You Don't Have To Hang On; It's OK To Fall

by Rachel Norman October 12, 2022
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 (NIV)

For many years, I operated at the end of my rope. Through international moves, marriage crises, pregnancies, postpartum seasons and normal life, I was nearly always in survival mode.

I’d reach the end of my rope, tie a knot and hang on for dear life. My prayers during the worst of times were usually something like, God, I’m sorry my life is not together! I’ll do better tomorrow — please forgive me!

Some nights, I’d lie in bed with all the ways I’d failed that day running through my head. I wasn’t as present as I wanted to be. I got short with the kids and used a tone that wasn’t great. The house wasn’t quite clean enough, and the dinner I cooked wasn’t quite organic enough, and my pants were a little too tight.

Since I’m a capable person, being at the end of my rope felt like one more problem to solve. I’d do a “brain dump,” make a list, think up 12 different strategies for my three largest problems and start fresh the next day.

And this strategy worked OK … until it didn’t. Until the day I got a devastating health diagnosis that made me physically, mentally and emotionally incapable of hanging on any longer.

I truly reached the end of my rope, and I had no more energy. So I fell. I went into a free fall, which previously would have been my worst nightmare. But what I found in my free fall was a beautiful surrender.

I was so terrified of what my future held but unable to affect any real change with my best efforts and human strength. Because of that, I felt free to release all control. All striving. Instead of hanging on to the end of my rope and telling God all the ways I would become a better person, I surrendered to whatever His plan was. I became poor in spirit and desperate for God’s presence. And because I wasn’t “putting my best foot forward” and avoiding my own reality, I was able to receive His comfort.

Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I love The Message paraphrase of this verse: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

What began as my worst nightmare became the best year of my life. That year I learned to come to God raw and real, without trying to prove my worth to Him. It was then I learned that I didn’t need to hang on for dear life — because I could fall into His comfort, grace and peace.

A free fall was just what I needed to realize that I was never in control anyway and He always was.

God, please help me be authentic and real with You, not hiding how I’m feeling or how bad life truly seems. Help me learn how to receive comfort from You and how to gain strength from You — not myself. Highlight where it’s time for me to let go, Lord, and help me fall into You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


If you’re longing to stop living in a free fall and start learning to rely on the Lord and your own God-given intuition and common sense, check out Rachel Norman’s book If Mama Ain’t Happy: Why Minding Healthy Boundaries Is Good for Your Whole Family.


For more practical and encouraging tips for being a mother in this modern world, check out Rachel’s blog, A Mother Far from Home, and her Uncomplicating Family Life YouTube channel.


Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (NIV)

What’s one area of life you’ve been hanging on in forever, not getting on solid ground but not falling into the Lord?

Name some practical ways you can release your grip on this area and what that would look like. Share with us in the comments!

© 2022 by Rachel Norman. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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