Last week I tweaked my back. I’m old and fat so I don’t even have a cool story to go with that statement. I wish I could say I was lifting a crashed car off a small child, or fighting off a marauding mob of zombies or something cool and exciting like that, but as I said, I’m old and I’m fat so apparently brushing my teeth is all the exertion my back needs to go into painful spasms.
I spent three days either on the couch or propped up in bed. By the fourth day, I was equally parts discouraged and frustrated. Anyone who has had back problems understands that when your back is out nothing is easy. To add insult to injury I may have given myself a hernia trying to get out of bed... yes, I was feeling very sorry for myself! So on the fourth day, I had had enough, I decided to get up! Admittedly three days of ibuprofen and two tubes of ben-gay were starting to help, so I got up and took the hottest and longest shower that I can remember ever taking. That’s when I noticed that the more I moved the better I felt. It seems counterintuitive but apparently moving is good for sore and stiff muscles. So I kept on moving, and stretching, and forcing myself to get up and walk when I really wanted to sit comfortably on a couch. I’m not totally better yet, it’s not super comfortable and it still hurts, but it’s getting better, and my mood has improved greatly too!
I tell you all this because as we are continuing our journey through 2020 many of us may be feeling “out of shape”. Not just physically but emotionally or spiritually too. It’s no coincidence that we use the expression “bent of out shape” to describe someone who may be physically well but emotionally or spiritually tweaked. So my challenge to us all is to not sit around frustrated, discouraged, and isolated, but let us engage our will against our own feelings, and let’s push through the discomfort, and let’s re-engage with life and each other. The devil is trying to keep us discouraged, to keep us isolated, to keep us feeling sorry for ourselves, and perhaps even to keep us offended. We must always remember that fear and anxiety are tools of the enemy, and faith, hope, and love will cause us to rise about any attack of the enemy.
The word paradox means “A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well-founded or true.”
Life is full of paradoxes, and sometimes to the right thing or the best thing to do is the very thing that doesn’t make sense to us at the time!
Here are a few paradoxes we have all experienced
My back hurts.
When I go for a walk I find that my back doesn’t hurt anymore.
But I don’t want to go for a walk... because my back hurts.
I should go to bed.
But I don’t want to stand up and go to bed... because I’m tired.
I’m bored and unmotivated..
I should do an activity I enjoy.
But I don't want to do anything... because I’m bored and unmotivated.
I feel sad.
I should do something with my friends.
But I don’t want to do anything with my friends... because I feel sad.
Perhaps the greatest paradox of all is that we live by faith and not by sight! Which is why the bible tells us to “lift our eyes” ... to take our eyes of the visible reality and begin walking in faith!