DR DEBRA R
2017 Dr. Debra R Wilson
Copyright © 2017 by
Debra R. Wilson All rights reserved.
Drop Your Fists and Raise
Your Hands by Dr Debra R Wilson
Front Cover conceptual
design by Arturo Roque. All rights reserved.
Front Cover and Full wrap
designed by Victoria Faye, WhitandWare.com.
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Author photograph taken
by Mack Vision, Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.
Edited by Quanie Miller
Formatted by Kat Spencer
Illustrations by Kenny
Martin Jr., Custom Art/Illustration, http://www.artbykenny.com
All rights reserved
solely by the author. The author guarantees all content is original
and does not infringe upon the legal rights of any other person or
work. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the
permission of the author. While all of the incidents in this book
happened, the names of people, business and institutions were changed
when it felt right. In a few cases a fact slightly nudged, but no
more than necessary and only to avoid identifying somebody I love.
indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, King
James Version (KJV)—public domain.
honor and memory of my mother,
strength, endurance and love anchored me as she watched me persevere
to apply the principles,
Your Fists and Raise Your Hands.
Renee and Autumn Corine, my daughters who continue to be the wind
beneath my wings.
Table of Contents
TO USE THIS BOOK
SPIRITUAL FRAMEWORK OF COPING
1—THE BATTLE CONTINUES
2—THE HIT LIST
4—RAISE YOUR HANDS
UP RISK AGREEMENTS
CLUB DISCUSSION GUIDE
WORD FROM THE AUTHOR
The Holy Spirit
inspired me to write this book right in the middle of battle. I was a
high-risk pregnancy with preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, my
spouse was unemployed, I was asked to work beyond my pregnancy leave,
and I was evicted while shouldering the financial weight for my
family. I tried to hide my situation from my family, friends and
those who continued to hate and criticize me amid my turmoil. It was
in this season of dimension-climbing experiences that this book was
born. Dimension-climbing experiences are the moments of anguish in
our life that bring definition to our character and to our purpose.
This is the best way to describe the dichotomy between understanding
who we believe we are and discovering who God has called us to be;
or, who we are trying to become while realizing it may not be quite
what God intended.
began to journal as a strategy to keep calm, keep emotionally
connected and remain conscious to avoid resentment. At the same
time, I fought hard to resist negative feelings, surroundings
(people) or conversations that threatened my peace, my faith and my
capacity to love.
We know that we have
passed from death (dimension) to life (dimension), because we love
each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
—I John 3:14
love someone sincerely is to cross dimensions. To love someone who is
difficult to love must be like crossing several dimensions.
had to recognize that my experiences were “dimension-climbing”
because every opposing force seemed to be working against me:
shattered family relationships, abusive connections, false sense of
relationships in the church, feeling taken advantage of, and the
overwhelming financial struggles. In agreement, these maladies came
against me to the degree that they launched me from one place to
another emotionally, mentally, spiritually and at times physically. I
felt torn, depressed, confused, felt that I was not enough; I forgot
simple things and at times felt physically nauseous. I was literally
going through the motions of living; dressed up on the outside with a
smile, but inside I felt hollow and afraid. I lost trust in people,
and at some point, I think I lost faith in myself. Somehow, however,
I kept pouring into others; preaching, teaching, and encouraging.
carried me through what would have destroyed me had I stayed
there continuing to internally fight back or attempting to meander
through it. If God had not rescued me from battles that I did not
understand how to win, the experiences would have diminished my
capacity to forgive and persevere. Basically, it would have taken me
to beginning this writing project, I still believed that the ability
to love was inherent and a part of human nature as opposed to
something that needed to be cultivated, nurtured, and protected.
While the love element seems to come naturally in the animal kingdom,
humans struggle with loyalty, attention, sympathy, empathy,
affection, and kindness. When love challenges us by the amount of
work it involves or is destroyed by broken trust, shattered by abuse,
or bruised by rejection, the resulting devastation can lead to
life-altering consequences such as a broken home, addiction,
promiscuity, regret, and thoughts of suicide for some.
a season during this process, I came to the end of myself and cried
out to God in emotional exhaustion. I heard God quietly, yet
fervently say, “Drop Your Fists and Raise Your Hands.”
From that time and long after that breaking point, God would quietly
remind me of this scripture.
...Be not afraid nor
dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not
yours, but God’s…
I understood the verse, but I was taken aback when the great
multitude of battle was in my core relationships: home, family,
friends, and church family; especially those I thought were kind,
saved, and sincere. Boy was I in shock! For some time, I felt
disconnected. I was still coming into bloom within my own ministry
and leadership development. It was like I had gone behind the curtain
of “church,” to what really happens behind the
scenes and it hurt. It was hard to witness spiritual leaders bully
young Christians with growing faith. It was difficult watching the
manipulation and deliberate cruelty used to leverage emotional and
mental control. This was not just one sect or one church, but this
spirit was abroad Christendom. There was such callousness and falling
away from the rudiment of true ministry-love. I think it is
important for us to discuss this notion of bullying and manipulating
further. When most people hear these terms, they tend to believe it
does not describe their behavior. And, some people are so prone to
being victims of this treatment that they do not realize their
situation is dangerous and causing them to live with raised fists.
When people come to others for sympathy, comfort, and healing, it is
unfortunate when their vulnerabilities are taken advantage of.
