If you’ve known me for any length of time, I am sure you have figured out that I have a fascination with coffee and conversations (and now I have a growing love for chai and conversations). As I sit to write this, I have chai in hand and am thinking through the best way to convey to our dear friends and family all we are thinking and feeling right now.

In other words, go pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea (or your hot beverage of choice) as you spend a few moments reading some of our thoughts from this past month. If you need to set your ambiance even more, tune your Pandora station to All Sons and Daughters.  

[“…whoever loses her life for My sake will find it.”]

Those words went through my mind the moment we walked away from our sweet puppy after putting him in the car with his new family. Two weeks ago, we had a yard sale and began to sell off a lot of our big items through Facebook. Yesterday, a lot of people came to pick those big items up.

Our townhouse has become an empty place of boxes and items we will store or take with us. And the items we have given away or sold have become a reminder that we cannot take things with us when we go—when we move or when we die.

As an American, I am materialistic. Even if you do not think you are materialistic: if you are an American, you are. Period. I have done a great job of collecting things through the years. And this process is a great reminder these things are just that—things—with no eternal weight or significance. 

And He’s called me to seek Him—first and foremost. To follow after Him, to be His, and to not place my focus, my time, or my success in my things. 

He’s calling us…

to let go.

to give up things.

to release control.

About a week ago, we Skyped with our teammates in Nepal. Our team is just now fully coming together and developing as new members join. Our supervisor is doing an incredible job of being proactive and coming up with a definitive list of descriptors that will define our team culture. He asked our team members to join in to help set the tone of that list. What an encouragement it was to read through and hear and see the list begin to form and the heart of our team begin to be woven together! 

One of the ways our supervisor asked us to prepare to make this list was to listen to two podcasts from Andy Stanley’s leadership development series on Defining Your Organizational Culture. Andy gives a list of six non-negotiables his staff culture uses to define them.

One of those—the one that has stood out to me the most—is to live a life palms up.

[palms up]

What does it mean to live palms up?

Try this for a moment: wherever you are, go ahead and sit with both hands in your lap. And turn your palms face up. Did you feel it?

Your shoulders relaxed. You were able to breathe deeper.

Next time you are in a meeting or situation where you feel that you are getting tense or are on the defense or feel like you need to take control of a situation that is not going your way, try doing this. Try putting your hands palms up and see if you can still be upset or defensive or controlling. It makes it much more difficult I can tell you. 

When you have your hands palms up, you are releasing a bit of yourself to the person in front of you. You are exposing yourself and becoming a little more vulnerable to them. You are releasing your expectations and manipulations and are submitting yourself to them. You are humbling yourself. In essence, you are saying: I give up—not because I am weak—but because I want to work this out in a way that shows I am not trying to control but to give myself away. And I am open to you.

Palms up also puts us (as a wise teammate pointed out) in a place to receive. We are open to receive whatever is offered to us as we give of ourselves and whatever is hindering us.

What does it mean for me to live palms up?

It means to let go. To live a life where I am letting go of things I don’t need, relationships that are changing, parts of life that are not where HE is calling me anymore. It means to trust what HE gives to me will be more than enough. It means expecting Him to provide joy and peace even days after I give up my puppy. It means knowing—I mean truly knowing and believing—He says those who will lose their life will find it in Him when we are willing to live a life palms up toward Him.

Lord, may I live a life palms up. May I let go of those things I try to control and manipulate. May I find myself in a place of trust in You expecting You to fulfill all my deepest needs as I lose myself and find who I am truly meant to be because of You. And may my palms be filled with only what I receive from You as I release the things that hinder me from being completely Yours.