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The Hand-Clenching Syndrome
Based on recent events in my life, I can confidently and personally speak to something I like to call the ‘hand-clenching syndrome’.
Allow me to explain; Jesus is jealous for us. Therefore, when He gives us gifts, we like them. We like them so much that we could arguably like them more than Him. His creation, His people, His stuff. When our hearts start liking God’s stuff more than Him, there’s a problem.
Left to my own devices, I will idolize. Recently, I realized that I have not grown out of this. Honestly, I can only imagine that it is a lifetime struggle with the flesh; idolizing my relationship with my future husband, buying a home, having kids, etc. Whether it’s clenching onto the good things He’s given me, or trusting Him with the difficult things I am tempted to fret over, either way, they are idols. So here’s the deal: God strips us if He sees us getting too puffy, prideful or crazy-in-love with these things. This is NOT an article about God taking away the good things in our lives so we have to be fearful of Him. Make no mistake-God is good. In His good nature, He wants our best, which is Him. Every time I choose to go to the gifts He’s given me, I am making a choice to exalt that thing/person/whatever over the Lord.
When I think of this hand-clenching syndrome, I literally think of a hand. To receive, your hand must be open. Sometimes it takes hard work to open your hand (you have to let go of old things: hurts & old idols, and make yourself vulnerable to receive). Once your hand is finally open, and God gives, we start thinking we earned it, or perhaps worse, that the gift is OURS.
We’re so tickled with this gift, we start clenching our little hands around it. God gives you some time to decide (how much time is unique to God and you). If you are following Him, He waits. If you are trying to listen to Him in your life on a daily basis, he starts prying your fingers off-one by one. He’s waiting to see if you can be responsible with having that gift. Can you multi-task? You want this thing so badly, but can you keep God in his rightful place once you get it? If you can’t, He starts loosening your grip because He cares.
You know in your head that He’s better than gifts, but your heart is pledging allegiance elsewhere.
And before your eyes, you watch the great divide play out between your head and your heart. You can tell a great deal about the idols in your life by your heart’s reaction to their absence. If we keep God at the front and center, the only One that we are sure will never leave us or forsake us, then we won’t be terribly heart-broken if His gifts are taken away (of course that would mean we aren’t clinching to begin with!).
Just remember, all good things come from above. If you feel yourself clinching onto gifts in your life, confess it. Talk to God, and change your behavior. Practice it everyday, because we clinch everyday. It’s not weird or unusual, but it needs to be managed nonetheless. This is one important step toward freedom, like it or not.
The cool thing about it is that since we have a tendency to tighten our grip, we can choose to clench the Lord instead of the other stuff. I believe that as we master this principle, His good gifts will begin to coexist in our lives with our God, and the multi-tasking of gripping God and loving his gifts will kick into gear.
About Aliza RosenAliza is a native of St. Louis, MO, who currently resides in West Palm Beach, FL. Her treasure is her God, family, community and the wonder of inspiration.
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- Posted 64 days ago
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Verse of the Week
––1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV)