Posture Matters

As I stood in church last week, I found myself with empty hands… an unusual occurrence for a mother of 8 month old twins. Our church is our village… the kind of village that every young mother longs for, but that seems to be increasingly difficult to find outside of spiritual communities.


Our church is our village, and my hands were empty because Little Man was off in the nursery with his best buddy and the babes were… around. My husband was holding Tiny and one of many “extra” grandmas was holding Ladybug.


The music was filling the sanctuary…. “I exalt Thee…,” the band sang, and I lifted my arms in worship. It’s not a pose I’d ever assumed before. I was raised as a solid, down to earth Methodist and am now an “orderly” Presbyterian… neither of which is the most demonstrative of denominations. In addition to being inhibited, I’m usually far too busy executing feats of “baby-juggling” to do more than lift one hand in worship. This time, however, I just surrendered to the impulse… and was struck with a moment of recognition…. but we’ll come to that.


A few months ago, our Pastor identified the iconic arms-raised posture of worship as one of victory… a stance we culturally encounter at sporting events as a natural reaction to an enactment of beauty… the perfect fulfillment of great expectations. The assurance that our faith was well placed.


I’ve also recently watched Amy Cuddy’s TED talk about the fact that our body language can dramatically effect how we think and feel. Simply put, powerful stances make us feel and act powerful. Powerless stances make us feel and act powerless.


So all of this was running through my mind when I recognized not victory… not power… but… well… “Up, Papa, up!” I’m quite familiar with this one… I see it every day at home.


It’s a posture of surrender to the knowledge that we can’t do this alone… we don’t WANT to do this alone, and all we need to do is to reach out to Him. It’s a confirmation of the assurance that we know what He is capable of, and still love to witness the raw beauty in the execution. We are empowered by the knowledge that we will be lifted up whenever we ask… with the strength of a child-like certainty that we are loved and victorious.


It seems to me that we could try to be more aware of how our posture effects us. Amy Cuddy suggests that standing before a job interview, rather than sitting, small and huddled, would lead to more self-confidence in the interview. She points out that the knowledge that posture matters can make a difference in how we approach everyday life… so why not our spiritual lives as well?


Perhaps if we struggle with achieving humility, we could curl up with the scriptures in a quiet place. Or if it’s self-esteem that we lack, we could open our posture up to all-out worship. What better way to ask our Papa for a “pick-me-up”?

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