Last night, I drove home in the breezy dark of an August night. My windows were down, and as I draped my left arm out over the edge of the window opening on the car door, I felt the heaviness that has plagued me lift. It's like God's breath as the wind gently blew away the dust off that was weighing me, off into the night.
I'd been praying for deliverance, and in that moment, I knew that God was delivering. I opened my palms to feel the wind between my fingertips, and that simple act connected with my Spirit as an act of surrender; a symbol of my willingness to finally let go
I'd been dwelling on the past - holding on to things that are no longer good for me, serving toward others, or glorifying to the Lord. But in that moment, God reminded me of two things:
1. A fruit of the spirit is SELF-CONTROL.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
Though sometimes it doesn't feel this way, with God who makes all things possible, we can learn to control the things upon which we think. It takes discipline, but we are capable of controlling our thoughts and deciding what we will and will not allow ourselves to dwell on.
This type of self control happens within the practice of taking each thought and making it obedient to Christ; otherwise, we risk ending up with obsessive thoughts that can easily build on one another and spiral into a negative mindset, which is like poison to our minds, hearts, and bodies, if we aren't careful.
The Bible tells us to teach our minds to dwell on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable —if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things (Philippians 4:8).
2. If our fists are clinched, holding on to things of the past, then our hands aren't open to receive God's best for our present and future.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
If we want God's best for our lives, we have to be open to it, whatever that may be. If we are holding too tightly to whatever we THINK is best, we are closing off our hands and hearts to what God KNOWS is best for us (see Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 8:28, Proverbs 3:5-6).
I was reminded of a blog post I wrote over a year ago, called "Loosening the Grip" :
We cannot receive from God when our hands and our hearts are still holding on to other things. We must let go and come to God with open palms, laying down before Him our lives and EVERYTHING that fills them, not just the things that are easy to let go of. It's only then that we can receive the fullness of blessing and goodness He has in store for us.
(click here to read more from the post.)
If we want to find freedom, we have to be willing to open our hands and hearts in complete surrender to God. We have to gently drop the things we've accumulated along the way, let them fall to the ground, and put our faith fully in God.
"My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your word." Psalm 119:25