My poor posture in sixth grade probably had something to do with boys. I towered above them, so I slumped in an effort to conceal my height.
“Straighten those shoulders up!” was an admonition I heard from my dad often during my adolescent years.
By the last two years of high school though, I’d finally outgrown my insecurity and recognized that height had its advantages. I had to work to overcome my slouching habit, but I did it.
My battle with posture came full circle this year when I noticed an uncharacteristic droop to my shoulders. Because I’m older (and possibly weaker?) and spend hours slumped over a computer writing, I needed to remedy my posture once again.
I bought a posture trainer to wear. The little device buzzes when I’m not properly aligned. Yes, my dad’s admonition lives on in the form of modern technology.
Posture During Praise
Perhaps because of my long-time posture awareness, a guest music leader at church grabbed my attention when he claimed: “The posture of our hands reflects the posture of our heart.”
It was an effort to encourage the congregation to adopt the posture of lifting our hands during praise time.
What the leader said gave me pause. Reserved by nature, I don’t lift my hands during corporate worship. Yet, my heart posture is fine. It’s lifted and open, and love flows between God and me.
I’m not bothered when others lift their arms in praise, but I feel that doing so myself might draw unwanted attention my way. So even though I’d like to at times, I resist.
I wondered what the Bible had to say on the subject. One of the first verses I read was, “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands” (Psalm 63:4 NIV).
And this one: “I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land” (Psalm 143:6 ESV).
I know what it feels like to thirst for Jesus and to metaphorically reach for Him.
I also know what it’s like to pray fervently to Jesus with my palms turned upward in supplication: “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your most Holy Place” (Psalm 28:2 NIV).
But I don’t do these things in public.
While the hands can certainly reflect the posture of the heart, I don’t think it’s necessarily true that they do. God knows our heart. As far as He’s concerned, I suspect our heart posture is more important than our hand posture.
But could the posture of our hands affect our heart? Could lifting open hands and swaying arms more fully immerse us in the worship service? Would it open our heart even more?
After all, studies show that even a fake smile sets up chemical reactions in our brain that can cheer us up, lower our stress, and improve our immune system. Another study showed that hugging ourselves reduces physical pain, while another asserted that adopting a powerful posture (opening limbs wide, for example, or clasping hands behind the head with elbows spread) builds confidence and leads to decisive action.
So, using our hands to express joy during praise might lead to more meaningful worship. It might be exhilarating. It might free up some preconceived notions that keep us from fully immersing ourselves in corporate worship.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.God knows our heart. As far as He’s concerned, I suspect our heart posture is more important than our hand posture. Click To Tweet