Why Letting Go Is the Beginning and Not the End

025: Why Letting Go Is the Beginning and Not the End with Patrick Moore


Shownotes: Episode 025, Interview with Patrick Moore, Senior Pastor at Waynesville UMC, Waynesville, MO

Why Letting Go Is the Beginning and Not the EndImage for Living from God’s Center

God’s Center

  1. A heart. God’s heart center.
  2. Vast spaciousness. An ever-enlarging circle without edges.

Living from God’s Center

With the phrase, “living from God’s center,” God is the subject now, who is searching us out and wooing us and praying through us and connecting with us and loving us. We are the object of God’s passion, not us creating this connection with God. Living from God’s Center is really having the awareness that it is God in Me that brings life, which frees me from having to create this connection with God. I’m able to rest in that truth, to wait on the Lord We’re able to wait because we are already living from God’s center by the fact that God has created us.

The Difference this Understanding Makes in Ministry – Letting Go

The work that has to be done is to dethrone the self. That the center of Patrick’s existence can no longer be his ego and egoic needs. Henri Nouwen talks about the 3 lies around which we center ourselves:

  • I am what I do.
  • I am what I have.
  • I am what others think of me or say that I am.

Those parallel with the temptations of Jesus.

Patrick’s own journey then, is this continued battle or process of recognizing when he is ego-centered and being open to the movement of the Spirit that is trying to dethrone that ego. The practice for him is a contemplative practice, centering prayer.

You will always have thoughts. The point is not to get attached to them—practicing non-attachment. Not getting attached to egoic needs. The point of the practice is in the moment of prayer you’re trying to not get attached to thoughts. The fruit of the practice is experiencing life as Patrick tries not to get attached to the mean things people might say or the disappointment of his own relationship history . . . whatever. We get attached to these things so the goal is letting go of those things and operating out of a deeper level, a deeper identity which is in God not in his own ego.

The Path to Getting There

When Patrick was about to be deployed to Iraq the division chaplain gave them a Thomas Keating book that was about centering prayer. Patrick felt the hunger of moving from words to gateway of this deeper abiding presence of trying to consciously be aware of this deeper presence.

As Patrick began experiencing pastoral dread/anxiety in his ministry, which he wrote about in his dissertation, it was important. Often this dread/anxiety is because we’re operating in environments that are always evaluating us. We live in this performative context re number of attendees, baptism, offering. We’re evaluated by others and self/own ego. We’re rooting our identity in something outside of the truth, a false identity. In the context of trying to work through his experience of pastoral dread that he came back to this contemplative approach of emptying. The whole point is to empty, make space for God’s spaciousness.

3 important aspects

  • God is always relating to us.
  • We are always looking for God in the big, bold and beautiful rather than God is in the midst of our daily grind, in the eyes of our kids, the handshake of an older person. The humiliation during the prayer time is that it is so hard to have a sustained awareness of God’s presence. Thoughts, concerns intrude. That’s okay ‘cause the point is not to not have them but to not be attached to them, letting go of them go.
  • The point of the spiritual journey, of living from God’s center, is learning to relate to God on God’s terms rather than ours. When we are seeking to live and connect with God on God’s terms. It costs us something. We lose control and we have to open ourselves up to this pathway

Advice to Someone Who Desires to live from God’s Center

Why Letting Go Is the Beginning and Not the End

First, begin to take note of when you become triggered or angry or frustrated or scared or disappointed in your practice of ministry. Often it is in that place and situation, presenting issue that causes us to get triggered that we can bump up against some egoic operating and we become aware then . . . I really give too much awareness to how people think of me. Then we are able to offer that back to God.

God only relates to us out of our true self. God doesn’t relate to us out of our false self. The only person God can relate to is who we truly are in Christ. So, you can lay aside that false self knowing that God’s presence has no boundaries so you are returning your senses to return to the truth of who you are. Our own frustrations can be very powerful, serving as a catalyst to help us move then to the sense of living from God’s center. Use the crisis to allow you to bring yourself closer to God’s presence.

A word to someone who has difficulty letting go and says, “I don’t want to die”
The fear or resistance is totally normal because it means that we have to give up the driver’s seat. God is not a mean guy who just wants to cause suffering in your life. God is a God of love so to trust the process that God is somehow a part of it and to believe that this great work that God is doing even in the midst of hurt, pain and suffering, that it’s worth it. God is not doing it to be mean or to cause you some kind of failure in your life . . . The gift you have been given is the opportunity to trust even deeper. To trust that God is a God of love and transformation. Experience your irritation that you have to die or the fear that you have of letting go but know on the other side of it is this God of resurrection, of life, of love and you will be better for it and not worse off.

Recommended Resource

Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer by Richard Rohr

Photo credit Myriams-Fotos / Pixabay.Com

Connect with Dr Smith



About this Podcast

Click here to find out more.

Bible Version

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Music:A True Friend” by Josh Molen

Podcast Guest Resources

Click here to access the resources podcast guests have given to help you live from God’s center.

Scroll to Top