Instead of being given sincere love and understanding, they are
accounted as a dumb sheep for an emotional slaughter. There are
horror stories of people being talked about to the extent that they
feel distant, disconnected, depressed, and suicidal because they
trusted someone who was vile and deceptive. I have seen people
ex-communicated and ignored by leadership only because they made a
typo on a program, or did not hit the right note during a song, or
could not leave their family to attend a particular event. People who
are young in their faith were made to feel guilt and shame for
missing services, not giving money they did not have to give or
refusing to do other inappropriate favors, sexual and otherwise. I
have watched people who have positions that support the worship
experience (musician, ministry staff, etc.) used for their gifts and
talents, while their heart and soul remained damaged, undelivered and
pushed by the wayside. Their contributions were more important than
some level, I felt trapped with no relief, no reprieve, and certainly
no retreat because I was committed. I was vested and invested in
people and my own leadership growth. I felt the strong sense of
responsibility to protect innocent people from being hurt by vile
dynamics. God did not let me just bail out of the situation, and I
did not desire to. I refused to leave people stranded and alone. God
wanted to groom me, to prepare me and to allow me to recognize the
truth of my situation. I was in battle. And it seemed the more I
defended others, the worse the battle became for me.
is no secret that church is not always the safest place simply
because we are there. Yes, us, ordinary people with unique
personalities, proclivities, and pessimistic attitudes. People bring
their non-convicted hearts and unkind dispositions with them when
they come to church; and, until people choose to let the church in
them instead of just showing up causing discord and mayhem, they will
never learn how to drop their fists and instead, raise their hands.
Sometimes I wonder if people actually fear God because it is not
evident by the way they treat others.
I am mature enough to understand personality conflict, corporate
bureaucracy, and even politics, but when these things are flagrant
in the church, they breed confusion and can be eternally dangerous.
The church is an organism as well as an organization so we should
expect some level of corporate culture to coincide within church
business, but the disregard for integrity, the calculated deception,
and the wicked intent is almost surreal. It is baffling that people
bring this to the church without any level of conviction or
conscience. Evil just waltzes right in and takes a seat as far in the
forefront as possible and then parades while we worship around
it. This divisive spirit and arrogant attitude can kill a person’s
faith while we shout and dance over it like it’s right. This
type of open fool-season shenanigans is not good and causes
significant damage, not to mention permanently raised fists. I have
seen a multitude of families leave “the church” and
sometimes their faith because of this brutality in the name of Jesus.
Really??? This situation was one of the many that helped bring this
book to life. Little did I know, there were many more battles to
issue that prompted this book was the state of today’s society.
We have national figures venting and airing ignorant ideologies on
social mediums and people in leadership roles that cannot seem to
stay on task to deal with issues without deception or prejudice.
Let’s keep in mind that in both worlds, church and secular, we
are describing behavioral patterns of adults claiming to be
God-fearing; some of these people have degrees, some have prestigious
pedigrees, and some even have most important societal influence. All
of this unrighteousness is happening in and out of the church while
our children hang in the balance.
here it is; we are facing battles from all angles. And of course,
let’s not forget the battle with the person that we face in the
mirror. Mercy! I am finding that we need more grace to deal
with ourselves than any other external influence or opposing force.
in the heat of a battle or while going through an overwhelming
challenge, someone who knew about this writing project would ask me
when I was going to finish it. Ugh! I would always candidly respond,
“When I have mastered doing it myself.” Well, of course,
that never happened, and I have come to realize that it probably
never will. Dropping your fists and raising your hands is a
principle; therefore, it is a mode of conduct and a lifelong process.
During this journey, I have changed, adjusted and then changed again
so that my response to challenges, battles, or struggles is becoming
filtered through a new lens. I am developing a new internal
proclivity to “drop my fists and raise my hands.”
concept may sound like a cliché of, “Get over it,”
but it is much more than a simple, “Accept things for what they
are and move on.” This journey will challenge the heart, the
mindset, our tucked away hurts, and the multi-layered reasons behind
our raised fists by causing us to face our truth. The book will cause
us to look into our mirrors without masks and away from the
crowd. We will be able to search the deepest part of our hearts and
see the what, who, how, when, and where our truth is to determine
that it is now time to drop our fists and raise our hands.
method is intended to provide a new strategy for overcoming
obstacles, a new approach to handling the potholes in life before
they become ditches or quicksand swamps. Those who take the journey
will learn how to apply the manifold concepts that are discussed in
this book. We will find out how to process situations before speaking
prematurely, and we will also discover how to avoid drowning in a
shallow pool that feels like an ocean.
is an integral part of the principle, but praying is the most crucial
part of the strategy. I discovered new attributes of God while
writing this book. I have developed a relationship with God with full
assurance that He is in me and that He is for me. As you take
this journey, I am confident that you will make many new personal
started the Drop Your Fist and Raise Your Hands project many
years ago. At first, I believed that I was just writing to fulfill a
lifelong passion to write a book. I can relate to those who write for
release of stress, expression, or just to keep a record of life’s
events. The hurdles and roadblocks in my life have been surmountable,
and each experience a definitive epilog. Through each circumstance,
God enabled me to survive, overcome and triumph. As I started writing
down my thoughts and feelings, I also began writing this book. It
seemed that despite several failed attempts at completing this book
over the past 16 years, I knew God was inspiring me and pushing me
past my fears to finish it and to publish it to help others.
