When I was little I sat in a hospital waiting room for one of my sister’s many mouth surgeries and I came upon a Christian book of stories. One of the stories I read was about a little boy who was in the hospital and very, very sick, he was passing. A nurse came to the boy one night and told him that he just had to raise his hand and Jesus would take him to Heaven with him.

The story was about giving yourself to Jesus to be saved. That little boy raised his hand and was saved that night. He went peacefully to Heaven. But in my child’s eye it meant that holding up my hand at night meant I would die- then go to Heaven.

I was terrified! I slept on my hands for days and prayed that I wouldn’t accidentally raise it in my sleep and die. I eventually got over this, but that story stuck in my mind and I recall it always in hospital waiting rooms.

Raising our hands to Jesus is a way of expressing our wanting to hold him. We express our need to hold His hand by opening our palms in what DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy) calls “Willing Hands” posture. We raise our hands in praise during songs at church. Sometimes in mindfulness, I raise both of my hands high and turn my face upward in order to feel the joy of communing with God.

This sign of willingness opens my heart to what God has to say to me, to the glory of His joy in me. That little boy in the story was willingly giving his life to Jesus, not being willful and denying the fact that he was dying, not refusing to accept the reality that he would soon leave the world.

Part of being willing is to listen carefully to your Wise Mind (God). It is not refusing to tolerate whatever pain you are feeling, but rather bringing that pain to Jesus. It is not trying to fix every situation but allowing God to work His will through the situation. Willfulness is trying to be in control.  Willingness is to let God be God.

Willingness is acting with awareness that you are connected with God. When willfulness is unmovable, ask yourself, “What is the threat?” Then bring that worry to God. With an open-ness to God you can think through your problem using His guidance to a solution, or if no solution is available be open to God’s time. God will answer your prayer- he promises- in His own way.

“I will answer your cry for help every time you pray, and you will find and fill my presence even in your time of pressure and trouble. I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast.” Psalm 91:15

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