Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Painful Peace

There I was on the massage table for the first time, a place I swore was stupid and unnecessary for anyone. But the ENT told me my issue could just be a nerve reaction to tight muscles, so I was giving it a try. The massage therapist moved his skillful firm hands up and down my back slowly. I could feel the tightness alleviating. Then he hit one spot that brought pain. With my groaning announcement he returned to the exact location and applied more pressure.

Can you say pa-innnn? Sensations of discomfort shot out in all directions, like sunbeams spilling out from behind clouds. Until that moment, I thought massages were suppose to be relaxing. At least, that's what I'd always heard. The pain from that one spot reached out to my hip and jaw all at once. I wanted to jump off the table and run as far away from the therapist's hands as I could get. My thoughts scrambled like water beads on an oily surface as I fought to gather them together while tension raced through my body. Then the therapist tells me, "Relax." Relax!? I thought he was nuts. "Relax and take slow deep breaths." He said in a calm quiet voice.

Despite my feelings to the contrary I tried it anyway. And as tough as those instructions were, he was right. As I took deep breaths and focused on relaxing in the midst of those shooting pains I experienced the sunbeams returning to their starting point and then fading away to a fraction. By the end of that first session, my initial problem wasn't solved but it was not as great a problem as it had been when I first entered that massage establishment.

That was many years ago and I have since become a big advocate of massages. They have made a difference in my overall well being. I have learned so much about the body and how a tight nerve-muscle knot in one location can affect the pain you experience in a completely different location of the body.

You may be wondering what my whole point in this story is. Well, currently I'm attending a Bible study on 1 Peter. And the lesson's focus the other week dealt with being at peace when you are going through tough times. That seems like a difficult thing to grasp. Our eyes so often are transfixed on our immediate problems...getting a job, keeping peace in the family, paying all the bills on our income while trying to enjoy life, raising a child, teaching a teenager to drive, the list goes on.

God calls us to look to Him. To lean on Him. To call to Him when we have trouble. And more importantly, to not worry about what tomorrow will bring. (Matthew 6:34) When I was dwelling on these verses I remembered my massages and how important it was to relax. If I can learn to relax and deep breath as I ask God to help me with my concerns then maybe all that's left for me to do is watch Him work and take care of things. That sounds so stress free and so much more peaceful than spending hours worrying about the what-if's. I need to practice this more often, with the big things and little things. How about you? Have you given it a try?