Your Fist and Raise Your Hands is a response to the current cry
of God’s people, and as such, its healing message of surrender
and deliverance will go out to the masses and not return to Him
Drop Your Fists and Raise Your Hands
is a concept that can become a way of life. As we discuss and
discover examples of people who have successfully applied this
methodology to everyday challenges, we will begin to understand the
relevance and timeliness of this fundamental principle.
Bible story about Joseph is an excellent place to begin this journey
because it illustrates the theoretical framework for Drop Your
Fists and Raise Your Hands. The theoretical framework is the
structure that can back up or support a theory. Joseph, perhaps a
familiar story to some, was a man in the Bible, who was the younger,
said to be, overconfident son of Jacob. Joseph had the gifts of
dreams and interpreting the dreams of others. He was seen as his
father’s favorite and for this cause his ten older brothers
sold him to slave traders and told their father he was dead. Joseph
would hurdle over constant life battles such as imprisonment, false
accusation, deception, betrayal, but would then overcome these
hurdles and live a life of favor, triumph, prosperity and
will discover what makes the principle of Drop Your Fists and
Raise Your Hands relevant and refer to the Spiritual Framework
of Coping as our support.
Joseph and his older brothers, we will see how God is able to turn
the enemy’s agenda for our destruction into an overwhelming
blessing. We will also come to realize that this will not happen
without a process. God’s blessing is so much more than just
material gain because God’s divine and supernatural blessings
are life-changing. It was not just Joseph who learned lessons in
humility, courage, and responsible empowerment; his father, his
brothers, and an entire nation felt the impact of these experiences.
tend to focus on Joseph in the story because he seems to be the main
character and most people like to associate their life with a story’s
hero. In this story; however, Joseph’s brothers are practical
examples of individuals in modern society. Even though the story goes
back thousands of years, many people we live among and interact with
display the same unrighteous behavior that was illustrated by
and cruelty are not just emotions exemplified or amplified by
unchurched people or terrorists. These feelings and the actions that
are propelled by them are not associated with the evilest people in
our society; ordinary folks can fall prey to these emotions as well.
Joseph to actualize his purpose, he had to stop being the victim. He
had to learn the concept of dropping your fists and raising your
hands in the midst of rejection, disconnection, abuse,
imprisonment and abandonment. His brothers hated him because:
a) he was favored
by his father
b) he was gifted by
c) he testified of
d) his favor
threatened their self-worth
you ever been hated by someone based upon their perception of you
alone? They hate you because they feel that something about you may
threaten their self-worth. Just like Joseph, we may find some
unpleasant bridges to cross as we heal beyond our hurting places and
progress into our life’s purpose.
take a moment to think about this in an exercise.
EXERCISE # 1
This exercise explores “perception
poison.” Perception Poison is the notion that another person’s
negative perception of us can poison our self-perception and have an
adverse impact on our thought process and our behavior. Negative
perceptions can be criticisms that seem intended to cause hurt, bring
shame, embarrass, diminish and intimidate another person.
often allow the perceptions, opinions, and expectations of others to
influence their self-efficacy.
the story of Joseph, he did not seem to allow his brother’s
perception to change his mind, lessen his confidence or threaten his
exercise makes it possible to ponder how we respond to negative
perceptions. The questions below encourage us to think about
instances in life when we felt that someone attempted to lessen our
confidence by their negative perceptions or opinions.
can write your answers here or in the 21 Day Reflection Journal. It
is important to ponder if your experiences have caused raised fists.
It is necessary to work through the questions below in order to begin
the process of dropping your fists and raising your hands.
Have you ever experienced someone’s attempt to poison your
a) Who was the
b) What was their
role or relationship to you?
c) Do you remember
how the experience felt?
From your perspective was this experience fueled by jealousy,
resentment or some other motivation?
a) Is this experience ongoing or just
a tabloid drive by? A tabloid drive by is when an
individual makes an assumption without any information about you.
What was your response?
a) How did you
Have you ever been accused of trying to poison someone’s
Was the accusation true?
a) If so, what
caused you to behave this way? Jealousy? Insecurity? Anger?
b) If not, why do
you believe they felt this way?
c) If there was an
opportunity to discuss the issue, what was the outcome?
exercise shows us that we can experience poison perception as a
victim or as an accused offender.
do we do now that we answered the questions?
should take this opportunity to search within to see if we harbor any
negative feelings from being a victim of poison perceptions.
Do we need to forgive someone in our
hearts for their attempt to hurt us?
Do we need to stand strong and refuse
to allow another person’s perception to influence our
self-esteem, self-efficacy, and choices?
Do we need to be mindful of how our
interactions with others could be perceived as poison to their
is a good place to journal your feelings in the Drop Your Fists and
Raise Your Hands 21 Days of Reflection Journal.
exercise challenged us to ponder and search our hearts for any
unresolved feelings that may cause us to have raise fists. As we
journal our responses and feelings, we can decide to make the choice
to surrender our negative feelings. Surrendering our feelings
means letting them go.
Drop, and Raise (R.A.D.A.R.)!
answering some of those questions dredged up some painful memories.
These type of experiences feel like emotional drive-by’s, where
someone just runs you over emotionally and leaves you wounded, ready
to hit you again or willing to let you just bleed out and die.
