Release…Feel the Endlessness of God.
This has become my breathing prayer. As I think the word release, I exhale and release all that stuff that I am holding on to in that moment. As I breathe in deep I remind myself to feel the endlessness of God.
It’s a short prayer, but it serves multiple purposes. It helps me focus my breathing to a more purposeful rhythm. Releasing is an act of trust, acknowledging there is so much outside of my control. It is also a declaration to my circumstances that my God is endless in His love, ability, provision, compassion, strength, grace, and mercy.
It’s not that I will ever be able to feel the totality of God’s endlessness, only the Lord is endless. But, what if I could simply stand on the edge of the endlessness of a perfect God and have it leave my cheeks flushed from the warm breeze of His goodness.
I can’t help but be in awe of such an amazing God who would love this very broken woman. Oh how I wish that I could stop being broken, that I could stop making mistakes, to stop messing up. But there is something humbling about my faults and failures that helps me to realize the Lord’s perfection and just how incredible His grace for me is.
Releasing is not an easy thing to do. Especially for those of us who like to care for things, who are unyielding in taking on responsibilities, or who like to be in control; who can take these good qualities to unhealthy extremes.
It is a huge act of trust to loosen our grips and open our hands to the things we hold so tightly to. The tightfistedness of the grip is often because of how greatly we care, how much we love, how deeply we desire to protect what we are holding on to.
What we grip tightly, we won’t let go to just anyone or anything. We know the risk that goes along with that, the potential for pain or loss.
“But you are to hold fast
to the Lord your God,
as you have until now.”
Joshua 23:8 (NIV)
Joshua speaks these words of wisdom, of advice, of counsel, to Israel’s elders, leaders, judges, and officials when he is a very old man in the book of Joshua chapter 23. His advice so many years ago still provides wisdom for us all.
What are we holding fast to? What are we anchored to? What are we exerting effort to grip imperviously in our hands?
Is it Jesus that we have clenched in our hands? Or is it something else? Is it money, relationships, work, responsibilities, our own desires, good works, scripture, family?
There are so many good things that we can grip with such intensity that lose our focus on the Lord, turning our attention to the calling, the gifts, the talents that He has given to us.
God wants that first place in our lives, in our hearts, having no other gods before Him. No focus, no grip, no larger concern than Him.
The Lord will give us a great many things to be, to do, to care for in this life. He will call us to responsibilities and work and family and fellowship. He will give us relationships and money and call us to steward and care for many. But, will we hold fast to those things in His place?
Those things in our lives that have boundaries and limitations are easier for us to understand because we can see, feel, and touch them. The endlessness of God is so far out of our comprehension. We can not see, feel, or touch its boundaries, because it has none. We lack a fullness of understanding, in a way that can be unsettling, especially when called to open our hands from what we are clinging to.
In our fear, anxiety, and wild imaginings we tighten our grips around what we are holding onto. We will exhaust ourselves attempting to hold on with rigid tenacity. Sometimes even wounding ourselves in the process because we will not release.
Just because God calls us to open our hands to Him does not mean that He is going to take away what we hold on to. God’s faithfulness and purposes, His ability as a creator to bring beauty from ashes is part of His divine endlessness. The Lord does not call us to fully understand it all, He asks us to trust Him.
It takes a heart of trust in the Lord to open our hands to Him, to lay bare that which we would give our very strength to hold on to.
What we have in our hands may be taken from us. The loss may leave us reeling in pain and agony, but we will not be left alone or forsaken.
What we have in our hands may be increased. We make walk with the weight of a double portion, weak and wobbly, but we will have the support of the Spirit to give stability to us.
We may be left waiting with open hands. Learning and growing in faith and patience.
We may have another reach out and take our open hand. In the process of letting another lead or care for us we develop a humility and gratitude for the service of others.
We may open our hands and find what we held before is still there. No change on the exterior, but with open hands comes a heart refreshed by an obedient willingness to release our grip.
“The Lord is compassionate
slow to anger,
abounding in love.”
Psalm 103:8 (NIV)
To know that the Lord is compassionate, filled with grace, abounding in love, patient to the core, is the assurance we need to be able to release what we have got a tight grip on so that we can feel the endlessness of God.
Live it Out
Is there anything in your life that you are being called to release from a tightened grip?
Do you need to open your hands to the Lord with something you are holding on to?
What is keeping you from that moment of release? Is it fear, anxiety, doubt, or worry?
Spend some time reading Psalm 103. Write down the attributes of God that assure you of His faithfulness and love. Focus on those endless traits of the Lord to help you begin to loosen your grip and release.
My dear readers, I don’t know exactly what you are facing. I wish I could sit across from you and show you my hands. I wish I could tell you the times that I have struggled to release what I was holding on to, to show you all the imperfections of my hands. I wish you could see in my eyes and hear in my tone the struggles.
I wish you could see and hear and witness when I describe what the Lord has done for me and the ways that I have experienced His love, His faithfulness, and His goodness despite my daily failings, shortcomings, and struggles.
I wish you could know that I have recently been called to open my hands, to release my grip on PEP UP for Joy, on this blog, on this calling, on this work that I love. I thought the Lord was going to take it. When I started, I thought this post would be my last. I thought release would mean saying goodbye.
I cried last night and the night before that. I sat this morning with open hands in prayer and said, “Help me to walk with a richer joy than I have ever had before. Lord, I want to listen AND obey. I want to be faithful and I want You to be honored at the heart of the work I do.”
I realized how much tighter I was holding onto PEP UP for Joy, to the blog, to the cards of encouragement I write & mail to people, to the speaking opportunities I have. I thought about the importance of a willing release, a sacrifice of obedience, and a desire to follow the Lord where He leads (not just where I want to go).
I needed to go to God this morning to lay down in release what I have been holding on to. To release…feel the endlessness of God.
I need to tell you how grateful I am to ALL of my readers, how deeply I appreciate you giving the generous gift of your time to read my words. I praise God for the opportunity to write and share with you what I am learning. But my fervent prayer is that those who read these words would be encouraged, strengthened, spurred on to what you have each been called to.
Thank you so much for the ways that you press in and continue to walk with me, even though I am so broken and messy. I try to share the muck and mire of my life in an attempt to connect and to show that God’s goodness is so much greater, so freely available, and His love so abundant to cover it all.
In the silence with open hands following my prayers, I sat in the presence of the Lord. What I had in my hands did not change, but my heart certainly did. The doubt and fear had been replaced with the reassurance that I have been called to lead PEP UP for Joy, that I need to keep writing, and keep sharing because the message has value.
But I do so not for my own glory, but for the glory of the Lord. It could all be gone so quickly.
Breathe out in release…breathe in and feel the endlessness of God.
Pray Through It
Thank You so much! Thank You for the blessing of these wonderful readers. Thank You for the handcrafted care, love, and compassion that You have faithfully woven into each of them. Lord, will You please give them a bit of Your vision today to see themselves through Your grace and love.
When they look at themselves, think about themselves, and speak to themselves, please give them words of truth. Help them to combat the fears, the anxieties, the worries, the strife, the exhaustion, and the battles they are facing. Lord, may each one know how deeply grateful I am to have them in my life.
Lord, please help us to release and feel a bit of Your endlessness in a new way today. Help us to be encouraged, uplifted, and to have a resilient joy that is anchored even in storms of great magnitude.
In the name of Jesus who freely released everything to be in alignment with Your will. Amen.