I recently made a trip to the chiropractor. The reason? You guessed it, my back was hurting. Now in the past I wouldn’t have gone out of the way to seek help. For a couple reason’s: I knew my body and what I could recover from; I had a general distrust of medical practices; I was stubborn; and probably the biggest reason…. I could never afford it. But being in Australia, and having to pay $500 for student health insurance to have a visa, I figured the visit would be covered.(It was, thank God!). Now by the time I actually went to my appointment my back was feeling better. I had taken it easy that whole week but knew something was probably not right. Now that I’m on the other side of 25 I figured I should look into these things a little more. I’m glad I did. After chatting through some stuff with the Physio and having him test certain movements I learned that my back problem wasn’t so much of my back. My previous profession was firefighting and on one occasion I had damaged my hamstring ( Me vs Tree, I won but the tree made his mark). My body, doing what it was designed to do, made a slight adjustment to protect my hamstring from further damage as it was healing. That means I favored my right side more and my back had to pick up more of a load to guard my leg. Now isn’t that an amazing thing? My body knew that it was in trouble so it took action subconsciously to protect part of itself. The problem was after my hamstring had healed I was so used to favoring one side that I kept on like that, completely oblivious. My left side hamstring pretty much became lazy and wasn’t pulling its weight, literally. Now it was minor so it wasn’t very noticeable. But 6 years later in was starting to show. Little things become big things with the power of time. Hence the pain in my back. Now I could have taken it easy, changed my activity, taken some pain killers to avoid what my body was telling me and gone on with life. But then I wouldn’t have found out what was going on and that could have led to a major back problem.
I think we do this with lots of things in our lives. In the book “The Untethered Soul” Micheal Singer shares an analogy of a man with a thorn in his arm. The thorn is hitting a nerve so the slightest brush causes severe pain. Instead of getting the thorn removed he built a device around it so nothing could touch it. He changes the way he walks and the activities he does to avoid anything coming into contact with his arm. He controls his external environment to free the troubles of this thorn he has. You getting the idea? While sculpting his life to avoid pain he actually began boxing himself and limiting his life.
All of us in life are going to be wounded emotionally in some way. Most of it happens as children and we have no control over it. We burry this pain and this fear and don’t let anything come into contact with it. When we cover up our problems we end up building our entire lives around the problem. Whenever someone tries to touch your ‘thorn’ instead of embracing the pain to let it rise and be pulled out, you bury it even deeper with anger or distraction. We all know how this looks. Fits of rage, drugs, throwing yourself into work, avoiding people, hobbies that are more like addictions, etc. People come up with he craziest relationships and life choices to avoid facing their fears and suppressed pain. I’m not condemning the use of pain killers and other medications in the assistance of healing but by looking at the statistics and personal stories, we have a problem with avoiding pain. Especially emotional pain.
The apostle Paul had another approach to this, He himself also had a thorn.
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Now we aren’t quite sure what this “thorn” was that Paul was taking about. The Greek word he uses is Sklopos, which could be translated to something that frustrates and causes trouble. But Paul didn’t try to hide it. He let God work through his weakness. Actually making it a strength.
We all harbor some sort of pain and bitterness that comes from living in this life. If you’ve made it this far without taking a hit let me know your secret. But when we give that broken heart and pain to the restorative power of Jesus we can be made whole again. When we expose the pain to the light it’s going to hurt more but that’s the first step to healing. You need to pull the thorn out and clean the wound before bandaging it. You need to reset the bone before applying a cast. Now that doesn’t always look like a zap and the heart is automatically better but when the full weight of forgiveness hits you, its going to shake some things loose. A burden is lifted and you can began the healing process. Grace in its purest form is the thing of miracles. Thats why we need community so much. We can’t do this by ourselves. Life is a journey and we need to surround ourselves with people who want to do it right.
I never would have found out about my back problems if I didn’t seek help. If I just changed my lifestyle, or found ways to numb the pain, I never would have found a solution. I never would have found the tools and support to walk out of a depression if I didn’t go to a psychologist and do some heart digging. I wouldn’t be able to do any of it without the wisdom and comfort that comes from the Holy Spirit and the people I chose to speak into my life.
Tony Robbins says- “You always get out of life exactly what you tolerate.” You’ve learned to tolerate living with your fears and internal conflicts. As a result, you’ve settle for a live far beneath your potential.
What are the thorns in your life? What have you been avoiding? What have you buried and need to bring to the light and allow healing to take place? Would you rather keep living life with the pain of people brushing your thorn or are you willing to embrace the pain of removing it to seek restoration? Don’t do it alone. Some of your emotions are secondary and are rooted in another problem all together. Just like my back was going out because of my leg. Get some help. People are gifted and trained to help you walk out whats happening internally. We invest so much into our external life like clothes, cars, and cosmetics but we don’t invest in the most important thing we have, our minds and hearts.
Pain is there to let you know something is wrong. Emotions are there to serve us, not to control us. I’m not a psychologist and I know each person’s pain is unique to there experience. Whatever has happened to you doesn’t need to end there, it can be used for something good. (Romans 8:28) Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
I’m writing this to hopefully get someone thinking and moving to healing and restoration. We need you at your best because there is no one else like you. Don’t let fear win.