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Monday, January 4, 2016

Palms Up

I always love a good new year. Whether it's January 1st, the beginning of a new school year, or a birthday, a new year just seems to signal a time to start fresh. A time to do all of those those things you've been meaning to do and take a good hard look at what you've done and what you haven't.

A new year is exciting, although I can also see how a lot of times it's overwhelming. When there's so much we can change. So much we didn't do. So much we wish we had or wish we could change...which is why I think 90% of us make the same resolutions year after year after year. (I'm looking at you "exercise more.")  :-)

That's why I really love the concept of "one little word." One word you focus on over the next year. One word that encompasses what you want your year to hold. I think mine last year was SURVIVE! We knew at that point we were having twins and I was in the middle of morning all day sickness, so I didn't do much deep thinking. The year before my word was "seek." I honestly think I held true to that. That was the year I went to Pursued. That was the year I sought out new and different things, like a new church, a new role at work. I can definitely look back and see how I was seeking and finding God in a lot of different areas. I know I chose words before that, but let's be honest...3 kids later I have no idea what they were. I can barely remember yesterday.

This year is a little different. Instead of a word, I have a phrase I want to focus on:

"Palms up."

Weird, I know.

A little back story: Over Christmas break we went to church with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Forth Worth. Their pastor gave a great sermon on living "palms up," living in a way that shows submission to God. It's not about being defensive. It's about being open. Matt Chandler, another pastor I love, often talks about it as living open-handed. He talks about not having anything held so tightly in your hand that God can't access it and do whatever He'd like. You can't hold on to it all. I've heard it. Heard it a million times. For some reason, this year, it stuck.

I really started thinking about the concept of living life palms-up (that's what 5 hours in a car will cause you to do...deep thinking). What would it really look like? What exactly does it mean to open your hands and just say, "Ok, God. Here ya go,"? What would I have to change? How would it affect my family? What if God asks me to do stuff that makes people think I am weird? (Insert a good, strong eye roll here, but I am being honest.)And honestly, I have just reached the point that I don't care anymore. I don't care how weird it is, or how radical it is. I want to be obedient to God. Period. 100%. There's nothing more to it than to just follow through. NO. MATTER. WHAT.

I did some extensive research via The Google (as you do) on what it means physically to have your palms up. I know the obvious meaning of giving someone something or "hey, don't shoot me," but I thought it was interesting that phrases like, trustworthy, honest, having nothing to hide, sincerity, and submission kept coming up. My favorite was this,

"offer to give up control and gain support and trust."

Well, there ya go.

In all of my deep thinking whilst Emerson sang, "Hakuna Mata" for the 60 billionth time from the back seat, I realized that living palms up isn't just about giving or letting go. It's also about being willing to receive, which may very well be the toughest part in my mind. I can't just be willing to give things up to God for Him to control. I also having to be WILLING to receive whatever comes my way. That led me to thinking of specific things I think this may apply to this year.

Giving:
  • Be open to God moving me somewhere else, whether it's moving our family to a different place or a different role at work. I know I need to stop being so comfortable where I am. 
  • Give God control of our finances and do more to honor Him through giving (specifically giving to Illuminate.) 
  • Be open and SEEK where I am supposed to be using the gifts and calling God has placed on me. 
  • Be willing to sacrifice time and comfort in order to seek Him more. (I am also reading Beth Moore's Believing God right now. One thing she asks you to do is seek out deepening your sanctification--meaning, put your money where your mouth is. Make a sacrifice that means something. One of the things I have felt is that I need to get up even earlier to carve out alone time with God. That means getting up at 4:30 am, which I am NOT thrilled about. However, I believe that by honoring God with my time He will provide the energy and strength I need to keep going each day.) 
  • Spend more time in prayer. Less time on social media. Give up caring about what everyone else has going.
Receiving:
  • Receive the spiritual gifts God has given me and SEEK OUT how they are to be used. Heck! Just use them in general instead of wondering what to do. Stop fighting what He has confirmed again and again. 
  • Receive friendships and strengthen them. I feel like I have become the worst friend since I've become a mom. I feel like I have let so much of that go to the back burner so I can take care of my kids. I am realizing more and more how important those relationships are. I want to build those up this year instead of taking them for granted. 
  • Help. Advice. Wisdom. I used to be really good about having relationships with people more experienced at life than I am and mentoring people behind me. I feel like I have lost a lot of that. I would like to find a mentor-type person to talk with regularly.  
  • I also want to gain support (of the Holy Spirit) and the trust of God (that I am worthy and capable of handling the keys to his kingdom). 
Right now that is all I really know. I don't doubt for a second that God won't blow this thing right up this year, and I am excited to see what exactly He'll do. All I know is, I am ready. Ready a change. Ready for Him to control. Ready for Him to take over. I'm walking into 2016 palms up and ready. 

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