Sometimes, these emotional hits happen by people who do not even know
you, understand you and have not taken the time to really know your
story, your struggles, your failures, your fears, etc. And contrary
to popular sexist belief, women are not the only ones who exhibit
this type of catty behavior; men have issues of hateration, too.
learn a valuable lesson from the story of Joseph and his brothers.
We have to be careful who we share our
dreams and aspirations with. I believe we have to share it by faith
to set it in motion, for it to come to life, but we have to know the
audience we share with.
Everybody will not share in the
celebration of your successes. People closest to you may not be able
to handle God’s blessings upon your life.
was the object of a hate so vehement that his very being, as
perceived by his brothers, was a threat to their being. The
Bible reminds us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave; meaning that
sometimes, jealous people kill the person they are envious of because
of some crazy notion that taking them out will somehow remove the
threat and salvage their shortcomings. If these people make it
to prison to mull over how irrational their motivation was, they
might eventually realize that someone else’s success should
actually inspire positive change and not corruption. The worst
reality of this madness is that there are people in our circle of
life that would rather see us dead than to witness our success.
dream revealed that he would eventually become both leader and lender
to his older brothers, but the dream was not the only source of
contention. The father favored Joseph and openly set him apart from
his brothers, covering him with an elaborate coat of many colors.
discuss favor for a moment. Has God ever publicly blessed you and
provided you with His favor to the degree that you felt put on blast?
Oh, you accepted the blessing, praised God for the favor, and humbly
recognized the grace and mercy, but you may not have realized the
precarious position you would be in among those around you.
Ironically, our blessings often come with harsh lessons regarding
loyalty and friendships. Sometimes, the person who appears to be the
biggest supporter of your success might secretly be your worst enemy.
They appreciate what your blessing does for them, but hate you for
being the one chosen to carry the blessing.
love you, and then they grow to hate the very thing that caused them
to love you in the first place. Wow! Sounds crazy? It is! And you can
almost sit back with a bucket of popcorn and a soft drink watching
them go through their personal drama because of your
blessing and their perception of how it impacts them. Of
course, amid all of this, they are missing the way to their own
spend some time in the mind of the Hater. The term Hater
describes a person who cannot be happy for another’s
success, achievement, lifestyle, or freedom; and as a result, they
make an effort to point out perceived flaws, weaknesses, and
vulnerabilities of that person. The Hater is not necessarily fueled
by jealousy or wanting to replace the person they criticize, they
just want the person to be less of a success, or perhaps, to feel
less free, or just to be taken down. Why?
am sure there are a myriad of explanations people give for being over
critical of a person they should be happy for and celebrate with.
Perhaps the hater feels inferior, limited, intimidated, or just fails
to realize that God’s blessings are open to them if they would
have faith and believe. People can actually be a hater to those they
claim to love, but due to an unresolved issue deep within, they
cannot be happy for that person. This dynamic happens among family,
friends, co-workers, students, church members, etc. Sometimes people
do not even realize that they are being haters because their tendency
to find fault with someone has become their typical response.
Hateration spawns from an unfulfilled heart; from feeling that one
did not receive an opportunity, a fair chance, appropriate resources
or provision. As a result, fists are raised, and people become
critical of others, negative, condescending, sarcastic, and just
plain ol’ mean. Everyone is susceptible to being a
hater. We have to search our heart to find the root of these
feelings and then make a choice to confront it.
brings us to another story that illustrates the concept of Drop
Your Fists and Raise Your Hands: The Biblical story of Cain and
Abel, the two sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was a farmer who grew
vegetables and grains while Abel was a shepherd who took care of the
family’s cattle. The boys were instructed to prepare an
offering to God to show their appreciation for His bountiful
blessings of living in the beautiful Garden of Eden. Abel, the
shepherd, took the time to find the most precious lamb of great value
and worth to offer God. He gave up a lamb without blemishes, the most
expensive one in the herd. Cain, the gardener, gave straw,
which was not of any value or sacrifice to what he possessed.
Cain simply could not understand why God needed an offering and
figured that his raggedy straw was good enough to throw back at God.
responded to both sacrifices; He completely received Abel’s
offering but somewhat rejected Cain’s offering. God preferred
Abel’s offering over Cain’s based on the intention
behind their giving. For this reason, Cain developed hate in his
heart toward Abel. We ask ourselves, how could Cain be angry with
Abel? This is the plight of the hater: failure to recognize
cause and effect, refusal to accept responsibility and being too
prideful to change. God went so far as to have a personal
conversation with Cain to reason with him and to let him know how he
could be equally blessed if he would humble his heart and change his
an opportunity it is for God to extend His mercy and His grace to
help us out of our own mess—face to face even. Unfortunately,
instead of Cain listening to God and accepting the fact that he had
to change his mind and his heart to obtain a blessing, he chose to
hate and then kill his brother. Cain killed his brother Abel
with foolish pride, callous jealousy, and hatred in his heart. The
spirit of Cain rests upon us today. This type of relentless anger is
the cause of many calamities in our society; murder, slander, drug
pushing, adultery, abuse, etc.
