Recently while driving on a family trip I was telling my wife about my new habit of staring at my hands. She gave me a strange look and seemed a little embarrassed. But this new habit has had amazing benefits in my life. Here is how it started and why I do it.
First, I have been reading the book ‘Kept For the Master’s Use’ by Frances Ridley Havergal. Frances is the woman who wrote the hymn Take My Life and Let It Be. The book was written near the end of her life in 1895. It goes through the different parts of a human being and imagines how these can be given entirely to God. It includes parts such as our will and mind, as well as our hands and feet. The book is not easy to read unless you are used to old churchy language, but it is well worth reading if you are up to the challenge.
In her chapter on hands Frances notes how amazing and miraculous our hands actually are. And it’s true! We take so much for granted. What would my life be like if I were often amazed, full of thanksgiving and joy over my hands? I am full of excitement over a new phone I get, but it is nothing compared to the fantastic miracle of the hands that hold it. So, I spent some time staring at and thinking deeply about my hands, trying to wake myself up to how great they are.
Second, I have been thinking deeply and reading about habits. I want to grow in Christ. But how do I do it? When I am full of thoughts of God and truth I have no problem doing many of the things Christ teaches. When I forget and am distracted by other things then I fail and my life spirals down away from God. Habits must be a huge part of the solution to this problem. If what I automatically do leads my heart and mind toward God then it will be so much easier to imitate Him.
So, I thought, what habit could I build around my hands? They are always with me. I decided that every time I washed my hands I would hold them up in front of me, flex them and stare at them like a little baby. I spend about five or ten seconds doing this, remind myself how much I have been given and how well I am loved by God. I do this EVERY time I wash my hands so that it has become automatic.
The results have been excellent. God is automatically in my mind more often and I am in a better mood every time I wash my hands.
The one drawback is that my wife thinks I am weird. But as long as I don’t talk about it too much or tell the whole internet what I am doing I think she will be okay.