Thursday, July 12, 2012

Open Hand Policy

Meres climbed our stairs yesterday! I guess it has been a long time in coming, but now I've really got to watch her, you know? I guess we will be spending quality time the next few days teaching her how to to the backwards stair descent.
I've got a race on Saturday. July races are always killers. No matter the race time or the duration, it is almost always hot. When I signed us up two weeks ago, only 40 other people were signed up. I am sure there are quite a few more now. Anyway, the smaller numbers could be a good thing or a bad thing. Depending on a lot of things...I could actually place in my category. But, with the smaller numbers, I could also be like 40 out of 40. Embarrassing.=) It is a beautiful but hilly race around a lake. My hope/goal is to do it between 54 and 56 minutes. I think it is possible. Whose law states that what goes up must come down? That is the key to hilly races. Maximize the hills.
It's Thursday! Chores are done for the week. Today we are walking to the library to restock reading material. Burgers are on the menu for dinner. Like I said yesterday, these are my laid back days.
And I am thinking about "Giving up on Good."
I thought you all should know that I am giving up wine coolers.=) They are good! I especially like the lemonades. But, they cause me insomnia, they are extra calories, and my kids don't need to see me drinking all the time. No more six packs. I just don't need to have them in my house.
What is really on my heart today, though is what is involved when you are giving up on good.
I find when I talk about this, or write about it, I often will open my hand. From a closed fist to a splayed hand. Giving up on good is the idea of release. Letting go. Because you can't fill a fisted or full hand. Best can't feasibly join good. It is only after the good is released that the best can be received and grasped.
first professional manicure-ever
I think of running. Posture is everything. Efficiency of movement and energy. The best way to hold your hands when you are running is up near your chest, thumbs to nipples, and slightly curled fingers. People "fist" their hands in intensity and in expending energy. You'd think it would be a good thing. But it is not. In clenching your hands, you are often clenching your jaw also, which is a sign of clenching other muscles. Instead of letting them work for you, you are tense and expending unnecessary energy. You want power and fluidity of movement. You need to let go.
Or how about all those buns of steel workouts. They are great for most everything-but childbirth. During child birth you don't want your glutes clenched so tight you could hold a penny. You are trying to release a child. (albeit, it isn't as easy as that sounds)
So, here's what I am thinking. Often I have the ugliest heart. I hate to even 'fess up to this. But my heart can be so full of pride. I am holding tightly to my ministry, my call, my _____. And sometimes God says, "let go."
God calls us to share in His work. But it is still HIS work, and for His glory. Far too often my pride, and my desire gets in the way of God's work. I think if I am not doing everything, if I am sharing the load, I also have to share the recognition. (I told you my heart was ugly.) Or, less ugly, but still not good, is the thought that if I am not controlling the ministry, it might not get done right. It might fall apart.
I have been wrestling with this for a couple months. Mr. Hippie and I were asked to do a VBS. Mr. Hippie was asked to teach all the stories/Bible lessons. I was told I could do anything else...lead the singing, teach the verse-whatever. We agreed to that. Then a couple weeks later we were told that someone else was doing the singing. My first (and continued reaction) was, "what am I going to do then? What a waste of time and effort. There is nothing for me to teach. I'm not doing anything. Why am I even going?" I wanted to be in the spotlight, showcasing my skills. Wow! That looks even uglier all typed out. It's all about me. Holding tightly, grasping. And God says, "let go. It is my work. It is for my glory. And why don't you support and encourage your husband in what he has to do? Why don't you stop complaining?" Hmmm...
Let's rewind a couple weeks, and let me tell you what God can do when we release our agenda. When we open our hands. When we are more interested in His glory, than our ministry.
I had the privilege of working with a team of about 15 girls almost a month ago, running two VBS's. My goal was to train them to lead children's Bible clubs. To organize, run, and teach the whole thing. I had a choice, to let them do what I taught them, or to run it all myself. And God told me, "let go." And I did. I taught the whole thing the first day, so they could see my teaching style, and then I let them adapt what I taught them to fit their own styles and personalities for the remainder of the week. They each got to try new skills, excel at gift strong points, and get their feet wet actually doing the work. I came away each day so blessed to see how God was equipping them, teaching them, and using them for His glory. All things that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't let go. If I had grasped my call. If I had guarded my ministry.
This week I am opening my hands. I am letting go of this next VBS. I am going to let God use me how HE wants-not according to my prescribed boundaries. I am going to open my hands, and let God use others in the avenues He has called them to. I am going to serve with a gracious, humble, (hopefully more beautiful) heart. Open my hands, release my agenda, and leave my hands empty to receive God's best.
And TO GOD be the Glory!

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