To lay it on the altar.
All of it.
Whatever is troubling you.
Whatever hurts or letdowns you might have from the past.
Whatever ideas you may have had about how life was supposed to go.
Rejections. Disappointments. Bitterness. Brokenness. Failures. Unforgiveness. Unanswered questions.
And with that comes the freedom to embrace the future.
This is truly a difficult thing to do. We think we must protect ourselves; to make sure we never get hurt again. If we stay angry, on guard, we will surely hurt less in the future.
But the opposite is true. By holding on to the pains of the past, we imprison ourselves from the possibilities of the future. Our paths are not yet chosen; there is much to be explored. Hopes. Dreams. Opportunities. Surprises. Unexpected answers. Growth. Healing. Freedom. By letting go, and laying it all at the altar, we are proving to God that we trust Him with our future. Looking back over the many stories in scripture, everyone was required to let go of something when God called.
Peter had to let go of the boat in order to walk on the water.
Jonah had to let go of his plans in order to be rescued from the belly of the fish.
Moses had to let go of his fears in order to become the leader God called him to be.
Paul, who once was Saul, had to let go of his eyesight, briefly, in order to truly see.
The woman at the well had to let go of her search for love and acceptance in all the wrong places, in order to truly find it.
Noah had to let go of his reputation.
Matthew had to let go of his career.
Mary had to let go of her childhood.
Joseph had to let go of his doubts about Mary.
Thomas had to let go of his own explanations.
Even Jesus had to let go of his own will.
He pleaded for God to find another way, but accepted his answer willingly.
Laying it all at the altar is a sign of trust. It's a way of saying, "I am ready to try your way."