The Message in the Pain in My Back
It was 7:30 am and Thad and I were already having “a discussion”. Not a great way to start the day. Maybe it was because we were rushing around getting dressed, feeding and walking the dogs, cleaning the cat litter boxes, making breakfast…and all before an 8:30 am appointment. Since we’ve retired, we don’t do mornings with quite the same expediency or efficiency as we did when we worked. We hadn’t even taken the time to open the day in prayer. “A day hemmed in prayer is less likely to unravel “– anonymous. We were unraveling to say the least.
It all began with a statement in the mail on an account we thought we had closed. Thad had chosen to look for the sign-on and password to get into this account right in the middle of what I affectionately call our “farm chores”. He was rummaging through the various files and pulling files out but not necessarily returning them to their rightful place. Seeing this, I became nervous because filing and office organization is not his strong suit while it is my field of expertise. He was in my space! So I told him in a snarky sort of way that “7:30 am was not the time to try to straighten this out.” I was not nice. Truth is, I can be sharp tongued especially when I feel like I am losing control. And yes, I have issues that God and I are working on which is precisely why this was happening!
Where could that file be? Having thought the account was closed; I told Thad that I had probably put the file in the large storage file box in the garage. Since we were headed out the garage to walk the dogs, I would get the box and take a quick look. Multi-tasking is my specialty and control 101 was my major in college with a minor in Organizational Studies. I pulled the box off the second shelf and let it drop on the floor. Boy, it was heavy! But there in the box was the file with the sign-on and password right on the first page! Am I good or what? By this time, Thad had the dogs leashed and it was his turn to tell me that “7:30 am was not the time to straighten this out”. Harrumph! I ignored him. The box was down and being the organizational nut, I had to put the box away. After all, I could not leave the job unfinished. I lifted the box and when I leaned forward to return it to the second shelf I felt something in my back pull apart and then go back – but not quite like it had been. Uh-Oh!
Over the next few days I spent time with icepacks, anti-inflammatory, the chiropractor and thinking about my behavior. Bent over like a 97 year old orangutan; pride was replaced by humility and my sharp tongue was replaced with introspection and repentance. How awful had I been to chastise my husband for something I then did and justified doing myself! I was reminded of Jeremiah 10:23-24 NLT “I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle”. In pulling out my back, God sent me a message. Message received, Lord.
How does God feel when we decide we are in control and we can do it all by ourselves without Him or anyone else? Do we react by making immediate decisions in our life rather than patiently taking time to sort out our feelings, take control of our tongue, and spend time in prayer to seek God’s guidance? And what shall we lose if we give up control? Not our dignity that’s for sure. I lost that when I became snippy and snarky with my husband. How blessed we are to have a God who does not lose patience with us. He loves us despite our illusions of control, and need to be ruler of our universe.
It’s been a while since this all happened but I ran across a devotion by Lysa Terkeurst that brought God’s message home to me. In it she talks about our daily choices that we make and to use God’s wisdom to make those choices. In this devotion she writes “Today’s choices will take me down one of two paths. Either I will travel the path of becoming more like Christ…or the one of becoming less like Christ.” The Lord knows I need His help daily to be more like Christ and make wise choices in all that I do and say.
Ephesians 4:2 NLT tells us: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
I asked forgiveness from Thad and God. Both show me much undeserved mercy and grace.