December 8, 2015

What are you holding on to?

Monkey Trap“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV)

Several years ago I heard a story about trapping a monkey. It is very simple. Chop the top off of a coconut creating an opening just large enough for a monkey to get his hand in. Place a treat, something the monkey loves, in the coconut. To grab the treat the monkey makes a fist. When his hand is in a fist, he cannot get his hand out of the coconut. Unless he lets go of whatever he is holding on to, he is trapped by the coconut. Because the monkey is so fixed on holding on to the treat, he usually gets caught.

It is easy to get trapped keeping a grip on those things we believe we need, desire, or deserve. Are the things we are holding on to getting in our way? Are having them really helping move us forward in our lives?

When I first heard this story, the presenter asked a question – what are you holding on to that is holding you back? A single word popped into my head – anger. After spending time reflecting on what I was angry about and why I was holding on to it, I started to release that anger. As I began releasing that anger, towards myself and others, it was like shedding pounds by exercising more and eating healthier. I didn’t realize how much weight I was carrying around with me relating to my anger. I was amazed at how quickly it changed my life.

A big part of this transformation included recognizing aspects of my anger that I was holding on to as right or as a justification for not having to forgive. The more I let go, forgiving myself for being hurt and forgiving those I was angry with, the better I felt about other aspects of my life. It redefined how I looked at things in my life and it helped me discover other smaller, adversarial things I was holding on to, as well.

Every one of us is holding on to something that is trapping us. It could be anger or, it could be fear, worry, how you see yourself, etc. Until you discover what it is and release your grip on it, you will always be stuck; trapped with one hand in a coconut shell, limping along in life, until you let it go.

What are you holding on to that is preventing you from moving forward?

What are you holding on to that is getting in the way of completely submitting your life to His will and His way?


Is your child struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol? Do you find yourself trapped in the emotional rollercoaster of this addiction? Dave Cooke can help you. He’s an internationally recognized speaker who has made it his commitment to minister to parents and family members struggling with addiction in their families. His powerfully insightful, faith based approach to the challenges of addiction have inspired and educated thousands across the country.

Contact Dave today and book him to speak at your church, parent’s group, business organization, or neighborhood association. Go to for more information or email

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.