Is some pain waking up your spirit?

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Firm roller I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for almost 3 months to help with severe pain in my left hip.  Four weeks ago, Dr Sarah suggested I use a hard, firm roller to ‘wake up my brain’, a technique designed to lessen the constant soreness in my glute.

“What do you mean, ‘wake up my brain’?” I asked Sarah.  She explained that by rolling sections of my legs, one at a time, with my full body weight pressing on this hard fat tube of cylindrical foam, those movements would send signals to the brain which would help alleviate pain in my hip! when I bend over to touch my toes or walk on the treadmill.

When one of the chiro tech gals showed me the movements, I learned what the IT Band was (“The ITB ,also called the iliotibial band or iliotibial tract, is a thick, fibrous tendon that runs along the outside of each leg “) and how working that tendon with the hard, firm roller would REALLY get my brain going and do something good.

Let me tell you what excruciating pain is like: rolling on my left outer leg with my full weight working the inflamed IT band ligament!!!!

This is supposed to help? Pain is going to stimulate my brain to send a message to my sore glute to calm down?

THAT didn’t make sense. Yet, I was committed to the healing process.  Pain is a great motivator. I also trusted Dr. Sarah.

But I have dreaded those 3-4 minutes each morning.  I know what is coming – the pain that ‘hurts like hell’!

But a month in, I am pleased to report that the pain on my IT band has subsided and I have increased the rolling time from maybe 20 seconds to 40 seconds, all without increasing the discomfort.  That means the inflammation is less.

Did you see my sentence above, ‘Pain is a great motivator’?

I see a parallel with the Covid-19 crisis.  Pain has grabbed our attention. All of us -believers, pagans and atheists alike.  When something hurts enough, we tend to reorder our priorities. Quickly.  Suddenly.

I faced such a crisis years ago in our marriage. We were approaching our 20th anniversary. (Now, we’re one week away from celebrating our 40th anniversary – Yay, God!!!) Mike told me he didn’t know if he loved me anymore.

That woke up my spirit AND my thinking for sure.  I dropped the ‘too many things’ I was doing like hot potatoes to focus on our marriage.  No praying about that.  No going through any decision analysis process. Values seismically sifted during an afternoon walk and talk.  By God’s grace and with much gladness, I can write today about that PAIN at the 20-year point of our marriage, attesting to His goodness and grace to us, a couple MORE in love with each other than we imagined standing at the altar in 1980.

I know what I'm doing, Mother! copy

Do you see what sickness, death and financial pain are accomplishing?  More people all over the world are reflecting on their mortality.  They are thinking about God, and about transcendent values. This is GOOD! If church-attenders who have long thought they were Christian turn to their Bibles to learn who the real Jesus is, that is good.  If complacent believers who function day to day like unbelievers turn back to the Lord, that is for their blessing. If those who have never considered Jesus start thinking about him, that is pure grace.

My meditations these days are not along the lines of:

  • when will this be over?
  • when will life return to normal?
  • when will we be able to travel and see our family?

I’m praying and pondering:

  • Father, may we learn your lessons for good!
  • Father, use this evil to bring many to eternal life!
  • Father, may more come to honor your name and love you through this suffering.

These sufferings are not new to humanity.  Just look in the Bible if you want clear examples.

Mike and I are journeying through the depressing book of Judges.  This year, the cycle of peace, complacency, turning to contemporary cultural idols, PAIN-producing subjugation and hardship, calling on Yahweh, rescue, thanksgiving, closeness to God ……with its numerous encores, FEEL REAL and close to home.

Here’s the most important question: Will Covid-19-produced suffering be enough this time to change our world once and for all?  That’s easy to answer – No!

Any serious Bible reader can you that.  But there is a world coming, Earth 2.0, when Jesus comes down with all the angels and those saints already with him. He has promised to redeem, restore and re-create His Bride and our Earth. And be with us forever.  So, take heart and let this pain, sovereignly planned and controlled by the one and only Living God, work its good in you. Let it awaken your spirit. Be bold. Share good news of great joy. Help whom you can. Pray and rejoice!

Rev 21:1-5

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

 

 

You wanna change your life?

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Here’s how:  change your narrative.

I think it is that simple.

A friend recently updated me on her warmer relationship with a formerly  (almost) estranged daughter.  This adult daughter repeatedly wanted to rehash childhood pain, assigning blame to her mom.  She maintained that only by revisiting those times could she and her mom reach a healthy place.

My friend decided to ‘change the narrative’.  She practiced a piece of Shakespeare’s advice fleshed out in Hamlet.  You’ve probably heard the adage, ‘assume a virtue and it’ll become yours’.  Here’s the context in this excerpt:

Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4, Page 7

Good night—but go not to mine uncle’s bed.
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this:
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on. Refrain tonight,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy.
How did she do it?  By ASSUMING that she and her daughter already had a healthy relationship and then proceeding from there.  In that way, she actually influences the conversations and her daughter has warmed to approach.  Their interactions have grown more frequent and enjoyable to both.
Jesus actually set this precedent long before Shakespeare.  I’ve often read the Upper Room Discourse in John 17 where Jesus makes this outlandish statement to His Father in verse 6:
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”
The disciples kept God’s word???? Really?  What about Peter’s denial or James and John vying for the premier cabinet positions in the new kingdom?
But should we be so surprised when the Bible is replete with bold promises that for those who are in union with Christ, God sees them as pure and righteous.  We are told that the Father loves us, His adopted kids, just like He loves His beloved Son, Jesus.
And maybe that is the key to behaving better, to assume that it is true what Jesus says, what the Father says and act the part.
What if in a marriage locked in an impasse, one partner chose to treat his or her partner tenderly,  as though they were worthy of love and respect?
What if like the Jews carted off to Babylon, they started to treat their new pagan neighbors as though they were just as worthy of love and respect as their own race?
To bring it closer to home?  What if I dropped the narrative built up in reaction to the pain of my first years in my current school?  What if I started to ‘channel’:  God has so blessed me by giving me this job here!  What might change?
I can think of many applications of this principle of rewriting the script to break the logjam of negativity and failure.
I can hear someone say, “But it is not true!”
My one-word quick answer:  ….YET!!!!”
Lookit….if Jesus can describe his wobbly disciples as those who have KEPT His Word, then we are in good company if we treat others with grace (including ourselves) and interact with them as though they were ALREADY mature….loving….kind.
One further scriptural support.  Consider the grammar of verse 6 in the second chapter of Ephesians.  The verbs are in the PAST tense, meaning the action has been completed. God through Paul informs us that we are already sitting with Jesus in heaven:
For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

 

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