Friday, January 4, 2013

Unclenching My Fists

That face speaks all kinds of defiance, frustration and anger.  A word doesn’t even need to be uttered in order for the message to come across loud and clear, “I do not like not getting my way. I don’t want to listen and obey!”  The fists ball up in a last ditch effort to keep hold of something; dignity, control, voice. 

My first thought when I recall this scene is, “oh that three year old of mine. He is a passionate little bugger!  There he goes, making sure he can still exert what little control he has!” 

My mental chiding comes to a halt when I realize I am looking in the mirror and not at a picture of my son with his tousled hair and blue/green eyes.  My eyes drop to the ground at the realization that I am the one whose fists have been balled up for quite a while now. I have defiance written all over my face as I stand before my Heavenly Father, the Creator of the Universe and the God of all. 

I could take you through all of the excuses I have for why I am at this place in life, but they are only that, excuses. Granted, like Little t, they hold weight and I like to camp on them as a way to grasp for straws and make my argument seem right. But when it all comes down to it, I have taken a lot of what isn’t mine: a desire for control, fear and worry about the future, the right to make decisions in my life, justification of selfishness. 

I know in the back of my head that I am better off with God in charge, but my three year old self kicks in and oooohhhhh, it is so hard to let go! 

Because letting go means unclinching my fists. It means giving up what little say I feel I have in things. It means giving up those two or three things that aren’t really productive ways to spend my time, but I really like them. It means stopping to play with my kids instead of working on my agenda and trying to actually get something done for once. It means thinking about others before myself.  It means stepping out in faith when everything in me wants to put on the breaks and sit down and cry.

My society, and my human heart and mind tells me I am entitled to making my own decisions, taking time to myself no matter who needs me then, having hobbies or obsessions that are destructve to living simply and my pocketbook.  It tells me that I deserve a life that is good and rich and easy. It tells me to grab all I can and hold on tight. The more I grab and the harder I clinch, the happier I will be.

And then Jesus comes along and says, ‘let go.” 

He says these crazy, radical things like, “come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” It isn’t about taking time to ourselves. It’s not about what we can pamper ourselves with, or what we can buy that will help us look put together.  It is about coming to Him tired and broken and frail. It’s about leaving it all at the door and letting Him fill us up with the richess of His goodness and mercy.

 I keep thinking about these verses in John 12: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernal of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be. My father will honor the one who serves me.”

I want that, but I don’t.  I know what is in clenched fists…ugly stinky stuff that gets caught and festers.   My baby girl’s fists are just now beginning to unclench and turn human. Before that they were a goldmine of lint and dirt and sweat. And if she got a hold of a piece of naan – there was no way anyone could take it away. She would hang on to that ‘treasure’ for dear life! Mine are the same way. That addiction to bags that doesn’t do anyone any good – it needs to go. The adamance that I must have a say in where we go next and what the future holds must be surrendered for the promise that He will guide in good ways when I trust in Him, even when that means I can’t see what is coming next.  My bad attitude toward my kids when they need something at an inconvienent time - shameful. They are my job afterall. More importantly, I so often lose sight of the blessing they are. 

So, this new year is not full of grand resolutions for me. I kinda hang my head in shame to be honest. I just have to admit that I have been less surrendered to God and His good plan for me that I want to be…than I need to be.  My goal of the year is to unclench my fists. To look Him in the face and have Him wash my hands of the things that have been keeping me from surrendering to Him.  I want to lay it down and walk in His ways no matter what.

I know He leads well. I know His plans are best. I long to let Him lead me in good ways as I freely surrender to Him each day.