How we respond to difficult situations often defines us and reveals the truth of our character. The two responses I have heard frequently described are the “closed fist”, and the “open hand”.
Closed Fist –
This is our default stance. This is about our perceived sense of control. There are many reasons that this approach is wrong and unhealthy. The bottom line though, is that attempting to close ranks around our issues and control them through a closed fist response is based on faulty reasoning. Stated simply—control is a lie. We do not control the situations in our life. We are fully deceived if we think otherwise. Attempting to “take control” of our situations is to attempt to knock God off His throne. No amount of grasping will move Christ off His position as Sovereign over all creation. I bring into question His reign and His right to rule when I attempt—lamely I might add—to control my circumstances. Christ alone is in control. He is unshaken, undeterred and not confused in regards to His role in my life. Attempts at control only exhaust me and distract me from the trust I must place in the Father’s hands.
Open Hand –
I have heard this phrase time and again from many Godly mentors. The theory is that my trust will be most fully displayed when I release my grip on what weighs me down. Uncurling our fingers from around our greatest anxieties and fears is a cathartic exercise that provides greater opportunity for the Father to minister to our needs. And yet, an open hand is a level of control. There is still a lie at work in the Open Hand approach. We are tempted to pat ourselves on the back at our trust and faithfulness from unclenching our fists from around our concerns. Yet the truth is that we are still connected. By very definition, an open hand is still holding the weight of whatever the fist was clinging to. Have we given Jesus more access to our concerns? Yes. But we have not ceased to carry the burden.
There is a better way. A way of freedom. A way of true release and faith.
Hands Off –
This approach is excruciating. It is the final step towards our release from anxiety and fear. Letting go. Completely. The Hands Off approach is coming to the throne of the King and submitting our past, present and future entirely to Him. It is the final step toward real freedom. Removing our hands transforms our fears into offerings. We leave them with the Father and walk away in the freedom, faith and joy that He will work all things for our ultimate benefit.
Where are your hands today? Clenched? Open? Or free?