As I ran today the sleet and snow were peppering my face reminding me I should have gone with a ball cap instead of the beanie. As I often do I listen to an audio book, podcast, or one of my favorite teachers. Today I was listening to an incredible message by Andy Stanley, and I want to share something that was so good it made me loudly blurt out, “Wow” right around mile four.
First, let me ask you who or what you are holding on to? A job you hate? A relationship that is draining the life out of you? Someone who left you? Regrets? Your past mistakes? A habit?
When we pick something up our hand is tightly gripped around it. If it is something of great value we may grip it with both hands. Regardless, as we hold on to physical objects or figuratively hold on to things in our life…our hands are closed. We grip the past, the job, the ex, the habit, or the regrets and refuse to let them go. And what if (follow me here) what if God is saying, “If you’ll just let go, I have something so much better for you? What you’re holding on to was likely given to you by God, but only for a moment, and it is time to let go.
There are people, incredible people, who God brings into our life, but they were only meant to be there for a couple of chapters. They are not intended to be part of the final scene. And one day, whom God has placed in our hands…He removes. And it is painful, and therefore our hands remain tightly gripped for months or years as we hold on, we hope, we wait, and yet nothing changes.
I once had a job that I hated so much that I would lie in bed at night staring at the ceiling and fight falling asleep. I knew that when I fell asleep it would be the blink of an eye, and I would have to go back into what felt like a prison. I am an educated man with a decent resume, and I did that for quite awhile before saying, “This is not worth it.” People hold on very tightly to a job or career that they literally hate if the money is good.
What about regrets? Do you have a mind that goes in search of mistakes? A beautiful mind, but it seems to enjoy reminding you of your failures?
And then there are habits. We know we need to quit. We know it is causing problems in our relationships and work, but we hold on tight.
If you go to a church on any given Sunday you may see people standing during the music with their arms out stretched. I find it interesting that their hands are never clinched in a fist. Hands are fully open! For me, I always stand with my arms out in front of me with my palms up. Why? Because we are inviting God into our life. At that moment our arms and hands are wide open inviting God directly into our heart and soul. We crave feeling God’s presence and guidance! Our faith is at its peak during those moments, but then we walk out the doors and something changes. Suddenly, our hands are tightly gripped once again. We begin holding on to things God is trying to remove.
In John chapter 3, the followers of John The Baptizer were upset that this guy named JESUS had shown up and was baptizing people. They didn’t understand what was happening and therefore were trying to convince John to do something to stop Jesus from stealing his fame! To simplify it, the followers of John did not like that his fame and following would likely be reduced, because of Jesus. And after they got done with their rant John said this, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.” In other words, John was saying that he had his moment, and now God had a bigger plan. John was not going to hang on to something that God was removing from his life.
We need to realize there are careers, people, wealth, and much more that heaven has put into our hands, but then for whatever reason God says, “Remove them. Remove it. There is a new plan.” I’m not necessarily talking about someone being removed via death. I believe that is another conversation, but there are friends who God hands us. There are those we love deeply that God hands to us. And yet one day God says, “Time to start a new chapter.” If you and I are going to live by faith we have to accept that there are people we have to let go! If God wants them back in your life…they’ll return, but when they are removed…move on!
For those who are holding tightly to something or someone I want to encourage you to begin to live your life with open hands. It may be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done, but my gut tells me God has someone better for you. God wants to hand you someone incredible, but your heart and hands are closed. You are holding onto someone so tightly that you are missing that person standing right in front of you. A person God is saying, “This is the one.”
You are holding onto the security of a job due to the money when God is saying, “Come with me, this is what you were meant to do.” You are holding on to regrets and God is saying, “My grace is sufficient and I need you to move forward. We aren’t done yet. Your past does not define your future.” You are grasping tightly to a habit that is destroying your life, and God says, “I have come that you may live life to the fullest.”
If you and I can begin to live our life with our arms and hands wide open…then we can begin to grab ahold of what God is handing us instead of holding onto what He removed. In other words, we need to get out of God’s way! If what you are holding on to has made you feel small, inferior, embarrassed, or miserable then let go!
When we start holding on to those who leave us then we become clingy. We become small in our minds and likely their’s as well. In your desire to hold on to love you end up feeling broken. And please listen to me, You are not inferior! You are not broken. God has made you whole! You are just holding on to the wrong person. They may be good people. They may be God’s people, but they are no longer your person!
When you hang on to a career that is suffocating you then you are not living life…you are just existing. When you let a habit destroy your life and relationships then you have given up! And never invite someone God has removed from your life back into it.
Now is the time to open up, look up, and live your life with palms up. God wants to hand you more than you ever dreamed.
I love you,
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