Clenched Fists vs Open Hands

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Letting go of control is hard.

You want your life to go a certain way and you keep trying to do everything you can possible to make it happen. This however can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety in your life.

I think it’s because I’m female that I feel like I need to control things in my life. As women, we sometimes (ok mostly) think that if we had things go our way then everything will run as they should. I know that I tend to let my emotions take control of my actions and reactions, and that in turn causes havoc in my life.

The hardest part of letting go of trying to control everything is basically learning how to trust. For me, that goes back to trusting in God that he can and will handle any situation that I’m finding myself wanting to control. When the anxiety and the stress take over my life, to the point where I’m having panic attacks and freaking out over situations that haven’t and may never happen, then I know that I need to stop.

And the honest truth? It’s hard to not want to control that. When things aren’t going as you originally planned and you’re facing the unexpected unknown, it can get scary. As I’ve said before, I’m not good with not knowing how things are going end up. I want things to go the way I want.

Part of me has always been scared to just let go and let things happen. I have always had this fear that if I didn’t involve myself somehow that nothing would ever get done. For example, one of my biggest fears is that if I wasn’t the one to initiate contact with my friends, that they would never do it themselves and that it was only me that was keeping the friendship going. Soon I realized that if that’s truly the type of person that they are, to quote Incubus, “Goodbye, nice to know you.”

So it has been a bit of a weird day as I continue to write this blog post. I have been struggling for the past couple of days on an issue where I know God has told me to wait and trust him, to let go of the control, and to let him take over. But at the same time, I’ve been wondering if God just wants me to sit there and do nothing. After having a particularly rough night, I woke up the next morning only to have the very first thing I read was my Bible study in the book of James about being in the waiting season and how the growing during the waiting is the hardest part. Because as we’re forced to wait, our grumbling wants to take over.

And then I’ve been like “God, I need to know what to do! Tell me what to do!” as I just sit here twiddling my thumbs. Then this article appears about being active while waiting on God. I realized that God doesn’t want me to just be idle while I wait. If I don’t do anything, how can I grow in trusting God when I just let him do everything for me?

  • “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
  • “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

“Where is the Lord bringing me low today, so that He might lift me up? What am I clenching in my fist that I refuse to see as His? What is it that I long so desperately to build, to control, to call MINE?” (http://shereadstruth.com/2013/09/10/danielday8/)

I was talking with a close friend in the morning and shared that quote, revealing what exactly I’m holding onto in my clenched fist. And how I felt that even though God has made a promise, he still wants me to step out in faith and trust him.  And I can’t do that, until I let go of what is in my clenched fist. Because basically I am putting God in a box, saying to him, “Hey Lord! Sure I trust you! I know that what you said will come true! But you know, I still want things to go a certain way, so I’m going to hold on to some things here, and we’ll just work around it, ok? You still do your thing, but I’m going to keep this in my grasp while you do that.”

Ok you see what’s wrong with that? That’s not how God works at all. You can’t jump off the diving board if you’re still gripping on to the ladder railings. How can you move on and let God work in your life if you won’t let go? So in my own situation, I’m choosing to let go of something I care deeply about. And it’s scary. And I don’t know what’s going to happen. And I’m about to do something, that I never really wanted to do. But I feel that God just wants me to take this next step.  For all I know, many good things could stem from opening this door and I will never look behind me. Or God may just simply want me to open my hands and release all of the control and the things I want the most that I thought never would happen will happen. I don’t know what he has planned next other than I know that he will be with me every step of the way. That’s the beauty and scary part about all this.

As I said, it’s been continuing to be a weird few days. In the afternoon after I had decided how I was going to react to my situation, this article appears on Relevant‘s website about how to “Seek Impact, Not Attention“. In the middle of my freaking out over the way coincidental timing of the post, this part jumped out at me

In life we can live with clenched fists or open hands. A clenched fist signifies a desire to control, a lack of faith and a reluctance to adapt. Open hands signify a servant’s heart, a faith manifested in Holy Spirit promptings, and a persistent asking of “What now, Abba?”

You cannot move beyond the pursuit of getting noticed while living with clenched fists.

Thank you God for answering my prayers by showing me what I needed to read/hear when I asked for wisdom, clarity, and discernment about how to handle what I am going through. Thank you for showing me what you want me to do.  Help me to keep trusting in you and have my faith remain strong in you. And I know what you have promised me and because of that, I will continue to keep obeying you. I know you will never leave me or forsake me. Help me not to be fearful of what is to come.

I’m about to jump off the diving board. I’m letting go of the ladder. My fists are no longer clenched and I’m opening up my hands. I’m letting go and I’m going to let God.

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  • “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel.” (Psalm 73:21-24a)
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2 thoughts on “Clenched Fists vs Open Hands

  1. I love this post. What a tribute to God’s promises that He will take care of you in every and any season! Thank you for continually sharing what God has taught you with readers like us! 🙂

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  2. This is definitely something that is hard for all of us. I almost went into this on my last post (the one about Autumn & being a tree) because you know in order to get from Autumn to Summer, you have to wait for the Winter to run it’s course knowing that in the end the flowers will bloom & our fruit will grow. But it’s all about what we do while we wait that will determine what kind of fruit we produce in the Spring. I love to use the metaphor of the tree & the seasons because I think it makes the waiting periods make so much more sense & become so much more bearable. And we know while we’re waiting that in the end the result will be SO worth it.

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