Exploring the Deep

Passionately pursuing life, faith and adventure…

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Get a grip.

Get a grip. When life seems out of control and topsy-turvy, that’s what we do. When emotions begin to overshadow reality, that’s what we do. When we lose sight of our focus, that’s what we do. When we feel like we’re losing the most important things around us, that’s what we do. We take a firm grasp and wrestle to keep control. We fix our eyes on the very thing that seems to be fading away and fight to keep focus.

Does it work? Do we regain our hold? In the physical sense, oftentimes, yes. But there are times that it doesn’t. Times when holding tightly actually kills the very thing we are gripping.

About a year ago I read “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are” by Ann Voskamp. Aside from the obvious challenge set out in the title, the book offered me several other personal challenges, including trusting at a deeper level.

It’s easy to trust for some things – the stove will heat when turned on, a light will shine when a switch is flipped, a chair will hold when sat upon. But other things are more difficult to trust – a stranger to keep his word, a new recipe to work out perfectly, a sunny winter day in Seattle. But what about our relationship with God – what is your level of trust?

I have an easy time trusting my family and friends to do what they promise. We have history and they’ve proven themselves in ways that I can see and recount. Although I trust God to do what He promises, I have a more difficult time. There is a catch in my natural self that second-guesses His follow-through because I can’t see, touch or smell Him. The times when prayer wasn’t answered the way I anticipated were the times when God answered a different way. Trust wasn’t broken, but it was tested…and the fault is only my own for expecting God to do things the way I planned. It’s those moments when I remember that God is in control and to get a grip.

In “One Thousand Gifts” Voskamp writes: “All these years, these angers, these hardenings, this desire to control, I had thought I had to snap the hand closed to shield joy’s fragile flame from the blasts. In a storm of struggles, I had tried to control the elements, clasp the fist tight so as to protect self and happiness. But palms curled into protective fists fill with darkness….My one wild desire to protect my joy at all costs is the exact force that kills my joy….

“The secret of joy’s flame: Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control…let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love.”

It’s difficult to hold on to sand. The more we tighten our grip, the more it slides out from between our fingers. In order to keep it in our hands we are forced to turn our palms upward and keep them open. We must become comfortable with the balance between an open hand that can hold the sand, but that can also lose it. We must trust. It’s like our relationship with God: we must keep our hands open to receive what He is giving, but trust Him enough that if what we are holding is taken away that it is only to give us something better.

As I journey through life – professionally, relationally, spiritually – with an open hand, I find that my grasp is stronger. What do you need to release so that you can get a grip?

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The power of a prefix.

There is power in words. They have the ability to build us up or tear us down. They have the ability to give life to or cast doubt on someone struggling. This isn’t anything new to you or me. How many times have we been encouraged by something a friend has said to us? How many times have we been challenged by a speech or sermon? How many times have we been crushed by a quick and harsh reaction from a family member?

In Proverbs 18:21 it says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” It is up to you and me how we will talk to others. Will we speak a kind or hard word? Will we encourage life or foster death?

As a writer and journalist I’m fascinated by words, their meaning and use. I’m the girl who enjoys looking up the definition of a word for the sole pleasure of knowing its etymology. I’m the girl who loves copy editing and explaining the reason why a certain change should be made. It’s something that excites me in an odd way. I mean, really, I have three different style books in my office that I reference on a regular basis!

It was a couple weeks ago that I began thinking about prefixes. These little guys are powerful! You know what they are – the scant few letters we affix before a word to modify a its meaning. They make a word negative, positive, repetitive, supportive and more. How incredible is it that just two or three letters have such an impact on a word!

Take a look for yourself…

What a reminder that the words we choose have that same ability! We hold the power to bring chaos or order, discord or partnership, mistrust or life to those around us. Let’s choose life! Let’s remind ourselves that it’s the small things each day – the words we speak, the smile we share, the hand we extend – that make the difference between life and death. It’s a choice and it’s ours to make!

P.S. Forgive any grammatical errors…remember, your words have power! 🙂