‘Stop looking for quarters’

Published 9:33 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2016

“Hold your head up. Stop looking for quarters.” That’s what my friend from middle school used to say because of my tendency to stare at the ground when I walked. But I changed positions since then. Now I typically walk with my head up so I can see possibilities and avoid missing out on God-given opportunities.

Holding my head up has benefits: It helps me see what’s in front of me. It helps me stay balanced, so I can walk forward. And it allows other people to see my face and connect with me.

Recently I watched a news story about Amy Cuddy, a psychologist and Harvard Business School professor, who noted, “When you pretend to be powerful, you are more likely to actually feel powerful.”

Email newsletter signup

Cuddy researched and developed theories about “power posing,” which indicated a person with slouched posture showed less confidence and poorer performance during purposeful activities.

On the other hand, a person who took two minutes to do a “power pose” before entering a stressful situation performed better and showed more confidence. Cuddy recommended performing the “CEO pose,” leaned back with shoulders open; or the “Superhero pose” (think Superman), with hands on hips and looking straight ahead.

Writings by the psalmist suggest he knew changing position could lead to great benefits. At one point, he asked: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me…?” (Psalm 43:5). But he seemed more resolute and confident when he wrote about lifting his eyes toward the hills while acknowledging God as his Helper in Psalm 121:1–2.

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to look up and see beyond my circumstances. But I believe holding my head up makes a statement about my faith. It also shows that I expect to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

When I think about the intentional act of holding up one’s head, I envision different scenarios.

When a man is tired of running and ready to submit control of his life to a higher authority, he raises his head and hands and says, “I surrender.” A soldier standing in the position of “attention,” with head facing forward and shoulders back, shows she is ready to follow her leader’s commands. A small bird positioned in a nest with head up and mouth open shows it is eager to receive guidance, direction and nourishment from the one that gave it life.

Finally, when I manage to raise my head and look unto Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of my faith, I am able to pray this prayer to God: “Lord, I look to You. Even though my situation looks impossible, You said all things are possible” (Luke 18:27).

If my head is up, I am able to move forward with a greater sense of hope, confidence and trust.

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for www.inspirenewlife.org and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School (KBES.com). She can be reached at 1brightot@gmail.com.