Open Your Hand

“Hold everything in your hands lightly; otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” My pastor recited Corrie Ten Boom’s words during a sermon one Sunday a few months ago. Oh man, did that hit me hard. Because how often do I hold onto the important things {family, friends, career, health} until my knuckles are white? Even when I tell God that I surrender everything to Him, I often still grasp to just a piece of control over my life. 

You can have most of, God, I say. But I’ll still take care of this area of my life. I’ll still hold tightly to my health. I’ll still hold tightly to my career. I’ll still hold tightly to my relationships. But you can have the rest!

My goodness, God is so patient with me each time I begin to grasp back onto what I have already surrendered to him. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to struggle with the desire for control more. Adulthood has brought with it an understanding of the fragility of life, relationships, and circumstances. So much can change so quickly and it’s all completely out of my control! For someone with my personality, that is a harsh reality to grasp. 

Yet, I’m learning that when I stop trying to be in control, I stop feeling so fearful about my future. I stop feeling anxious about the unknown. I stop trying to change a circumstance that isn’t mine to change. When I say to God, I hold this circumstance with an open hand; It is Yours, I stop worrying about all that could go wrong because the pressure is no longer on me to make it go right. The burden shifts about from my mortal, weak hands and into the all-powerful, strong hands of my Heavenly Father. 

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” He whispers. And slowly, my hand begins to open. The circumstance is still a part of my life; it still rests in my palm. But it is there for the hand of my Father to pick up, to mold, to transform. And as He molds and carries the circumstance, He molds my heart and carries me. 

So my prayer each morning lately has been this: Lord, I hold my {relationship / family / friends / career / health / etc.} with an open hand. It is yours. The surrender of control is not a one-time deal. It is a daily decision. I must choose again and again to open up my hand. I must choose again and again to trust. I must remind myself over and over that my God is faithful.

To be completely honest, right now, this still feels kind of unnatural. It still feels kind of forced to say to God each morning that I’m opening my hand to Him. It still feels forced to repeat His promises to myself throughout the day. But I’m believing that as I consciously make the decision to surrender, it will become less of a forced activity and more of a habit. That the words I’m repeating daily will soon be words forever imprinted on my heart. 

Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. (Psalm 37:5-6 MSG)