2019: An Aquifer & An Open Hand
I’ve done goal setting at the beginning of the year. I’ve made lists and journal entries and charts. I’ve also ignored the urge to set goals some years, thinking, “Why set up a perfectly fine year for disappointment?” I’ve thought of the Word of the Year thing as too trendy for me, and I’ve thought that focusing on a Bible verse of the year too “religious-y.”
But, heading into this new year of 2019, I can’t seem to shake this image — an open hand.
Since early September, I’ve been pondering and circling back to and meditating and referencing this verse:
“I pray that from his glorious unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.”
The verse is from the book of Ephesians, my current favorite book of the Bible. In this section, the apostle Paul is praying a prayer for a new covenant revealed to God’s people. Paul is willing all of the believers — not only a select few — yes, all of God’s people to know “how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” And Paul wants these believers to continue to find that love through inner strength. This whole section in a book about abundance is that this inner strength comes from an unlimited reservoir of love.
So, I like to think about God’s unlimited resources as an aquifer, a source of water so deep and so wide that it never runs out.
Can you imagine the freedom of living a life where you never run out of what you need? Never ever?
To me, that would mean living a life with an open hand.
If I remember that I have an unlimited resource of love available to me when I need it, I can live life with an open hand to the world around me. I don’t have to hold anything of myself back. I can give generously. I don’t need to store up time or creativity or rest or money or food from a place of fear and scarcity. I don’t need to worry about someone taking my precious things. I don’t need to defend something that won’t disappear.
Instead, I can open my hand to the world around me. An open hand is an image of possibility, an image without fear, an image both of generosity and of gratitude. I can trust that the God of loaves and fishes can give me the strength I need for whatever I face.
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to close my fist. When I close my fist, I only see what I have left. I reserve my best. I hoard my treasure. I binge on the goodness around me, so that no one else can have it. I become skeptical and frightened and fearful. It’s a miserable way to live — holed up with my stash of treasures and my aluminum foil hat, sitting in the darkness, waiting for the inevitable apocalypse.
I want to remember:
Creativity doesn’t run out.
Having a new friend doesn’t mean I lose the old ones.
Giving generously of my time or money doesn’t mean I will go bankrupt.
Sharing my whole self, even the ugly parts, doesn’t mean shame.
An open hand shows freedom in whatever comes my way.
And better still? I don’t have to compete to have access to this aquifer of love. Everyone can come to this place with unlimited resources. There’s enough love and success and friendship and time and energy and all the good things that people want and need. This aquifer of love is a great big waterhole, ready and waiting for anyone.
So, I can put down my guard and open my hand.