do we take away from Abel’s legacy? Perhaps we learn how much
our heart and mindset affects our willingness to drop our fists and
raise our hands. The concept of drop your fists and raise your hands
fosters peace; peace within ourselves and peace with God. It is a
concept that affects every area of our life. Abel teaches us how to
please God by giving with a sincere heart. Abel pleased God. That is
his legacy. What we purpose in our heart is important to God. How
many people actually please God today? Is that even their focus
Blessings and Bosting
Let’s look at Joseph’s life
a little more. Have you ever been blessed to the degree that you
became boastful? After Joseph was adorned with the coat of many
colors by his father, he may have used every opportunity to rub the
coat in his brother’s face. In my imagination, I see Joseph
wearing the coat and prancing around where the brothers were hard at
work since he was the youngest and free to play. He probably showed
up to every meal in the coat. He may have even worn the coat to play
and perhaps made a production while taking it off, folding it just so
and making sure he was seen in full effect. And when he revealed the
dream God gave him concerning his purpose, which included reigning
over his brothers, he may have told it at the dinner table, even
causing his father to raise an eyebrow.
Joseph’s dream, he and his brothers were working in a field
when suddenly his sheaf of the grain rose and stood upright while his
brothers’ sheaves gathered around to his and bowed down to it.
If that was not enough, Joseph had another dream that the sun and the
moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. Even Joseph’s father
had issues with his dreams, asking him if he was insinuating that his
whole family would one day come and bow down to the ground before
him. The brothers became jealous and hated Joseph while the father
quietly pondered his dreams.
foolish or immature people are granted favor, it can sometimes lead
to their detriment. Not that Joseph was evil or arrogant, but perhaps
a bit foolish in the way he shared the information. Because he was
just a child, he did not understand how the dream would be perceived
or received by his family.
the coat, Joseph’s behavior, the father’s favor, and then
the revelation of his dream was just too much for his brothers to
take. If Joseph’s dream materialized, it would mean that he,
the spoiled brat with the colorful coat, would be their ruler. His
behavior was not worthy of such hate and certainly did not warrant
being sold or left for dead, but his brothers were operating under
the same self-serving sense of entitlement as Cain.
am learning that when people fear, it can sometimes breed contempt.
People fear what they do not understand. People often fear what could
be a blessing to them if they just took the time to wait, watch, ask
questions, and resist the temptation to ridicule.
The people slander
whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do
understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will
Woe unto them! They
have taken the way of Cain.
brothers were emotionally distraught after they sold him, and there
was much conflict among them after they committed the crime. To make
matters worse, they had to watch their father suffer after they lied
to him about Joseph’s disappearance. Joseph’s father was
left in anguish without a true explanation. Fear and misunderstanding
can transform into anger that broods and boils over until an
individual commits a heinous act that affects everyone around them.
The people affected by such crimes are often left without
explanation, just like Joseph’s father. The devastation can be
so heavy that those affected may never heal.
Joseph and Abel, Kind David was another biblical character who
experienced wrongdoing at the hands of family members. When David was
brought into a dinner that his father excluded him from with the
Prophet Samuel and his older brothers, God anointed him as the next
King. What do we take away from this story? How might David
have felt, knowing that he was not even invited to dinner with his
family and their special guest? Imagine coming into the house, dinner
is smelling good, and everybody is dressed in their Sunday-best, and
there you are, uninvited, and unwelcome. Your family doesn’t
want you there, but they allow you to stay because their guest
insists. You are not dressed, dirty in fact, with no opportunity to
acclimate to the setting before you. You do realize; however, that
you were left out, rejected, and not considered worthy, but you are
not even given time to process it because before you can even blink,
God pours out a blessing upon you and anoints you right in the middle
of what looks like a mess. I believe this is why David later wrote in
“You prepare a
table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head
with oil; my cup overflows.”
Prophet Samuel anointed David as King of Israel in front of his
father and brothers, the Bible says that he went back to the field he
was called from and continued to shepherd the sheep until the
appointed time. Wow! How many people are willing to do this today? He
dropped his fists and raised his hands. However, the rejection
and the suppressed pain of being the “black sheep” of the
family would later manifest into other habits, bad choices and
detrimental consequences for David and the generations that followed.
David committed adultery with his soldier’s wife, got her
pregnant and then arranged for the soldier’s death. David was
so busy running around sinning that he didn’t realize his
children were out committing, in some cases, even more atrocious
acts. One of them committed rape and incest, (which led to another
son killing him.) Another son, Absalom, would revolt against him and
lead a rebellion to take over his throne, which only led to his own
demise. David would become stubborn and ignore advice resulting in a
deadly plague affecting everyone he was responsible for. David
suffered great loss. But, in spite of these obstacles, David’s
life exemplified the principle of drop your fists and raise your
hands, and he was considered “a man after God’s own
heart” simply because David was a Worshipper. He knew how to
humble himself, come to God broken after he failed, ask God to
cleanse him, restore him, and then try again to please God. David
would spend his lifetime applying this principle. He endured
struggles, experienced heartache, battled in his home, waged wars
against nations, lost moral challenges and suffered consequences. But
David would always find his way back in God’s presence with
R.A.D.A.R.; recognizing his issues, addressing his situation,
dropping his fists and raising his hands.
your fists and raise your hands is not intended for the perfect, but
for the flawed, the failed, the diseased and the discontented, who,
in spite of these human frailties, contend to apply the principle. By
applying this principle, we have hope and we are able to persevere
and to reap bountiful blessings despite our situations. We can
overcome, heal, start over, seize new opportunities, and experience
abundant living with joy and in peace.
