It’s the moment when your heart aches, as you see someone you love grapple with a question you know the answer to, but it is not your place to answer. It makes no difference if it’s a beloved friend, spouse or your child, when we see someone we love question or struggle on their journey, it can be hard to just let them. Taking my hands off my life means just that sometimes – accepting what is and letting people do their own wrestling while I lay them at the foot of the cross.

Other times, taking my hands off my life is grieving and accepting disappointments instead of reaching for control or numbing out. It’s recognizing and acknowledging there are still things I need to take my hands off of and release into God’s most capable hands. Sometimes letting someone you love grapple with reaching their own answer collides with your disappointment. I can be disappointed in others decisions as they relate to or affect me. Taking my hands off my life means surrendering both. I’m learning how to do this and move ahead confidently.

Micah 7:7 AMP [7] But as for me, I will look to the Lord and confident in Him I will keep watch; I will wait with hope and expectancy for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

When I was younger I developed an idea of what my life needed to be. I chose a career in international development, work I thought was heroic and noble. I wanted to change the world, still do. Yet, at the root, I thought that if I could live this life then I’d know I had value and worth. I still do this work, but my motives shifted, I no longer find my worth in it. Even in Christ I can still grapple with where my self-worth comes from. I later shifted my self-worth and value to a person. In both these instances, I recognize that sometimes when it comes to my life I have told God how I wanted it. I used God, telling him what I wanted Him to do, trying to put Him in my debt as I served, gave, and did all the things I thought were worthy. If my circumstances didn’t turn out as I desired I was disappointed and angry. This was, and is, my pride.

For many years, I did many things in the church out of gratitude for the church and what it had done for me, but I’ve been learning to serve out the mercy of Jesus instead, out of a true gratitude for Him, His sacrifice for me on the cross, not the church or people. As I heal from my past, I am able to truly embrace His love and sacrifice for me, to serve out of the right motivation, to lay down my pride and place my Hope in God instead of self or another person.

Romans 15:13 NIV [13] “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Many people live good, noble and impactful lives. What’s different for me in Christ is the inner power that gives me a new consistency. It’s a different motivation, a pull from the inside, a joy. I’m learning to take my hands off my life because the one I am handing it to is trustworthy. I am learning to trust Him deeper as I allow Him to heal me and love me more.

Psalm 16:5-6 NIV [5] Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. [6] The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

One of the steps to taking my hands off my life is healing from the past, heading towards acceptance and forgiveness that the cross is about. To truly embrace and extend forgiveness I had to mourn.

Is61:3 (NLT) “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.”

Taking my hands off my life requires submission, and submission requires vulnerability. True vulnerability cannot be entered without first dealing with and mourning my pain. The ashes come before beauty. I have to brave the pain to access the joy.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT [10] Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Past pain can be entered across the threshold of present pain. That which was harmful in the present mirrors what happened in the past. I had to cross the threshold and when faced with past pain learn how to grieve the right way. Here too God brought me to a place where I needed to take my hands off, allowing His grace to comfort me to face reality and accept that God will not reward me for being “good” or for changing. God will not offer to change my circumstances amidst my pain. He will offer me His presence instead. That has transformed me. He is not in my debt and I do not have to prove my worth or value to Him. I can’t move into true forgiveness and restoration with Him without mourning, more and more in the daily small ways, to set me free in the present.

Jh17:17 (AMP)"Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth."

Taking my hands off my life sets me free to pay attention to what I feel. Over time I get better at owning my feelings without others affirmation and no longer need anger’s protection from underlying pain. I can accept daily disappointments and allow others to take on their own journey. I no longer need to reach for control. I can let go of the things and people I am scared to let go of and truly entrust them and myself to God. It’s wrestling every day to choose to believe that He will work out His outcome in every part of my life. God’s comforting grace, His presence, is enough to let go and keep my hands off because He is infinitely wiser. He loves me and those I love better than I ever could. His plan for my life, and the lives of those I care about, is worth trusting. It’s worth the hand-off.

John 16:33 (AMP) "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted! For I have overcome the world. I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you."