Sixteen years ago I was selfish, set in my ways, and for lack of a better description, a spoiled brat. On top of all that I was high strung. I worried about everything and tried to control every situation. Those characteristics are definitely not a good combination. But, a wise person (who happens to now be my husband) once told me, don’t worry about things you can’t control. At this time I didn’t quite understand this statement but as time went on, it truly became a life-changing phrase.
When you try to hold on to something, whether it be a child’s hand, your car keys, a cell phone, etc. if you hold it with your palms facing up and open your fingers, the item will continue to rest in your palm. However, if you hold on to something with palms facing down and open your fingers, the item will fall to the ground. The person I was sixteen years ago had a death grip on life and every aspect of my life. But through the years I have implemented the mentality of not worrying about things I can’t control. When I put some thought to that I realized there is very little I can control, except my reactions and my behaviors. For example, I couldn’t control what the outcome would be when I found out I had cancer. I also couldn’t control how a parent would react during a difficult IEP meeting for their child. My list of examples could go on for days!
In your life, you may be facing situations that have you clasping your fingers as tightly as they can close with palms facing up in desperation. You may have a wayward child that keeps you up at night worrying if he or she will come home. You may have an ailing parent and the fear of life without them has you paralyzed. You may have a spouse deployed and the calls are few and far between. The list goes on and on. However, when you realize that you can only control how you react to the situations you are facing and how you behave when faced with adversity, a weight will be lifted from your shoulders.
When you put your palms down and release what you are holding so tightly and give it back to God, there is a peace that comes. Palms down doesn’t mean you resign yourself to the situation you are facing, it just means you are putting the situation in the hands of who actually has control. I’m sure there are times I seem flippant now when I’m faced with a difficult situation, but I am far from flippant. I have just learned to lay it at the cross, with palms down, and know that if I can’t control the situation then it isn’t worth me stressing out and getting my feathers ruffled.
Matthew 6:34 reminds us “therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Troubles will always exist, but how we face those troubles can save us unnecessary worry and heartache. I hope in time you too will loosen your grip and turn your palms down.4