Living with open hands is really important to me. I try not to hold onto anything too tightly. When my hands are closed firmly on other things, it can prohibit them from receiving anything new.
As much as I love giving, I realized, while having a night out with some lady friends last week, that my heart was being challenged. A man walked into Brewnuts and asked us for money so he could buy dinner. Something about the experience bothered me, and since I am very much a verbal processor, it was nice to be able hash it out with my ladies.
Earlier in the week while eating in a restaurant with my family, a woman had come up and asked for money. When it happened again, I knew it was something I needed to work out. Twice within a few days usually means God is telling me something. Why was I so bothered by the exchange?
If those same people would have been standing outside with a sign asking for help, I would have been more than happy to give something. It was then I realized that it was another area of my life where I needed to be in control. The fact that I was directly asked instead of given an opportunity to help was the challenge. Slowly, I’ve been learning to give up control, and this area of my life was not to be unscathed. Sure I love giving – when I feel like it. Sure I love giving, when it’s something I’m passionate about and it’s on my terms… dang.
Sometimes, learning the truth about yourself is hard, but I choose to use it for good. I am thankful for opportunities to learn and grow.
Long, long ago (or so it seems), Justin and I lived in Nigeria. It was quite a learning experience. Everywhere we went, people would assume we were rich because we were foreign and ask us for money. At first it kind of hardened our hearts because we literally couldn’t go anywhere with out being asked for money. Even in church, while listening to the sermon, people we didn’t know would hand us notes asking for money. One day, we read the scripture together that says, “Don’t forget to do good things for others and to share whatever you have with them. These are the kinds of sacrifices that please God.” (Hebrews 13:16). We determined in our hearts that any time anyone would ask us for anything we would give whatever we had, and that became our lifestyle. Then, because it was something we decided beforehand, when someone asked, we were ready to give.
There is something special about giving when it’s hard, and we have certainly made that choice many times, but that wasn’t the issue that day. I think lately God is trying to show me that I don’t always need to be in control, and although I’ve been letting those reins loose in some areas, apparently I still have a ways to go!
Is there an area in your life where you are holding on too tightly? Is there anything you need to let go of?