“God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.” – Augustine
It’s easy to believe that we’re always open and eager to receive good things from God. I mean … who wouldn’t be, right?
But oftentimes, as is the way with God, those “good things” don’t come in the package we think they should. We’re looking, but what we’re looking for isn’t always what God wants us to see or receive.
So how can we ensure that our hands are not “too full to receive” the good things God wants to give us? Here are three attitudes or approaches that will help our hands be open enough to receive good gifts.
1. Each day—in the morning, before you go to bed or at some other designated time—take 60 seconds and thank God for the things that immediately pop into your head. Your family, your job, your new friendship with a coworker, the fact that your lawnmower started after the long winter. It can be a thousand different things.
The important thing, however, is to become aware of these gifts—emptying our hands—so to speak. That way, we subtly change our attitude and slowly become more aware of God’s activities in our lives.
2. Intentionally look for God’s hand in your relationships, encounters and seemingly random daily happenings. Sometimes we don’t realize God’s work in our lives until an event has already passed. Then we look back and think, Oh yeah, God was at work the entire time, and I didn’t even know it!
By setting our mind to God’s innovative and oftentimes unseen work, we can become even more open to His eagerness to “give into” our lives. It’s another way to empty our hands.
3. Finally, it’s easy to grow weary of new challenges. They make us uncomfortable and often ask of us things we don’t know we can deliver. But in our fallen world, these challenges are unavoidable.
On the bright side, these challenges often lead us into a closer relationship with Christ as we learn to lean on Him more. We don’t often realize that benefit until the challenge has passed. But the next time you are faced with a challenge, remember to empty your hands, rely fully on Christ, and see how He leads you through the rough waters.
Practice thankfulness, intentionally look for God’s hand in your daily life and embrace challenges as an opportunity to walk closer with Christ. It’s a good approach to emptying our hands and filling them up with God’s good gifts.