There was an electric buzz around the main conference room that night. “Aren’t you excited about the speaker tonight?” “Have you read her book?” “I can’t wait to hear from her. That book changed my life.”
My friend turned to me and asked me straight on if I had read this book everyone was chattering about. My reply was a simple “No” and a slight shrug. I had seen the book advertised in Christian book catalogs so I was vaguely familiar with the title but in the recesses of my thoughts I could not convince myself to pick up this book, “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann VosKamp. I really didn’t have time to read through 1000 things that someone listed as gifts they had received.
The chatter simmered to a low as the evening speaker was introduced. I admit, since there was so much hub-bub, I was intrigued to learn more about this author. She took the stage in a way that drew me. She didn’t command the audience with exuberant over confidence but rather with humility…she didn’t even have her talk memorized. She scanned her iPod with hair falling into her face but the words she shared captured me.
As Ann began relating her journey of counting 1000 gifts she recalled the story of the birth of her daughter and the first words the doctor said. In the delivery room, before he announced whether it was a girl or a boy, he said, “Look at her hands.” The hands of this little bundle of joy were clenched shut. Hands, balled into a fist tightly keeping out this new world.
At this point Ann began to relate this to us sitting around tables intently listening to her breathing out the words God had given. She stated that so many of us go through life with closed fist. Tightly held fist that are closed to the world around us and to the blessings of God. Sometimes even unaware of what we were doing.
Her talk covered many more meaningful topics that weaved back to that first point, a point that resonated within me. I clearly saw how I was a clenched fisted woman.
Over the next few days, even weeks, I began to notice my hands and their natural tendency to curl to close. How many times had I stood with my fist balled up without even realizing their action? There were even times when I held my fist so tight that my nails imprinted their names on my palms. How, when hanging loosely by my side, the ends of my fingers would slightly roll inward toward my palms. Even when offering my hands in praise to the Lord, with palms up my fingertips would curl inward not allowing my open hands to be fully exposed to anyone, not even the Lord.
Fully or partially clenched fist had become a norm without me even noticing. Could this be an outward reflection of an inward situation? Was I outwardly expressing unbelief or fear that resided in my heart? Was I revealing unbelief or fear that I might not be worthy of the full blessing? What was causing me to live clenched from this world and God’s blessings?
As we were getting ready to step into 2012, many were placing challenges out to find a verse, picture or a word to label your 2012. The first word that popped into my mind was UNCLENCHED.
I want to learn to live with my hands fully open to all that God has in store for me. I no longer want my closed or slightly closed hands to be a hindrance deflecting the blessings He is trying to pour into them. I want my hands to be fully open in order to take His hand.
I want an open fist to be my new norm.
What about you? Do you find your hands closed in a fist? Are you willing to be open fisted and unclenched before God and this world?
This is my prayer and desire for 2012. For both of us!
Out of the Shadows….Unclenched!