My physical therapist preached to me today.

Okay, so he didn’t know he was doing it. I was telling him about how I have been waking up with achy muscles in the morning since I started sleeping on my back.

He explained that maintaining this position would make my back stronger in the long run though it feels uncomfortable for now.

He then went on to explain that our brains are wired to do whatever possible to avoid pain. Therefore, my brain will instruct my body to change positions to be more comfortable.

He said that our brains are wired to do whatever possible to avoid pain.

However, in shifting positions, I could actually cause my back problem to get worse rather than better because the muscles that need to be strengthened are instead in a position of rest.

I paused and meditated on that a bit.

I asked myself, Am I doing the same thing in my emotional and spiritual life? Have I been looking for the quickest way to feel better?

But maybe the very thing that would make me feel temporarily better would actually hinder my growth.

But maybe the very thing that would make me feel temporarily better would actually hinder my growth.

Hmm…

This is a turning point. I must decide if I’d rather be strong and have endurance to run the race or simply seek out whatever will make me feel good at the time.

For me lately this has been seeking the approval of others. It became painfully obvious to me recently that I have sought out my fulfillment and approval from people rather than God.

And He had a solution for this. He allowed people to fail me.

God allowed people to fail me to show me how much I depended on the approval of others.

Woah. That made me sit up and pay attention. Boy did it hurt.

I have wanted to do everything I can to make the pain go away and make sure that I am liked and approved of by all men.

My default is to take responsibility and make everything my fault. Can anyone here relate?

None of these tactics have worked. But guess what? Jesus knows how I feel.

The prophet Isaiah foretold the suffering that Jesus would experience in life and on the cross:

He was A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. [Isaiah 53:3]

Perhaps people have failed you. Perhaps you feel alone.

You are not! He knows exactly how you feel.

The good news is that Isaiah goes on to say,

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. [Isaiah 53:4]

So what do we do when the going gets tough?

James 1:2-4 NIV says:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Ouch. This command does not permit us to go out seeking how we can feel good, but rather allowing God to use trials in our lives to grow us.

Notice that James implores us to let perseverance finish its work.

I have decided to take my PT’s advice and allow my body to continue to sleep in a restricted position at night. I know it’s going to hurt in the beginning.

But in the end my back will be stronger and better able to endure.

I realized today that God is wanting to do the same thing in my emotional and spiritual life.

It hurts right now. It feels uncomfortable.

However, if I seek relief from that pain, I will end up weaker in the long run and less fruitful for God.

Prayer for today:

God, forgive me for trying to run from the process you want to do in my heart to take me to greater depths in You and be more fruitful in Your kingdom.

Give me the strength and grace to endure this refining with fire.

Thank you for molding me and shaping me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Allow the following song to minister to your heart. Take this time to allow Father God to speak to you and know that you are not alone.

Image courtesy: Pixabay