Friday, June 15, 2007


Last weekend I strained my lower back trying to be twenty-five years old in the gym instead of forty-five. I have never experienced lower back pain and it was quite uncomfortable. As I lay on my stomach Saturday night with ice packs on my back and Angela’s admonitions in my ears (“you need to start taking it easier,” etc.), I wondered what I should learn from this experience. Not to sound melodramatic, but I even asked God, “Lord, what do you want to teach me through this?”

You see, I don’t think God caused this injury to occur, but I do think he can teach me something through it. The popular saying these days is, “Everything happens for a reason.” I am uncomfortable with that sweeping pronouncement simply because it implies that God (or a cosmic force, or fate, since it is uttered by non-believers as well as believers) is orchestrating everything that happens. But my belief is that God does not orchestrate everything that happens (was he causing me to lift more weight than I should have?) but rather that he can help us find some good in everything that happens. In other words, he will help us redeem our experiences. As Paul tells us in Romans 8:28: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” (TNIV).

At any rate, as I sought treatment from a chiropractor this week, and marveled at how effective their “adjustments” can be, what became obvious to me is that I have neglected my flexibility and allowed myself to become stiff and tight. This is a prescription for injury. One of the things I have vowed (in the manner of the Psalmist, “O Lord, if you will deliver me from this I will…”) is to spend regular time in stretching and becoming more supple.

And it occurred to me (this is what I perceive God can teach me through this) that this resolve should far transcend the physical realm. You see, we can become tight and inflexible in other ways too. How flexible are you in your thinking? In your relationships? In your opinions? The definition of supple is “capable of being bent or folded without creases, cracks, or breaks; easy and fluent without stiffness or awkwardness.” Think of the legs of a dancer. Are you a supple person or a stiff person? Stiff breaks when it has to bend; supple bends and twists while retaining its form and shape. Supple has strong convictions but can wrap itself around and evaluate other viewpoints. Stiff has strong convictions but cannot bend.

Here are some ways to increase your flexibility, to pursue suppleness. 1) Vary your habits; routines are good servants but poor masters. Drive a different route to work. Sit in a different pew in church! Read editorials you know you won’t agree with. Talk to people you don’t have much in common with – and listen closely to them. Ask yourself often “What could I be failing to see?” in a certain line of reasoning. Assume other people have good reasons for their opinions and actions instead of dismissing them. A wise person once said, “Everyone is in some sense my master, and from that I may learn from them.”

We all could benefit from periodic adjustments. I think of Jesus as strong and supple.


Blogger DeShee said...

At least you don't have to "start taking it easier" for technology :

(well, to be honest, this will only strain your brain and not every muscle in your body. LOL.)

6:47 PM  

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