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Open Hands

Hello, I'm Misti Gil, and I'm a renter.

~Hi, Misti.~

That's right. I'm a middle-aged woman who has been married for 17 years and has a high schooler yet has never owned a home.

Wait. I take that back.

We owned one for 2 whole years. We thought we had finally made it like all the big kids, and then*poof* God made us disappear to a whole other city and put that house on the market. Bye-bye, home ownership.

God has been talking to me a lot through his word and people about contentment lately. Confession: I have a love hate relationship with this word. I want to have the peace that accompanies being content, but I'm ambitious and have dreams that don't necessarily jive with contentment. However, as I look around my present reality of a small rental home, 2 used cars and a well-worn wardrobe, I keep hearing God whisper,

Be content with what you have because I will never leave you. (from Hebrews 13:5)

"Because I will never leave you." The truth is we have all we need because we have Him always. We can be content BECAUSE we have Him. He provides everything we need from rent money to peace and joy. He is the source of it all, so as long as we have Him, we're covered. We're set because he sees all our days and all our needs and has partnered that with perfect wisdom. He's trustworthy in his care of us, so we don't need to keep chasing stuff. He's enough.

Besides, anything we could every yearn for doesn't really belong to us anyway. It's really just on loan since we "can't take it with us" as they say.

I guess everything is rented really.

One of the best things we can do as people of God is to move from a sense of ownership to a sense of stewardship. To reframe our worlds with the mindset of caring well for something on loan, like you would a rental home. Because the alternative to a stewardship mindset is an ownership mindset, and what always comes with ownership?

The responsibility of controlling and managing all we own.

For instance, if I think my child is mine, it's my responsibility to control all he does to ensure the outcome I think best for him. If I think I own my business, I find myself solely carrying the burden of making all the right decisions regarding all my career steps. That's a ton of responsibility. Do we really want that much control? The sobering reality is that when we think we control it all, when something doesn't turn out the way we would like, we shovel shame all over us. This was never the way it was meant to be.

We were never meant to control it all. God didn't design the world or us like that. We simply don't have the capacity to hold it all together all of the time.

"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?

Tell me, if you know so much.

Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line?

What supports its foundations,

and who laid its cornerstone

as the morning stars sang together

and all the angels shouted for joy?" Job 38:4-7

When you read something like that, it seems pretty arrogant to think we could control anything, doesn't it? If I can't control what's happening in my life or in the world, I'm comforted to know THAT God up there is the one in control. He's the owner of it all and He is good, He is FOR us and He delights in blessing us and caring for us.

If He's the landlord of my life, I'll gladly rent everything in my life from him anytime.

God, I pray today that we would hold what you've given us in open hands. That we would move from the crippling mentality of owning it all to the freedom found in simply stewarding what you've given us well and leaving the rest up to you. Thank you that you are good and we don't have to fear your leadership. You are completely loving and wholly faithful. We praise you today, amen.

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