Imagine a baby holding a pair of new shoes in his hands. He is playing with them, happy to have possession of them. His parent reaches down to take the shoes and put them on the child’s feet. All the child sees is that his shoes are being taken out of his hands. He doesn’t like it. He’s fascinated by them and wants to be in control of them and keep them in his hands. That’s how babies are.
The parent takes the shoes from the hand of the child and the baby begins to cry. He is overwhelmed with anger, confusion and regret that his shoes are being taken from him. He screams. He kicks in protest. He’s not completely unlike the man who said, “I’m completely flexible as long as everything is going the way I want!” Immature people cannot abide the idea of letting go of what they want at this moment. When Dad takes the shoes out of his hands, he doesn’t like it. Not one bit. He is losing control of the thing he loves and wants to hold. He doesn’t understand what his parent is doing, but the parent does understand and does what is necessary. Shoes aren’t made to be toys. Their purpose is to wear them and walk in them.
The goal is to enable the child to enjoy the shoes to the fullest by experiencing their intended purpose. The parent knows that if the shoes are used for their designed purpose, the child will truly benefit and not simply be amused by them.
We can all act like babies at times. The urge to be in control of our own lives is something that rises up in everybody throughout life. “I’m not a control freak. I’m a small detail enthusiast!” one clever person joked when confronted with his own tendency in this area. Yes, aren’t we all at times!
The irony of it is that we weren’t created to be in control, at least not independently. The divine purpose is that we live our lives under God’s control and that we take charge of the things that affect us in this life through dependence on Him as our life-source.
You may feel like there are circumstances in your life that are out of control, but they aren’t. They are simply out of your control. Your life is in God’s hands and everything is under His control.
What is it in your life that you need to release? It might be control over your finances, your reputation, your spouse, your children, your future or countless other things. When we try to hold onto something and refuse to relinquish it into God’s hands, we are depriving ourselves of His best plan for our lives. Love knows what’s best better than we do. Maybe a better way lies ahead – a new way – but the only way to experience it is if you are willing to release your grip on what you’re trying to hold right now.
Only a baby thinks the highest pleasure is to stubbornly clutch what is his in his hands. He doesn’t see the whole picture. So the parent overrules the child’s wishes and does what is needful. Eventually the child will understand. When he does, he is thrilled, and more important than that, he walks.
Do you want to make real progress in your grace walk? Let go of what you holding onto right now. Whatever you hold to and try to control ultimately will control you. What appears to be loss from your perspective may actually be your Loving Father taking something out of your control so that He can do what He wants to do with it and with you.
Plato once reflected on a time when he was walking down a road and saw a man’s cattle in his field. He wondered, did the man own the cattle? Or did the cattle own the man? He noted that the cows could go wherever they wanted and do whatever they wanted within that field. The man, on the other hand, couldn’t be gone for long because he had to be home to feed the cattle. Who actually owned whom?
To insist that your possessions are rightfully yours may not be the best course to take. Instead, hold on to the possessions, people and circumstances you find yourself with lightly, knowing that the True Love who made you and to whom you belong always has your best interest at heart.
There may have been times in your life when it seemed that something was taken away. You didn’t like the way things happened when they happened, but in time you came to see that it really was the best thing. That’s always the case, whether we see it or not. Without the eternal vantage point, it’s impossible for us to see that we aren’t losing anything, but the situation is actually the hand of our Father doing what needs to be done so that we can walk the wonderful course He has planned for us.
Whatever you find in your hands today, hold onto it loosely. Claim no personal ownership over it but recognize that you are simply a steward of it. It may be left in your hands or it may not. Either way, it’s not up to you but is up to the One who is always lovingly working on your behalf. If He should take it out of your hand, remember whom He is and who you are and trust Him with it.