Have we learned how to ponder? This is a process worth putting into
practice. To ponder is to take the time to think things through.
I am learning to reject my tendency to just jump at what I believe I
hear God saying to me or what He is trying to show me without
processing what I heard. I used to hear God begin to speak
something into me, through a dream, or a revelation, or by
experiencing an “Aha moment;” but before God could give
me the intent or the meaning, I would run with it and begin making
plans. Really? Sometimes we need to have a seat until we are asked to
do otherwise. Every encounter is not an invitation.
But Mary kept all these
things, and pondered them in her heart.
excitement of new information or an encounter with truth can
sometimes make it difficult to keep still, but it is necessary to
avoid the leap. Like Mary, the mother of Jesus, we need to learn how
to keep all things and to ponder them in our heart. Regardless of how
exciting the revelation or the “Aha moment,” is, it is
necessary to relax, to hold on, to breathe, and to ponder.
am learning how to ponder long enough for God to actually finish His
sentence and how to make my way safe before I jump into action. This
saves me time and embarrassment. I do not want to waste time missing
divine opportunities simply because I did not take the time to
Back to the story of David...
David kept his anointing to himself,
pondered the encounter in his heart, and went back to what he was
doing until time and opportunity dictated something new. Was David
resented by his older brothers? I am sure that he was. That
particular scene prompted God to challenge the Prophet because even
Prophet Samuel was confused. He did not know who to anoint, so he
made assumptions, looking on the outward appearance of Jesse’s
sons to determine who would be the next King. God chastised Samuel to
let him know that he was judging the situation based upon a person’s
outward countenance, while God makes choices based on a person’s
heart. These events also put David’s father on notice and
caused the jaws of his brothers to drop. The black sheep of the
family, the rejected stone which the builders rejected, had now
become the chief among them.
has a blessing upon your life that will drop the jaws of those who
feel more qualified or more worthy. Ponder these things.
to David’s story, God also put Joseph’s father on notice.
Although Joseph’s father was proud of him, he caused discord in
the home by openly preferring Joseph over his other sons. Did
Joseph’s father dote on his other boys the way he did Joseph?
It does not sound like it.
of us can relate to either side of this story. Perhaps we were
favored when we least expected it. Sometimes we are favored simply
because those intended for the blessing forfeited. On the other hand,
when people do not feel favored, they may perhaps feel rejected.
Parents, if they are not careful, can cause great division in their
home by favoring one child over the other children. Every child is
unique with tailored needs. We cannot write the script of our
children’s lives, but we can certainly set them up for success
by providing a safe, loving home environment where they can freely
express themselves. Leaders, if not careful and fair, can cause great
discord within their organization by not providing appropriate and
equal opportunities among their employees.
person has unique talents and abilities. A good parent, just like an
effective leader, provides a fair balance by nurturing their
children’s talents and helping them strengthen their
deficiencies. If these balances do not occur, we may raise children
who go through life with raised fists in every situation.
in leadership helps to prevent unnecessary conflict. We learn the
term “fair” early in life, especially once we begin the
process of socialization. We begin to define fair based upon life
experiences. This frames our perception and impacts our
relationships. Our perception of what is fair can also cause us to
raise our fists in situations instead of allowing God to make things
right on our behalf. Once established, our concept of what is fair is
deep-seated and only altered by what we continue to experience in
life and perhaps by situations that take us through broken places.
Both Joseph and his brothers defined and then redefined fairness
based upon the issues they faced in life. This can be the place of
great transformation and where we may learn that there comes a point
in our lives when we have to “drop our fists and raise our
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
Drop Your Fists and
Raise Your Hands is an interactive book designed to be a
collaborative experience. Together, we will discover what causes
raised fists, learn the purpose and the process of dropping them, and
then learn how to raise our hands. Serious life-changing concepts are
interspersed with humor as I write directly from my heart to yours.
purposely made this book easy-to-read. The concepts are relatable,
retainable, and readily applicable. There will be segments of
Commercial Breaks where God “stopped the press”
to drop in a Word of Knowledge.
will be Reflections where I share my personal application of
the lessons learned while on this journey.
Moments are where I share snippets of real life events that will
showcase this principle in action and hopefully make this journey
real and tangible for you.
encourage you to become an active participant by completing
the exercises. The exercises are strategically placed throughout the
book so that you can write about your experiences as they relate to
the book’s principles. It is my hope that these exercises will
allow you to express yourself while also challenging your thinking
and enlightening your heart.
encourage you to allow time for reflection and to perhaps journal
your feelings and thoughts as you read the book. Again, for you to
become an active participant in this journey, I strongly
suggest reading this book sequentially; the personal inserts are
shared respectively to keep the information in context and to ensure
that you fully receive the intended message in each section. You will
gain more insight and experience change if you walk through this
process step-by-step with me. Skipping sections (or reading out of
order) may cause you to miss messages that are designed to facilitate
healing, closure, and in some cases, a fresh outlook and new
two-part principle was divinely given to me during a season of
anguish and despair, but I knew that to fully develop this theory, I
needed to do a bit of research. I searched for a theoretical
framework that would support the fundamental concepts of my theory:
coping with unresolved issues by deep introspection and surrendering
to God as our source of help, healing, and strength. I used my
personal experiences, along with selected methodologies from The
Spiritual Framework of Coping, to fully develop this process.
believe this book will be helpful for those in all walks of faith,
from the novice to the veteran, and I am overjoyed that you have
decided to take this journey with me.
