A couple of years ago, a dear friend of mine, Anna and I were having a heart-to-heart telephone conversation about life, work, children, work...Yes, we continued to land on WORK.  We are both very passionate women about the calling on our lives and with that being said, I was in a place of struggle because there seemed to be NO work.  I was doing the, “Why not me? Am I supposed to be doing this? Am I too this or not enough of that.”  I don’t know about you, but this negative self talk seemed to be a pattern in my my life and still to this day, it tries to rear it’s ugly head.  I was ready to embark on a journey of releasing the grip.

As my whining continued during the call, Anna, as a loving sister, began to correct me.  She said to me, “Shari, you need to hold everything that the Lord has given you with open hands.  If he wants you to have a new movie, he will provide it.”  If he wants…., kept ringing in my head.  At first, I felt as though she was scolding me and telling me to pull up my “big girl panties and get it together!”  But the reality was that her words were words of wisdom and love, not negativity or scolding.  I had to receive the wisdom spoken to me in love, pray about it and ask God to show me how to OPEN MY HANDS, allowing everything to pass over them like water, not holding anything too tight, but releasing the pressure of my human hands, my grip, allowing the creator of the universe to move over me and my life like the waves of the ocean.

Opening my hands wasn’t as easy as I thought.  I kept thinking to myself, “I hold my hands open.” Truth be told...there was a lot of prying that needed to be done. Literally, one finger at a time.  I kept telling myself, that my work, my dream, my passion, wasn’t the most important thing in my life.  Quickly, it was revealed to me that I had a tight grip on my idol.  Picture the Oscar winner grabbing ahold of the slender gold figurine, latching each finger around its midsection allowing the finger nails to be press back into the palm of one’s hand. That’s tight!

Make a fist, pushing your finger nails into the palm of your hand. It hurts, right? It’s tense, engaging your fingers all the way up your arm to your shoulder and into your neck, then digging the nails causing discomfort as they press in against the soft skin of your palm.  Was I doing this?  Yes, I was.  Do you find yourself doing this as well? Maybe not with a job, but maybe a person, a husband, a child or a friendship.  There is enough tension and discomfort in clenching our fists to recognize that it can cause serious problems mentally, physically and spiritually.

So the Lord took me through three significant steps that I had to work through to begin to release my grip, to open my hands and trust that he would move everything across my hands.

First, I had to steep myself in prayer and quiet time.  This time revealed that I had to study and grow in my understanding of God’s character and identity. Who he said he was and believing that he is faithful, honorable and that he created me in his image….NO JUNK here.  This took time and his gentle reminders that he would fulfill his promises to me.  He took me back to my journaling and written prayers that I have done for years.  Right there in the very pages of my writings, I found his words of encouragement and answered prayers.  Several fingers releasing...

Secondly, he quickly reminded not to rely on man’s praise...So many scripture verses saying this is a no no, and though the text, I kept hearing, “Who do you live for? Who do you work for?”  Then he reminded me of the incredible stories in the Bible of the men and women that lived for him through trials and tribulation walking by faith, not by sight.  I am suppose to live for him, for the one who DIED for me, not someone that might be able to give me a job or to praise my work.  With this, came repentance for looking to man for praise which ultimately leads to empty words, empty promises and an addiction to desiring the praise of others to feel worthy.   Ladies, this will go bad as quickly as the jug of milk in your refrigerator.  A few more fingers released.

Thirdly, I am called to serve him above all other things.  What does that look like?  Well, to me, let other’s see my light shine through my walk, to give of myself to others through serving the least of these, taking my eyes off of me and putting them on God’s kingdom.  Believing that the Lord wants only the best for me. Believing that he is growing me in my walk to walk more upright in HIM.  To be open to what he has for me because it is way BETTER than anything I could imagine.  Be willing to OPEN MY HANDS and let him move over them and throughout my life.

Take Away: Listen to wise counsel, seek the Lord in prayer and fasting and have faith that he will provide everything you need to fulfill your, “for such a time as this!”

Sisters, let’s be women who live with OPEN HANDS!!!

Pray with me:  Dear Lord, thank you for being the Lord of my life.  For providing me with a loving father like you and choosing me as your daughter.  Please Lord, show me how to OPEN MY HANDS to things that I might be holding onto with a tight grip.  Any idols that may be causing me anxiety, depression, frustration or bad self talk towards myself. Remind me that you are faithful and that you have the ultimate plans for my life. Thank you for loving me..in your name.