Why We Should Live Open Handed

Posted by Kaley Thompson: Last week we were given a car.

And not a trashy, junky car that someone would want to get rid of. A nice car. Like the kind business people drive. My husband and I desperately needed it and were looking online for a good deal. But someone else was praying and believing God wanted to give us something that would change our lives.

You can imagine our response when we were told we were getting a free car. We jumped up and down and cried like a little kid meeting their favorite fairy tale character at Disney Land. A prayer had been answered. It was a dream come true. But what if we had just told the extremely generous couple offering us this gift that we didn’t want it? "We don’t deserve this. Thanks but no thanks.”  Or "Your car is nice but we are holding out for a Mercedes.” Thinking we’re not good enough for the gift or that the gift isn’t good enough for us is ludicrous right? It’s a FREE CAR.

But let’s go for something less tangible. God’s grace.  The forgiveness of a friend. Rest. An accolade. “Thank you.” Encouragement. A crying shoulder. "I love you.” Quiet time. Restoration. Healing. Community. These are all free gifts someone has prayed for us to receive. They’ve been given to us generously and we tend to think we’re not good enough or too good for them. Aren’t we just as crazy for not accepting them as we would be if we didn’t take the car? They’re FREE.

But in a society where we’re told to buy things as we climb up the ladder, it’s hard to receive spiritual gifts we didn’t earn. It’s difficult to accept forgiveness when we know we messed up.  Finding our worth in our work makes it almost impossible to grasp God’s grace. Healing is a foreign concept when we’re hurting.  The list goes on. So how do we accept these things that our souls need but we can’t earn?

Live open handed.

Take a moment and ball your fingers into fists. This is what all the crazy people we mentioned earlier are doing.  The only things they’re letting in is what they’re already holding onto. Jobs, material things they value, what they think they’ve earned.  Now release all of your fingers. You probably started to breathe again. This is the posture of receiving.  God can put anything in those open palms that he wants. It’s also much easier to give things away. Sometimes we do need to give something to get something. Sometimes we need to get something so that we can give it someone else.

So, let go of the feeling that you need to earn everything. God given gifts are things only he can afford.  He paid the price, so they’re free for you.

Open your hands. Just receive.

Kaley Thompson is the chief storyteller at People of the Second Chance. She lives in Charlotte and wears a sparkly motorcycle helmet

kaley thompson