Hold On or Be Held?

Holding On
Holding On

As a follower of Christ, I have to give up my need to hold on and learn to be held. Christ didn’t cling to things or people; He rested in His Father’s arms. His life is a beautiful example of the strength found in being held. 1 John 4:18 reminds me of the power of being held in God’s loving hand.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (NASB)

Holding on is about fear. Being held is about love. Human nature and the ways of the world say hold on! Christ says trust God’s love to banish fear. It seems a simple choice, but I find myself holding tightly when I should be relaxing into obedience.

Holding people tightly leads to losing them. Love can only grow when let go. Possessions are more easily held, but there’s no joy in the ownership we think we have. All ownership is merely an illusion. Nothing valuable will be owned; that is particularly true when it comes to love.

No one holds more tightly than those determined to promote divisive doctrines. The body of Christ is a fragmented mess because of the holding and pulling that take place within it. Christ makes His will for His body beautifully clear in John 17:21

“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (NLT)

I get very frustrated and sometimes want to head to the mountaintop and leave the messiness of the church. I know God enjoys our special time alone, but I also know He created me for community. He loves Christ’s body, and He wants me to love it too. Love isn’t about fixing or doing for; it is about living and loving honestly and with a whole heart. Sharing my story and my journey with others puts my heart in the perfect position to be held, and that’s exactly where God wants it to be.

Holding on is about my strength and endurance. Being held is about dependence upon God. I can choose either path, but God made it clear this week that being held is the best way to go.

Being Held
Being Held

Possessed?

The Nature of LoveThere is a world of difference between love and lust, grace and greed, and peace and power. Lust, greed, and power are shiny objects that take my attention away from God. I know His love is better than anything this world has to offer; but I occasionally fall prey to the bling in my path. God reminded me this morning that bling is temporary and loses its luster as soon as I gain possession of it. His love will not be held or captured, and He will never hold me captive or attempt to possess my heart.

The need to possess is at the heart of lust, greed, and power. We have all been possessed by someone or something at one time or another, and we’ve all had the desire to possess something or someone at some point in our lives. Lust, greed, and power revolve around that desire. Love, grace, and peace exist outside the realm of possession. They flourish in freedom and reside with truth. It’s human nature to want to possess, but Christ taught a new way of living and loving when He came into the world as a man. He possessed nothing and had everything. He didn’t need Satan to remind Him that lust, greed, and power cause great temptation. Christ knows exactly what they do to a heart, soul, spirit, and body. His precious love releases us from captivity and gives us a new heart.

Christ’s grace showed the world a new kind of power, and His love brought a peace unlike anything the world had ever known. Like a child chasing a butterfly, I  end up straying from the path and find myself on a very slippery slope when I take my focus away from God. He is always there when I fall on my face. He and I both know it’s the best position for praying.

It’s easy to get caught up in my agenda or the agendas of others, but it happens a lot less when I keep my eyes on the One who exemplifies love, grace, and peace. Jesus took the lust, greed, and power that put Him on the cross and turned it upside down. The beautiful result is unending love, amazing grace, and unexplainable peace.

The lessons over the past two weeks have been difficult ones that pushed my heart beyond what it could handle alone. God never leaves me, but He will not possess me. I’ve made terrible decisions when it comes to love. I’ve tried to possess and hold on to it. God gently taught me that possession goes against the very nature of love. What I control or possess does not define love in my life, but what I am able to let go of does.

God placed Melanie Gainsley’s quote back into my path today. It sums up the lessons in love God began the year mama died, and it was in my path then. It was so hard to let go of mama. I realized today that love doesn’t have to let go because true love doesn’t hold on in the first place. 

“Sincere love is not born of possessiveness but of necessary space and distance.” Melanie Gainsley

 

Not Holding On:)

I had one of those sweet aha! moments yesterday as I left the church after communion. I realized that my heart wasn’t holding on to anything. I thought I might just take flight! All my life, I’ve held on to one thing or another in fear of losing my balance. I lost my balance as a very young child and never found the courage to stop holding on and let my heart walk on its own. My heart walked on its own yesterday, and it was awesome. On the last day of my fiftieth decade, I finally understand what Maya Angelou meant when she said, “The fifties are what you’re meant to be.” I also know why my sweet little Mylah gets so excited about walking without holding on!

I’m not sure what all happened, but I do know that I let go of the need to be anyone other than who I am. God’s timing is always amazing, and I had to smile as I got in the car and headed to my hair appointment.  I love sharing the Lord’s Supper because I never feel as close to God as I do during communion. I suppose that’s why it’s called communion. Honest communion sets the heart free in the most beautiful way, and my heart was feeling more free than ever.

A free heart allows time with those I love and makes life worth living. I spent the afternoon and evening with Mylah and Lillyann, and there’s no place my heart would rather be than with those two sweet little girls. It was a privilege to play and then lay beside each as they drifted off to sleep. Mylah plays with my hair while drifting off, and Lillyann plays with hers. I play with my hair too, so we are kindred spirits in that regard:)

Children always have time to love and play, and that’s what makes them so amazing. It’s why they have balance while adults are always juggling, looking at watches, checking phones, and doing things. Children delight in those they love and have all the time in the world for them. Adults miss so much because they are rarely present either physically or mentally. It’s the way of the world, I suppose. Thank God for children who have no concept of time and live in the present.  Time creates imbalance when used unwisely, and holding on to the past or fretting about the future takes me away from the center.

Everyone is given the exact same number of minutes each day; how that precious gift from God is spent determines the level of peace and balance in life. That was another powerful lesson this week that went along with the one on placating.

Christ is at the heart of my heart. He gives my heart balance, and my heart gives me balance. My need to lead, to be loved, and to please are canes I’ve used for support because I didn’t trust my heart. I know Christ has always had my heart balanced in His. I’m not sure what God has in mind for my next decade, but I go into it knowing who I am and Who He is. I am not holding on to those canes any more and feel just like little Mylah as she delights in her new found freedom. Look out sixties because here I come:)