THE SPIRITUAL FRAMEWORK OF COPING
This book is balanced with spiritual and natural truths, events of my
life’s experiences and examples from my life’s struggles
and triumphs. The premise of this work is for us to understand the
nature and the role of how each realm,—spiritual and natural,
influences our ability to cope with the stress of holding on to past
hurts, to adapt to a new way of processing emotional challenges, to
become flexible in our response to obstacles and to heal beyond
“here.” Helping you to achieve Holistic Health is the
ultimate goal of Drop Your Fists and Raise Your Hands.
Spiritual Framework of Coping came from a Scholarly Article as a
result of many years of research to associate the influence of
religion and/or spirituality on stress, coping, and health. Most of
the research concerning this effort was conducted by K.I.Pargament,
beginning in 1997, using a transactional model of stress and coping.
Kenneth I. Pargament is licensed in Clinical Psychology and an
emeritus professor of psychology. He has published over 200 articles
on the subject of religion and spirituality in psychology and studies
various relationships between religion, psychological well-being and
stress, as well as other closely related subjects. In 1997, his
research focused on the process of religious coping with emphasis on
three key components: Spiritual appraisals, Person Factors,
Spiritual appraisals is a concept used
to describe how people process coping with stress, illness, accidents
and other negative life events. It is the notion that people use
spiritual causal attributions as a common way to understand these
occurrences. The concept indicates that attributions to God may help
people preserve their belief in a just world, which in turn helps
them hold on to a sense of personal control when confronted with
uncontrollable situations. The process of appraisal represents an
individual’s view of specific spiritual coping methods that
could be used in response to a stressor. In other words, it is the
process that people go through as they look to God for help in
dealing with issues that they feel hopeless in trying to change for
Person factors involve how a person’s
religious denomination and doctrinal beliefs direct how they will
cope with life stressors. It is found that religious-oriented
lifestyles tend to be healthier with reduced occurrences of disease.
Further, it is believed that people who have internalized a deep
belief system in their faith rely on their religious resources in
times of crisis, especially if the event is perceived to be out of
their personal control. This is referred to as intrinsic religion,
where a person chooses to believe without an external motive. Simply,
by faith. Researchers found that intrinsic religious orientation
provided individuals with a sense of meaning when dealing with severe
stress and resulted in a successful healing process as well as a
predictive decline in depression. Researchers refer to intrinsic
religion as being more mature because it is personally chosen as
opposed to extrinsic religion which is motivated by external factors
such as social acceptance and advancement. Pargament indicated that
studies indicate religious coping styles affected the levels of
anxiety experienced in a group of cardiac transplant candidates. It
is believed that a collaborative relationship with God appears to
provide individuals with a sense of empowerment in the face of
difficult situations. Other studies implicate that a belief in God’s
control is a factor in coping with health-related issues.
1998 study of coronary bypass surgery found that over 50% of patients
who chose private prayer as the most frequent practice out of a list
of 21 non-medical help-seeking or coping behaviors experienced less
discomfort post-surgery. In 1999, a study of caregivers concluded
that prayer might be the most profound religious coping behavior. In
fact, this study proposed that an individual experiences a sense of
“shared” control with God that includes their own sense
of responsibility in coping with stress.
recent studies in 2000 proposed that a surrendering style of
spiritual problem-solving involves an active decision to release
personal control to God over those aspects of life that fall outside
of one’s control. This is believed to provide an emotionally
overwhelmed individual some relief and a sense of assurance that God
is in charge of the situation. Breast cancer survivors, for example,
reported feeling a sense of relief by sharing their burden with God
(Gall & Cornbalt, 2002). These types of results have led
researchers to conclude that a just and benevolent God provides
individuals with a framework of control that is perceived as
more trustworthy than leaving things up to chance.
upon research, people who used spiritual coping reported the
• A positive impact on the
• Lower depression, greater
happiness, and greater life satisfaction
• Better self-health
• Lower alcohol consumption in
• Fewer somatic complaints
• Increased social activity
• Fewer interpersonal problems
• Lower mortality
are just a few examples of how Person Factors can positively impact
coping and healing. Another component of religious coping,
Meaning-Making, explains how spirituality can influence one’s
perception of stressful life events.
Pargament (1997) found that religion
and/or spirituality play an important role in finding meaning
in a stressful event. In fact, situational meaning involves an
individual making an event less threatening by actually seeing
opportunities for growth in the situation. Meaning-making involves a
change in perspective because of one’s faith. Further,
meaning-making results in the reframing of a stressful event as a
spiritual opportunity that offers benefits and change to gain
insights about life. Research reports that life-threatening events
may serve as “wake-up” calls to take stock of life and
rearrange priorities based upon one’s spirituality. On
the other hand, it is reported that stressful events can also be
interpreted as punishment for something bad. They can also be
perceived as a test, a form of purification, or a challenge meant to
be mastered. In the latter, individuals are apt to believe that God
would not give them more than they could handle.
study reported that reframing and the influence of spirituality on
meaning-making is the possibility of seeing oneself as having a
limited ability to understand the entirety of events and becoming
content with not finding a “reason” for suffering, pain,
etc. (Pargament, 1992)
recently, a 2002 study found that spirituality can help people center
an event within the context of a “bigger picture,” or
master plan. Once an individual uses spirituality to perceive a
deeper purpose, troubling circumstances take on new meaning and can
be seen as something that was meant to happen as opposed to
something that occurred randomly.
work on meaning-making and spirituality is focused on a process
researchers term “sanctification”: applying spiritual
character and significance to secular aspects of life. Researchers
report that with sanctification, an event can be experienced as a
manifestation of God based upon one’s belief, image of
or experiences with God.
