In the book (and movie) Of Mice and Men, Lennie, one of the main characters, has an affinity for soft things. He likes to touch them, but fails to recognize his own strength, and more often than not, ends up smashing, suffocating, and killing the things he loves the most, whether they be mice, puppies, or rabbits (or women with pretty hair).

Now, there's a tremendous amount of symbolism (and foreshadowing) behind this, which is important for understanding Steinbeck’s book, but which isn’t vital for this post.

The bottom line: Lennie holds onto things he loves too tightly, and ends up smothering them.

While driving to the library the other day, I was reflecting on my morning devotional when the dead mouse scene came to mind.

As of late, I’ve been holding onto things with a closed fist, whether they be my future, my plans, my agenda, people I love or have loved.

I’ve been behaving much like Lennie, not recognizing that my own stubbornness and will are smothering the things I hold most dear and simultaneously impeding God’s intervention.

In the midst of this reflection, I felt God say, “Jess, you’re squeezing too hard. Your iron grip is exhausting you and squashing the work I’m trying to do. Let go.”

Easier said than done.

Ironically, it takes more emotional and mental energy to maintain our ironclad grip, then it does to hold things with an open hand; however, we sometimes fail to grasp this (pun intended).

Rather, like Lennie, we stifle the things most important to us, when we hold them too closely, too possessively. When we desperately cling, we run the risk of suffocating others, sabotaging our futures, and obstructing God’s agenda. In our attempts to hold on, we subvert God’s plans and destroy the gifts he’s given us.

May we hold our most treasured possessions with an upturned palm rather than a steel trap.