Why We Need To Loosen Our Grip On Life


I spent the weekend on a mountain with Jesus. The Cove in Asheville to be exact with some lovely ladies from my church.

On the mountain with Jesus, the rubbing world becomes a touch softer. Time decelerates to allow our wandering eyes to find Him and focus with intense precision. The clock’s tick-tock becomes a soothing melody to replace life’s shrill and demanding rhythm. The cares of the world dissipate as we focus solely on Him.

I want to stay on the mountain with Jesus. Sometimes I forget that when I leave the mountain, He escorts me right back down that rocky terrain. I tend to leave God behind on that mountain. I go back into my little life and grip it with every ounce of strength I can muster.

After descending the mountain Sunday, it didn’t take long for my praising of Jesus to become grumbling and complaining. It only took an overflowing laundry basket, an unplanned menu, remembrance of forgotten tasks, looming difficult decisions, and a glance at the upcoming week to turn my eyes from the mountain top to the realities of my life.

Sometimes I compartmentalize my Jesus. You just stay up here on this mountain. I’ll come back again soon. Don’t worry, you know I come back often because I need you so much. I’ll go down and deal with life, then we will meet up here again. 

Ok, not literally, but if I’m honest with myself, my actions speak these sentiments loud and clear.

Our good friend, Moses, knows a few like me well. (Exodus 32)

He went up to meet on the mountain with God. 40 days he basked in the presence of the Father, receiving the very words from God that breathed true life into life, the commands that guide our entire existence. I imagine Moses wanted to camp on the mountain forever.

We were created to live in His Presence, doing life with Him. He’s never desired that we leave Him on the mountain and journey alone.

Moses came down that mountain to an impatient group of people. Tired of waiting on God to do what they wanted Him to do, they took life into their own hands and created their own little god. Guess smartphones aren’t the cause of our impatience after all.

Oh, don’t I do that? Don’t I take my to do list, my desire to have my husband meet all my expectations, my kids’ bad attitudes, my writing, my housekeeping, my friendships, my hopes, my anything I hold dear and get frustrated on waiting for God to be what I want Him to be for me. So I just make a little calf out of the dailies of my life. I do a little dance. And I get nothing back but more frustration, more impatience, more feelings of failure.

I leave my God on the mountain and pick up a little calf on the climb back to life. God never wanted me to leave him on that mountain. He wants to hold my hand, He wants to whisper truth over the voice of the enemy.

He wants my heart to sing His praise louder in the realities of my life than He does on the mountain with my girls.

I can’t do that when I leave Him on the mountain. I can’t take both God and my little gold calf. I must choose which to cling to and which to throw into the fire.

In theory it’s easy to choose. I choose God. In the moment by moment, many times, I pick up my little calf and stumble and grumble through my day. I think I’m holding onto God, but I’m not.

[Tweet “When my grip on life tightens, my hand isn’t free to hold His always open hand. “]

He’s always here to journey with me. He wants to swim through life’s swamp with me. He’s here for me to lay down my parenting heart’s desires at His feet. He wants to take the fears that I close my fist around and replace them with a faith that can move a mountain.

My grip must loosen. I grip the good of this life, I grip the fears of this life, I grip my desires of this life, I grip what I can’t control of this life. I grip it all. A tiny little calf I hold in the palm of my hand. I know I need to let my fingers relax and let those little gold calves of my life fall into the flames.

Freedom comes when we let it all go. We will have free arms to hold onto Him with. He is limitless. We are not. He has arms to hold the entire world at once. We have arms that can only hold a few things at a time. If we let go of everything we cling so tightly to, we can cling to Him, and He can hold everything we try so desperately to hold.

When we place ourself in His arms, whether on the mountain or in the realities of life, we are free.

[Tweet “We are deliriously free when we hold His hand.”]

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I am not the Holy Spirit


Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the world.

Steve and I have this little thing.  This little thing where I get in a little rut and begin grumbling about all the ways I can’t keep the house clean, and how no one appreciates what I do, and no one understands.  Yada, yada, ya.  You ever find yourself in these patterns?

I appreciate how Steve engages with me when I’m stuck here.  He usually smiles and says, “Just love me.”  He knows I can’t fight back to that.  He’s not telling me how he has it harder or how yes he does understand or yes he does help.  He simply asks that I love him. Because when I love him, I can more easily look over the yuck around me.

God says the same thing in different words.  Essentially, God is saying to me, “Just love me.” Do you hear how He asks you this same thing? When I just love God, I am free to enjoy Him.  When I enjoy Him, I am free to love and enjoy these lives He’s entwined with mine.

I am not the family holy spirit.  I cannot change the heart of my child.  I cannot control my husband.  I suddenly understand the freedom in this revelation.  This freedom allows me to do what God asks me to do.  Simply love Him.

I think I had this running dialogue with God going on in my head.  Something like, “God, they won’t do what I say to do.  They are stubborn.  They have a mind of their own.  No matter how I try, I can’t change their responses.”  Because He is gracious and compassionate, He allows me to try to take His job away.  He knows I learn best when I experience the struggle firsthand.  Only when I come to the point of realizing I simply cannot am I able to turn to Him with my arms held high.  Then I hear Him say to me, “Just love me.”

Some things with my family are so stinking easy.  Then there are the things that seem impossible.  These are typically the things that matter the most.  The heart issues.  Usually at this point, I begin to see I have the same heart issues expressed differently.

I’ve come to realize my job description as “Mom” and “Wife”  doesn’t include “God” in it.  I give it my best shot anyway.  On any given day, I’m attempting with everything in me to direct their heart’s every moves.  These are the days I feel worn down and defeated.  These are the days I feel like I’m failing as a mom and wife.  The only thing I’m truly failing at is being god.  Our house is only big enough for one God.

Psalm 46:10 has been my life verse for many years.  Recently, it has taken on new life to me.  I particularly like this translation:

New American Standard Bible 

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

It’s like I can hear His patient whisper saying to me, “Renee, just stop trying so hard to do my job.  Cease striving.  I’m God, not you.  I ask you to love me and let me be God to your children and your husband for they are mine just as you are.”

Sometimes I forget that my children are His children first.  I forget He is creating a story in them like He is creating in me.  I forget that the struggles that have drawn me to Him my children may experience and be drawn to Him too.  If I take away His job, I may effectively take away their ability to love Him in ways they are desperate to love Him.

Sometimes I believe that to be a good mom, I have to have good children.  Or to be a good wife, my marriage has to be rosy all the time.  This lie causes me to try harder.  I become performance-driven, not grace-livin’.

When I’m driven by performance, I’m striving too hard.  I’m unable to be still.  When I’m driven by grace, I experience the liberation of the lie that tells me to get the results I want, I must be in control of everyone around me.

Such freedom lies in two simple words “Be still”.

Such beauty is lived with 3 simple words “Just love Me.”

Do you have any areas He’s asked you to be still?  To release your hold and just love Him?