I'm always intrigued when the Lord brings an international friend across my path with a timely message. This time, my friend Kenny Russell in Israel wrote to let me know a brother in the Lord is visiting Charlotte soon and I would probably want to talk with him on the show.
A few days later I received a copy of his friend's book. "Holding On Loosely", Finding Life in the Beautiful Tension is written by Pablo Giacopelli.
Pablo is a tennis coach. And he shares his personal and professional journey about coming to a place of simply letting God be God.
In the preface Pablo describes the "search of a tennis dream programmed by my father into my mind and into the very core of my being. The mission was simply to make it. "Making it" became an idol in my life. The closer I got to making it, the more the people who mattered to me smiled and loved me. The further I got from making it, the less of their approval I received. As life progressed, I learned very quickly that receiving love and approval was inextricably linked with being successful.
"The years came and went, and I found myself the victim of the very things I had tried to control in my life. Yes, I achieved some success, but it was not the success I was told I had to achieve. Or so I assumed, as I never quite received the approval that confirmed I had reached the goal."
Pablo goes on to describe a path where his relationship with God became one of "entitlement and fictional codependency" . Ultimately, he says "In my desperation I inevitably became a control freak and perfectionist. Outside , I portrayed the image of someone who had it all together, someone who knew God and His grace and love for people. Yet inside I continued to get further and further away from the very thing I claimed to know. My legalistic approach to God and life alienated me from the very love and life I was looking for. I fell into the trap of religion and all it supposedly offered if i could just somehow make the grade. Religion cost me my life, my first marriage and many other close and valuable relationships; it led me to do the very things I condemned others for doing."
But Pablo's story has a happy ending. The trap he fell into of "good intentions and self-help formulas" was interrupted by a loving Father who revealed that "God lives on the road of grace, where behavior and performance take a second seat to life, love and relationship. On this road, we are free to be ourselves. No more manipulations and false pretenses. No more bargaining or forcing. No more religion and rules. Just Life"
You can order "Holding on Loosely" at this link:
Pablo Giacopelli will join us for a OneBody connection event on Sunday September 23rd. You can learn more and RSVP at this Facebook link