I think a lot about dreams. Those hopes, plans, ambitions I have for my life, my future, my happiness. I’m probably not alone there. I think most of us have lists in our heads of things we’d like to do or see or have during our time here.
God is likely not going to say yes to a lot of my dreams. For some, it’s simply too late. There isn’t time left in my finite life for some things to happen. Some cost more money than it appears God is going to give me (like my farm. I’ve always wanted one. He has said no for 40+ years, and the bank account and our current incomes say it’s probably not going to happen.) Some require better health than I have. In fact, better health is a dream, and I certainly can’t make chronic illness disappear just by dreaming it.
I read an old article today about King David and how God told him no when he wanted to build a temple. That seems like a pretty selfless dream. And to be told no was a pretty big no. But David let it go. The author of the article said David held things loosely. When his will and God’s didn’t line up, he let it go.
I’ve been thinking about that. What do I hold onto? How loose is my grip? And I realized the things I hold onto the most tightly are things I don’t have. My empty fist is tightly wrapped around dreams and goals that are nothing more than mist. No matter how tightly I squeeze, I can’t hold them. They are things I never had, so there’s nothing even there to cling to.
However, the things I have… I’m not that enamored with what I have. Even things I once held tightly as mist, once they appear in solid form, I release, because the reality never quite meets the fantasy.
I need to switch things around. Well, to a point. I know I don’t need to wrap my fist around anything in this world. If I’m going to cling to anything with white knuckles, it should be the hem of Jesus’ cloak. At his feet I find what I need the most. His words and deeds–that’s where I can be selfish. That’s something I can cling to.
But the rest of it? Yeah, not worth the tight fist. Nothing I have fills the void in my heart that longs for God. Nothing I long for can do it, either. I need to hold loosely.
I’m not good at that. I admit that right now. Right before I sat down to write this I did some work on my kitchen. For over a year it’s been in a state of destruction. The goal is to remodel, but money and other things got in the way. Today I came up with a way to do some work on the cheap. I was excited. And that fist began to tighten. If only, I said to myself. If only I could finish this kitchen… But what comes after that? When I hear my heart saying If Only then alarms go off. If only I get this dream fulfilled, then life will be good. I will be content. I will be happy. It all revolves around one more thing, one thing I don’t have that I really want. Then I can stop wanting.
Right. If my kitchen is finished, it will look better than it does now. That’s it. My life won’t be fixed. My family won’t love me more. Or each other more. Meals won’t taste better. I will have a finished kitchen. That’s not bad. But it certainly won’t improve my life and fix everything broken in my soul. Neither will a beautiful farm or even perfect health. Those things will likely never be mine, and even if they were, I know they won’t satisfy my deepest soul. I need to unclench the empty fist and open the palm to God.
Let Him drop whatever He wants into my hands. Use what He gives me. Treat it with respect and care, thankful for the use of whatever blessings He sends. And then, hands open, I need to let all of it go and wait for Him to drop the next blessing.
Open hands. Much better than fists clenched around mist. And wow, so much easier to write than to do.