There are times God puts us in a mandatory “time out” for a bit.
It was a normal Saturday with tasks laid out before us. The day before I had picked up a load of mulch to finish the Ninja Course play area to make the it safer in the event of a fall… like a fall would ever happen. 🙂
I woke up, went and picked up pancakes for my boys that a good friend of ours blessed us with. When I got home I noticed by lower back was tightening up. Steph, my wife, took the trash out of the can and handed the full bag to me to take out. When I grabbed it someone from behind me stuck multiple knives in my lower back… Not really, but you get the picture, the bag went straight to the floor and my back went out. I couldn’t even get myself on the floor, so Steph helped. I was able to slowly crawl to a slightly more comfortable place in the living room and there I was… Having to just lay there while my amazing wife and kids hauled, raked, and laid out the mulch. Not being able to help brought me pain, but not nearly as much as my lower back spasms.
What just happened? What was I going to do?
Would I be better by Monday to work with my clients who count on me to construct strength and conditioning? As the day progressed it did not get better. I ended up cancelling Monday’s sessions but worked all day Tuesday with help from a trainer and good friend that was able to assist me and help lead everyone through the movement patterns. Thanks Karman! But with the arrival of Wednesday morning at 4:00am, I came to see maybe an “all day” Tuesday schedule was not the best idea, I was in bad shape, so I had to, once again, cancel clients.
Almost a week later on Thanksgiving, I was still sitting in a chair with a heating pad on my lower back. Better? a little. Able to walk? kinda. Ready to work again? Not yet.
Through this physical issue God is showing me I have some weaknesses that need to be addressed. Not only physical but spiritual as well, but they do coincide.
Here is what I am learning:
I do not spend enough time on “core” strengthening so my foundation is compromised.
Don’t get me wrong, I have worked-out everyday since January 1, doing a minimum of 30 pull-ups, 30 push ups and running at least 2 miles every day. I was already on a running streak that would hit 2 years in a row of running every day, on that Saturday, but I had a calf injury that stopped that goal short by 6 days. That’s another story, for another time, involving a warped wall.
If you don’t know, your spine is protected, in part, by your transverse abdominal muscles. It takes very specific training to engage and strengthen that area. PLANKS! Its the most efficient and effective way to target the weakness.
“Be Still and Hold” It’s hard for me to just “be still”. I want to be pushing or pulling or sprinting or jumping. But by not intentionally building strength, which in turn builds support in my deepest core foundation, I was creating muscle imbalance, which in turn, left me vulnerable to injury.
Ok, now can we see this working out on the spiritual side of our lives? One of my favorite verses is Psalm 46:10 “BE STILL and KNOW I am God.” Again, It’s difficult for me to “be still”. And when I try, it’s easy for me to be distracted by a “squirrel” that I get up and scurry after, leaving my “be still” time in the dust of “doing.” I am not called to “do” I am called to “be”… It’s been said that “we are human-beings not human-doings.
I must stop and be intentional about knowing God, about knowing Truth (a relationship, not just know about God). What I really believe will always manifest in my behavior. So if I’m struggling with out-of-control behaviors or thoughts, then I know my “core” beliefs are “off” or weak. I will always act on my “core beliefs” – what I truly believe about myself, about others, about my circumstances, and most importantly about God (whether it’s based on Truth or not).
If I choose to stop and examine my “symptoms” (revealed by the way I act) and ask: where are my imbalances? Is my spiritual “core” foundation strong? Am I drawing my core strength from the Lord? And if not, how can I intentionally strengthen and focus my “life-training” towards those weak and unstable areas.
As I KNOW and apply TRUTH to EVERY area of my life, daily, I will be nurturing overall strength that will enable me to stand upright, firm and ready!
So what I’ve learned from my time-out?
I need to be intentional with my daily training (physical and spiritual), apply a better overall approach to “being” prepared, strong, and protecting against injury by applying the whole armor of God.
Take a “time out” and look at the past two weeks of your living and see what your symptoms are revealing.
Be Still & Hold to the Truth:
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16
“You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen.” Deuteronomy 10:20-21
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.“ – Ephesians 6:10-13