Living With Open Hands


I’m not a new year’s resolution type of person because CHOCOLATE.  Also, exercise is icky and gyms are smelly. So no diet or fitness resolutions for me.  I’ve thought about trying the #oneword focus for the new year, but I as a lover of words it has been difficult to settle on just one.  While reflecting on 2018 and considering resolutions and words for 2019, a phrase that settled in my heart last month felt just right for next year.  It is not a new idea, but a new to me way of living.  Live with open hands.

To say I’m a control freak would be a bit of an exaggeration.  Do I like a good list?  Yes.  Do I like a solid plan for the day, week, and month?  You bet.  Does a perfectly folded and organized linen closet soothe my frayed nerves?  So very much. My need for lists and plans is directly linked to my OCD, but they also helped me think I was in control of my life.  2018 showed me how very little I was in control.  What I didn’t plan or anticipate this year:

  • Unemployment
  • Loneliness
  • Collaboration
  • Employment
  • Waiting
  • Waiting
  • Waiting

Any guesses as to which was the most difficult for me?  As a Jesus follower one of the main things is to actually FOLLOW Jesus.  This means tuning into God and following His path for my life. Over the years, God and I have had many discussions about control because apparently I’m a very stubborn and slow learner, but this year He enrolled me in a master class to learn how to release control and wait.  I didn’t catch onto the waiting thing immediately. I flailed about making lists and plans that proved useless.  I ran in this and that direction desperately attempting to solve all the problems and gain control.  I failed over and over, and then I finally surrendered it all to The Guy with the actual plan. 

I was holding so tightly to all my own ideas and plans that without knowing it my hands had seized and closed entirely.  Surrendering is counter-cultural and terrifying for the closed-handed.  As I slowly loosened the stranglehold I had on my life, I became more grateful for what I held in my hands, and excited for what they could hold.  I finally accepted that I’m not the boss of everything and that God can totally have a that gig.  All very logical since He has the actual plan, and trying to manage all those moving parts would be a logistical nightmare for me.  Living with open hands not only provided new and challenging experiences, but it kicked fear to the backseat, and finally all passengers are securely buckled in where they belong.   

This doesn’t mean that I expect my life to be all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.  Living with open hands also means holding difficult, heartbreaking things. I’m starting to think that life is mostly hard with some happy thrown in.  Again, in our pleasure seeking culture this is counter intuitive, but we were never promised a rose garden.  While I’m not keen to revisit any of my painful experiences, they formed me the most and affirmed that I can hold both difficult things and unicorns.

So I guess my new year’s resolution is to continue to live with open hands, and my one word is surrender.  I wish you all good things for 2019.  May you find what you seek, push aside fear, eat all the chocolate and trust that you can hold what is put in your hands.


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