How To Work With What You've Got

We can only work with what is in our own hands, and yet, we often try so hard to take what is in someone else's. We are quick to judge our efforts, our story, our ability and inability up next to them instead of him.

Them instead of Him..

He is the measure by which I judge what is in my own hands. There is this holy thing that happens when we each decide to lift our hands up to Heaven, fully accepting what is in them, and whisper words of release...

"Do what you will, Jesus." 

That doesn't happen as long as we keep our hands fisted tight and our eyes on everyone else. When we refuse to open our hands and lift them up, we miss the holy thing we are each created to experience.

We miss the glorious.

I struggled to open my fists and extend my hands. No, I wrestled. I put my closed fists up to God's face and dared him to do anything about it. I was so angry with him, so sure that he messed up when he dumped my life in my lap. I had a list of all the things he could have done differently, all the ways my story could have turned out better. I ranted and carried on until I was so tired, so weak from defending myself, that I just collapsed at his feet...

and then he reached down and pulled me up in his arms. 

In my weakness, I began to listen. I began to hear his whisper and it wasn't what had been yelling at me for so long. His whisper was gentle, but more than that it was hopeful.

Maybe hope is the thing that gives us courage to just be. 

When hope seeded itself in my story, I started looking inside myself instead of looking at everyone else. I wondered if maybe what was in my hands - as messy and painful and scary and everything else that it was - was exactly what I needed to extend to Heaven. I opened my fists slowly. I was so scared, so worried that what was in them was just not something Heaven would want. I thought I was not enough, my story was not enough...

that my everything was just a bunch of nothing. 

That's why we look at everyone else, isn't it? We are convinced that what is in our hands is nothing and what is in everyone else's is something.

It's plain as day, though, that none of us really bring anything glorious or worthy before the throne of grace. Every one of us comes to that holy place with nothing but ash in hand. And so, when we look at everyone else, when we think it would do us good to have what is in their hands instead of what is in ours... really, we are just saying we want to trade our ashes for their ashes.

Because, really, we are all just carrying around ashes.

The hope is in the beautiful exchange, though. The hope is in the knowing and believing that ashes are all that's required for grace to work a miracle, that in exchange for our ashes, we receive beauty. Maybe you see nothing but ashes all over your life. Maybe you feel the desperate need to compare your dust to someone else's because your looking for some kind of relief.

Well, relief has come.

Relief has come in the form of wounded hands that have this miraculous ability to take our ashes and turn them into hands full of diamonds.

Diamonds for ashes?

Indeed. The beauty of grace is that it can and will take all the old, dirty, messiness and turn it into the new. This grace doesn't stop there, either. Even the mundane, the ordinary, the seemingly insignificant, even that can be handed over, exchanged for the beautiful. See, it's not so much what we bring as it is that we just bring it.

Surrender is a beautiful thing. 

Open those fists up to Heaven, friend. Extend every bit of yourself to Jesus and he will gladly take it all, and turn it into beauty. He doesn't need a better story to work with and he doesn't need you to try and be someone else. He just needs all your nothing...

and he will turn it into something. 

"Instead of shame, you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance." 
Isaiah 61:7


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