I don’t know what’s happened to me over the last couple of years, but I’ve become a “Hand Raiser.” “Hand Raisers” used to make me very uncomfortable. In fact, if while in church, I saw someone raise their hands, I would think terrible, judgmental things about them.
“They are just doing that for show.”
“They shouldn’t do that. It’s distracting to everyone else.”
Also, hand raising seemed terribly unnatural to me. I guess I thought if I was going to somehow add something to my worship that involved by body, it might be more like kneeling or something. Why hands?
Then, it happened. One very normal Sunday, I felt this urge to raise my hands during a song. No one around me was raising their hands, I just wanted to. I DID NOT. In fact, I was so taken aback, I jammed those babies deep into my pockets.
Then the next week, it happened again. I wanted to raise my hands, but this time, I really sensed the Lord WANTED me to do it. I DID NOT. I ignored this very gentle prompting, chalked it up to too much salsa, and went my merry way.
The next week, the prompting was back, this time with a question. “Why won’t you do this for me?” I darted back my answer, “Because Lord, it’s TOO embarrasing. No one else is doing it, AND my arms are SO long and awkward, I’ll look like a total idiot.”
This is true. My arms are long and to this day there is nothing natural looking about raising them… So, I DID NOT raise my hands, and they remained firmly planted by my side.
This continued for many long and agonizing weeks, until I finally confessed to Ben my dilemma. By this point it had become a very real point of obedience for me. I was clearly being asked to do it and I was clearly disobeying week after week. I was unwilling to make myself look “stupid,” for Jesus.
Ben was willing to help, so he promised if I felt like God was asking me to do it the following week, he would do it too. (He’s so awesome.) So anyway, of course – wouldn’t you know, the graphic behind the words to the worship music was a picture of two hands stretching toward the sky. I looked at him and he looked at me. It was clear. My hands HAD to go up. He grabbed my hand and lifted it up for me.
That was a real break through for me. Still, I don’t see all that many people raising their hands in church, although I’ve noticed more since I’ve joined the ranks. After obeying in such a teeny tiny way, God has given me such a different heart about singing in worship to Him. I feel a freedom from self conciousness that is wonderful.
It has led to a few other embarrasing moments though. Like the other day, for example. I was running (AUGH) and listening to a song by Sara Groves. I got so into the music and thinking about the goodness of God, I realized my hands were starting to go up – WHILE I WAS RUNNING DOWN A VERY BUSY STREET.
I put them down, quickly.
(Oh Lord, please, don’t ask me to become the crazy lady who runs with her hands up in the air. Yours sincerely, Jess)