Spiritual Framework of Coping, along with Biblical truths and
real-life events, provide theoretical, spiritual, and practical
learning tools for confronting issues that cause emotional turmoil.
The framework substantiates that life events and negative perception
of those events, can cause raised fists; however, spirituality and
personal choice can allow us to simply raise our hands.
using the concepts and exercises provided in Drop Your Fists and
Raise Your Hands, you will actively work towards developing a new
personal arsenal of emotional, spiritual and practical strength. You
will also work through past pain to get closure, facilitate change,
and empower yourself to make positive life choices every day.
Change will not come if
we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones
we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek –
What has been will be
again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new
under the sun.
The challenges, obstacles,
frustrations, and hurts of today can make life seem like a constant
war-zone. Why do we face such strife? This is a perfect place to open
the discussion, but first, I have some important and timely
information about the battle we all face—it is not new.
battle could mean many different things: the battle in our mind, our
heart, our soul. We face a battle at every turn. What we are
challenged with, opposed by, and struggling to overcome is real.
It may catch us off guard, threaten to cause anguish, disguise itself
as a blessing to dismantle us, and will no doubt serve to distract,
but it is not a new battle.
are using the singular noun “battle” because the term
indicates a large scale and a long duration of time that
encompasses multiple elements, categories, dimensions, etc. It is one
battle with many facets, implications, weapons, fights, and
zones. It is indicative of what challenges us in this life.
may be facing something life-changing or feel like we are in the
middle of a war, but the advantage of knowing that the battle is not
new provides an opportunity for a changed perspective and perhaps a
goal of drop your fists and raise your hands is not just
sustainability in battle, but the goal is to provide a strategy for
continual victory in and out of battle. If there was ever a time that
we needed a fresh perspective and a well thought out strategy, that
time is right now. With the current climate in our society, the time
for dealing with the battle in a deliberate way is now. Drop your
fists and raise your hands is a concept that offers a new
approach to the way we respond to a battle.
of the most popular books and movies surround the theme of triumph in
spite of adversity. For those of us who like action type books and
films, we are intrigued by the suspense of the struggle, the fight,
the variable scenes and the victory of the main character. In the
most gripping movies that hint at a sequel, there has to be evidence
alluding to an unfinished battle (or the emergence of a new one). It
is the anticipation that captures our attention. When the sequel of a
good movie arrives, we become eager to learn how the battle will pick
up where it left off in the previous movie. We mentally and sometimes
emotionally replay the scenes from the first movie in our head to
prepare ourselves for the sequel. While drama or suspense may be
entertaining to watch, it is not fun to experience in real life.
life is an action movie, but if it becomes smothered in drama and
suspense, it can feel like we are suffocating. Know this; we are not
alone in our experiences. We all will suffer loss at some point in
our lives; loss of a person we cherish, perhaps the loss of a
relationship, employment, an opportunity or our possessions. We all
will experience hurt, brokenness, failure, a set-back, and
disappointment. The battle we encounter is not uncommon, but rather a
continuing sequel of life, a sequel that originates from recorded
Biblical events as well as our practical life experiences.
have a jewel of wisdom for you, but unlike a movie cliffhanger, I
won’t leave you in suspense: we are in a continuous
battle. After reading this book and implementing the strategies
presented, my hope is that you will learn to intrinsically drop
your fists and raise your hands in response to adversity.
are two realms where we will encounter warfare: the spiritual realm
and the natural. These encounters are not new to anyone, particularly
to people who are of Christian faith. The war in these realms is
inherent to life, especially once we are born-again believers because
we begin to understand the dimensions of battle. This is not solely a
Christian concept, however. In life, there will be opposition and
conflict. This is true for all humankind. We are born in conflict.
Our struggle in the labor process is just the beginning of a lifelong
battle. What is the battle over? The spoil.
refers to goods, worth, and valuables. Goods that are so important,
people will wage war to get them. In fact, spoil, or perceived spoil,
has been the cause of many wars over centuries in many countries,
communities, in politics, and even in families. Where there is no
spoil, there is no need for battle. A battle occurs when there is
something worth fighting for. We are the spoil to every battle
in our life. Why? God and the enemy are fighting for our surrender as
we are of such great value. We are valuable because we have a divine
purpose and even more so because God loves us. We are worth
the opposition between God and the enemy. We are worth the
conflict. God deemed us worthy to die for so surely we are
worth fighting for. Moreover, because of our great worth to God, we
are of great spoil to the enemy. Therefore, our attempt to avoid
opposition will not prohibit this uninvited and certainly unwelcomed
guest from intruding in our lives. The battle we encounter is
sometimes short-lived, and at times, it appears that it never ceases.