In his book Love Does, lawyer Bob Goff writes about a very important technique he uses, both inside the courtroom and as a way of life. He tells his clients when they are on the witness stand, there is a very strict rule they must adhere to: they must always keep their hands open, palms up.
Why is this technique so important? I’m glad you asked.
What is one of the first things we do when we’re angry, stressed, enraged or overwhelmed? We clench our fists. It’s our body’s natural reaction when faced with conflict. It’s almost as if by clenching our fists, we can hold on to our self-control, our pride, our plans, our temper…our very self-worth.
The problem is, all that fist-clenching only bottles up the anger and causes a mess inside. Control is an illusion. No matter how well you do, how pure your motives, or how good your intentions, some people will lash out at you. They will always assume the worst. Nor by any willful choice can you make traffic disappear, your relatives get along, the grocery store check-out line shorter, or your kids behave. Every human is endowed with free will. Tighten those fingers into knots but that truth will not change.
Living a life of clenched fists, constantly on the defensive, is not a joyful journey. There’s a better way. Palms up.
Try it. Place your hands on your lap and slowly uncurl your fingers. Turn your palms up to the sky. Breathe deeply. How does such a simple movement make you feel? Relaxed? Peaceful? There’s a reason why.
When we live a life of “palms up”, we are surrendering our agenda to God. We are choosing to relinquish control. One friend tried placing her palms up and tears glossed her eyes.
“I don’t know if I like this.”
“I feel,” she bit her lip as she searched for the right word, “vulnerable.”
Yes. Letting go of the anger, the need to control is scary. But it’s also freeing. It’s a statement of trust in God that says, “I believe You are Who You say You are and that You can do what You say You’ll do. My identity, my worth, my life is found only in You. I have nothing to hide, nothing to lose because You are my everything. Defend me. I give you all I am.”
Sometimes the tighter we hold on to something, the faster it slips through our fingers, but let this truth change your life: you don’t have to hold on to anything when He’s holding you.
Palms up. Palms open. That’s what Jesus did. He lived, and died, with his hands opened wide.