inside them were words we had written on white scraps of paper — what we needed to release to God.

As if on cue, the sky started misting, representing our soul’s tears.

I knew from the time I started writing this book I wanted to physically enact what I had been dreaming about, writing about, living — things I, myself, needed to release to God. There is nothing special about the sky or a balloon release, but there is something about tangibles. Stakes in the ground. Stones of remembrance. Symbolism can help solidify things happening inside.

I led us outside, each of us holding our balloons like treasures, taking turns making small talk and looking up at the sky. After a few minutes, it got holy quiet. I don’t remember, but I think I may have said a small prayer.

And then, on three, we let them go.

Up they went — all the beautiful colors carrying our burdens — lifted into the mouth of the blue sky, where kids imagine Jesus’ mansion. Smaller and smaller they became, until they were specks against a cloudy haze.

The sky wouldn’t solve our problems.

The balloon release wasn’t the answer to the burdens, worries, and whys.

But it felt good to remember that God was.

Lift Your Eyes

Around fifty-two times it tells us in Scripture to lift our eyes. Fifty-two.1

I suspect God knew it would be our natural posture in this difficult life, with broken dreams and burdened hearts, to look down instead of looking up.

The beautiful psalm of Ascent, Psalm 121, is perhaps the most famous for its encouragement to us to lift our eyes.

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God.Psalm 121:1–2 MSG

But the interesting context is that like so much of Scripture, it’s much more a realignment from our distractions and misplacements than a sweeping, cinematic love note. My friend, theologian Dr. Joel Muddamalle, explains it like this:

In Psalm 121 the Psalmist says he, “lifts his eyes to the hills” and wonders if his help will come from there. At first, as we read this; we may think that looking to the hills is a good thing, but the psalmist is actually warning us. Often, through Scripture we are told to lift our eyes to the heavens and in doing so be reminded of the greatness and grandeur of God.

In the ancient world the altars of the gods of the pagans were placed on hills and mountain tops. The ancient people believed these hills and mountains were the places where the gods lived. So, when the Psalmist questions if help will come from the hills it is a subtle rebuke of the false gods of the nations. It is also a warning for the people of God not to be lured into the false promises of security, stability, and salvation that the fake gods present.2

Maybe you’ve never before considered the logistics of this. But there is a crucial space between looking down and looking up where the danger of distraction lies. In that space, where hundreds of distractions present themselves, it threatens to pull us away from looking to God, our True Help. That small space. Such a little detail. And yet it is in those in-between places — where we haven’t quite lifted our eyes all the way to God and settled for momentary comforts — that He feels far, silent, and out of touch with our lives.

  • Where are we looking for God?

How have our eyes gotten distracted in finding Him? What do we need to release to His care?

  • The more we resist what we need to release, the more we refuse our own pain relief.

My friend, I know you have been through the wringer. I know that life has been enormously hard on you and it’s hard not to focus on your circumstances. I know you may not feel like lifting your eyes to God. Maybe you feel He isn’t handling things because so far your life says He hasn’t handled them — at least not in the way you prefer. But what if you just don’t know? What if you can’t see because you are looking down instead of up?

The lifting of the eyes command in Scripture had everything to do with the true awareness of who humans were in light of who God was and is. It was never about us. It is never about us. This is why we explore the omniscience of God. This alone gives us relief from the pressure and self-expectation and internal drive to take on responsibilities that were never ours. Aren’t we tired of our temporary solutions?

You don’t need a balloon release to give your worries over to God. You can pray this very simply: God, I release _____ to You. I can’t hold on to it anymore.

And if you aren’t even there yet, here’s an alternative: God, I want to release _____ to You. I can’t hold on to it anymore. Help get me there.

These prayers might seem simple.

But many times, pausing even a minute from our compulsive fixing allows us to in some way begin to see God.

Easy Versus Beautiful

Lisa of 1990, wild and wandering, would have never dreamed of what God knew her life would look like in thirty years. I bet your life isn’t the way you planned, either — in some way, at least.

We don’t know what we don’t know about what God wants to do in our lives and futures, and sometimes, because we are so focused on trying to figure those things out ourselves, we miss the beauty of how He is loving us in the regular moments of our lives, even today.

Our lives aren’t easy, but there’s a difference between easy and beautiful. God knows us so well. And He knows the best places to love us.

How is God loving you these days? How is your not-easy life still beautiful?

We often look for the big ways for God to show up in our lives, but we miss the small ways He is showing up. Sometimes we don’t see God loving us or feel God loving us in these ways because we are distracted. Sometimes we are overworked. Sometimes we are self-focused, overly critical, or bitter. Often we don’t know God is loving us because we don’t notice. The fact is, He knows your heart currency and customizes things in your life accordingly. How incredible is that? The fact that He is making something beautiful out of your life even though it’s not easy?

Only God.

Your God Knows

I hope, wherever you are, this book has taken you closer to your God who knows.

Because if you come closer to Him, you will trust Him more. And that will help you release some things to Him, even today, which will help you feel His love for you.

That’s all this life is, ultimately, you know: Jesus and you in the end. The rest is just holding on to Him while you get there. Five years ago, I wrote down what might happen if I understood and believed in the omniscience of God. Here is what I wrote, in no particular order.

If I really believe God knows...

  • I won’t waste so much mental energy on injustices I can’t make right.
  • I won’t question God endlessly about things I’ll never get answers to.
  • I won’t be angry so often.
  • I won’t keep so many secrets.
  • I won’t overexplain or overapologize to people so much.
  • I will live more of my hopes and dreams without fear they won’t come true.
  • I will be less afraid of the pain I keep inside.
  • I will stop trying to control every aspect of my life.
  • I will not keep looking for relief in all the wrong places.
  • I will stop trying to redo my past.
  • I will feel more peace about my future.

I know what you may be thinking: Can resting in the omniscience of God really do all that? I realize it sounds lofty. But God is big enough. All of these things are by-products of living with the security of fully believing and trusting Him. Leaving our worries and whys with Him is our only true release and permanent relief and comfort.

Life for all of us is difficult, disappointing, and, in many regards, uncertain. But trust me when I tell you that there is so much we simply cannot know or see. Oh, you think you know everything about what’s going on in your life? Not even close, my friend. Only God truly knows where you’re going.

For so much of my life, I’ve just wanted God to do what I want. But I’ve come to realize the parent who really loves you is not the one who fixes things for you. It’s the one who says, “I can fix it for you, but I won’t.” Because that’s the parent who knows true comfort and relief are found in the growth. Sometimes God has fixed things for me. And the times He hasn’t? He’s in some way mended my heart. He’s always offered me Himself.

I’ve learned not to underestimate God’s powerful hand in His quiet and still presence. Just because we cannot see or under- stand does not mean things aren’t being done. One day, it will all be done. Only God knows when. Until then, He will not cease to meet us in our needs.

God is not far, unaware, unfeeling. Every pain, every dream, every injustice, every longing, every secret, every question, and every worry is on His mind.

You, my friend, will never leave His mind.

  1. This search was done in Logos Bible Software in the ESV Bible Translation. Search results can vary based on Bible translation.
  2. Joel Muddamalle, Instagram post, Scripture Walk Through IG: Psalm 121: The unexpected danger of “lifting your eyes,” January 21, 2022,

Excerpted with permission from God Knows by Lisa Whittle, copyright Lisa Whittle.

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Your Turn

Are you looking down right now? What do you need to release to God and entrust to Him and His perfect care? Do you believe that He knows? He loves you. He’s got you. He don’t look away for even one second. Do you know that? ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full