What If

What if we binge read the Bible like we watched a TV show on Netflix?

What if we fed on God’s word like a hungry man at an all you can eat buffet?

What if we spent as much time with God in prayer as we do on social media?

What if we invested as much of our heart in the reality of His Kingdom as we do in the latest reality show?

Things That Are True About Physical Therapy

It’s going to hurt. This is a good sign.

It’s going to hurt some more. This is a sign that it is working.

Small movements are a big deal. Muscle groups have atrophied due to inactivity. They have to be coaxed back awake. And the muscle groups are just as grumpy as a teenager who overslept.

It’s natural to find that you have protected parts of your body that now are in rebellion. You have to retrain your body. Your body will not welcome this new activity.

Despite public perception, Physical Therapists do not love causing pain, they love restoring movement and wholeness. 

Small steps proceed larger steps. Small gains lead to larger gains.

Did I mention it was painful yet?

I believe the first physical therapist was probably named “Uncle”.

To a physical therapist resistance is not futile but useful in the recovery process. Resistance combined with muscular reeducation leads to healing.

Mountains To Climb

In my recovery from neck surgery there have been several mountains to climb.

After the surgery, I had to learn how to get out of bed safely without straining my neck or falling on my face. 

I had to adjust to wearing a neck brace twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I had to learn to sleep on my back. 

Eventually, I began to walk and exercise. I had to learn to scan ahead since the head brace kept me from looking down at my feet. 

I focused on building up muscle groups that had atrophied due to inactivity. Fatigue was an ever present enemy. 

The surgeon began to gradually wean me off the brace six weeks after surgery. 

Every week I would decrease the amount of time on the brace. Every week my neck would have to readjust to the additional weight and stress. 

Every week I would increase the distance that I was walking in the morning. I scheduled my walks during the times that I was not wearing the brace. 

At ten and a half weeks I retired the neck brace.  I thought it would now be easy. Instead I began a fresh  a season of physical and mental fatigue. 

I begin a month of physical therapy on Tuesday. 

In my recovery I have learned that it is not a sprint but a marathon. There are no shortcuts. 

Healing, building endurance and strength take time. 

There will always be one more mountain to climb. 

My Prayer for Myself

My season of recovery from my neck surgery gave me time for introspection and a deep dive into what God needs to change in me. This is my daily prayer for myself.

       That I will truly experience God as a good, good father. 

       That I  will not hate my body or it’s desires. But instead give thanks to God for the way I am created and all that entails. His design of me was intentional and good.

       That I will be able to really trust God and others. Life events have made that an ongoing struggle.

       That I will really believe that God will never love me anymore or any less than he did when he created me. So I don’t need to perform to be accepted and loved. 

       That I will be able to show loving kindness, that would be deeply felt in the heart, undeserved, unexpected and gratefully received by myself to my current and younger self.

       That I will understand that God is not disappointed in me, but disappointed for me. 

It is human nature that we find it easier to pray for others than ourselves. When we pray for ourselves we are face to face with our own frailities. We do not want to get our hopes up and be disappointed if God does not answer the way we want him too. 

But how can we truly pray with intensity and faith for others if we have not experienced it for ourselves? 

For a moment, just pretend that God was listening to your heart’s hurts and desires. There was no judgement. No recriminations. Just acceptance. What would you ask him to change? What would your prayer for yourself be?

The Shame Game

What is the oldest game known to man? Some would suggest “Hide and Seek”, since Adam and Eve hid from God and covered themselves in fig leaves. My wife playfully suggested “the Game of Life” or “Sorry”. For years  I called it “The Blame Game.” 

Once Adam and Eve sin, Adam blames Eve, and then tries to blame God since God gave him Eve. Eve in turn blames the Serpent who deceived her. Satan has no one to blame. He hasn’t got a leg to stand on. 

This a a great punchline. But as the years have passed by I’ve understood that Adam and Eve were the first to play “The Shame Game”.

In this game all of the participants are made to feel shame for their actions. 

We’ve all participated in this game. Sometimes as the author of shame or the center of it’s focus. 

We can easily move from “I did something bad” (healthy guilt) to “I am bad” (shame). 

We can make shame our identity because of what we have done, or what’s been done to us.

Some of us were raised with shame as a motivating factor. We were constantly compared to a standard of perfection or placed in a competition with a sibling. 

Some of us were physically, emotionally or mentally betrayed and hurt by a loved one or someone in a position of trust. 

Unless that hurt is addressed it can become the basis of our identity. We can grow up with a sense that we are damaged goods and feelings of unworthiness. 

We can build walls of protection around ourselves. We can withdraw from close relationships with others and God due to trust issues. 

Shame and a sense of identity can be complex issues. 

Identifying when we have used shame to motivate others, or when we are motivated to act because of our internal shame indicators is a great first step. 

Finding a new identity in a grace filled relationship is a powerful antidote.

We’ve all seen someone who was publicly shamed for something they did or was done to them. 

But sometimes that person’s public perception is redeemed by their association to someone we hold in high honor. They are no longer the person in shame but the person who is highly esteemed. 

For me the issue of shame is best addressed by constantly reminding myself that all of us are God’s creation. 

God considers all of us worthy of his love because of who He is, not because of what we have or have not done. 

Monday Morning Wisdom

Whoever said, “What can’t be cured must be endured”, obviously worked in ministry or customer service.

Why is it my personal musings sound so brilliant in my mind but fade when written in black and white? Maybe I should buy colored ink?

Smile often, especially when things go wrong. It will encourage others  and it will confuse and frustrate your enemies.

NONSENSE makes no sense and COMMONSENSE is anything but common.

Solomon’s Proverbs are short quips because Wisdom is found in brevity. Or else his many wives kept interrupting his train of thought.

Words may be cheap  but a misspoken word will cost you.

Thank goodness or spiritual maturity is not based on our sense of humor.

When life is hard find some place that has soft serve ice cream.

When others  can’t make up their minds they are indecisive.  When I do the same it is because I am being thoughtful and thorough.

Some people attract flies and mosquitoes.  I attract paint splatters, dirty laundry, dust bunnies and imaginary friends.

Stop waiting for permission or an invitation to use your God-given gifts and abilities.  Just do it now.