I struggle with having expectations. In my mind, I like to play out how a situation may happen, how I hope it occurs. You could say it is how I prepare myself, you know, have a little control. Then reality sets in and what I thought would happen doesn’t. This leaves me feeling frustrated, which leads to doubting God.
Recently, my pastor’s wife prayed for me over my book that I am going to get published. She prayed that I would have open hands to receive what God has for me with this endeavor. She asked God to help me open each finger and release what I hold on to so God can be free to work through me for His glory.
After talking with her, I thought about her prayer. “Oh Lord,” I thought, “how I hold on to what I hope for instead of hoping only in You.”
Moving forward in getting my book published has proven to be a time of folded hands instead of open ones. I am finding I have a lot of expectations, ones that God should be seeing. God has been helping me to let go. I wish I could say it is easy but more times than not I have written in my journal, “Forgive me Father, for I am struggling. What I thought would happen certainly isn’t playing out like I thought. Please help me to accept what You have for me. Help me to let go of my fleshy ways where I am in control and everyone around me is responding the way I think they should.”
I want to be settled in my faith with God like Paul demonstrates numerous times throughout the Bible. He did not hold his fingers closed on anything in this world. He kept his hands open to God, even in a prison cell with open wounds. In Ephesians 4-6, Paul preaches boldly for believers to live united as one. He explains how to serve the Lord by living in the Holy Spirit’s power and not in your own strength (with expectant closed hands). He gives directions in how to live united with your families and in your workplace.
Paul reveals how he maintains his God-focused demeanor with open hands even under trying circumstances. Ephesians 6:10-18 is the antidote when you begin to live expectantly for yourself. I learned this week in Bible study how you must never take off the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness or shoes that are fitted with readiness with the gospel of Peace. You are to take up daily, and hold on tightly, to your shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, then PRAY all the time!
Truth is what binds you to God, righteousness protects you, and your shoes of peace keep you from tripping. You will stand firmly on the Rock, which is Christ Jesus. Faith extinguishes any doubt. Your helmet of salvation guards your mindset, and the sword, aka God’s Word, slays the enemy. Prayer is your cell phone that is linked to God 24/7.
When you wear God’s armor, you are covered from head-to-toe with God Himself.
Whenever you get lazy and forget to wear even one part of your armor, you allow the enemy to slip in and wreak havoc with your faith. When this happens, your fingers fold up and you keep the Spirit from freely moving within you. An unfortunate thing then takes place, silent expectations form and your focus becomes about you and not God.
Paul understood this. This is why God’s light can shine no matter what physical state he is in, no matter what he goes through, good or bad. God is His life and he is content.
“Lord, may I keep my hands open to what You have for me.”