I was so stiff and sore, I felt like I was creaking.
The culprit? The cinder blocks and dirt we had moved, wheel barrow by wheel barrow, the day before. Oh, it was beautiful to have the garden plot finished and filled with dirt, but every muscle screamed out in pain.
I tried everything: massage, stretching, resting, walking, even vacuuming. Nothing helped. There was only one thing to do: press onward, praying that the stiffness would work its way out, and that the ensuing crabbiness would dissipate. It didn’t work. I went to bed as creaky and crabby as I had gotten up, and the next morning was no better. Unfortunately we still had 3 cu metres of dirt to move, so early morning found us back at the job.
By noon, not only was the driveway clear of dirt, but my stiffness was almost completely gone!
Science will tell you that our muscles become stiff and sore after intense activity due to a substance called “lactic acid” that builds up in our muscles. I’m not sure about the science behind it all, but I know from experience that the best way to get rid of stiff and sore muscles is to go back and do more of the same activity that made you sore in the first place. Take, for example, when I used to ride horses once a week, I would be stiff and sore for the 3-4 following days. There were times, however, when I was blessed to be able to ride every day. Funny how I was never sore then… So it wasn’t any surprise that I was no longer stiff and sore after moving the rest of the dirt. It all made me wonder, however: Why did we rest up an entire day before going back to moving the rest of the dirt? I certainly would have felt better a lot sooner!
Well, we actually had a really good reason for waiting: That day we took “off” from hauling dirt, it rained all day… We couldn’t have hauled dirt if we had wanted to. Besides getting soaked and the dirt being far heavier to move, the wet grass would have simply turned to mud under our feet.
There are days when my spirit is stiff and sore as well. These are the days when I can’t be nice to save my soul. Every little thing irritates me, and I fly off the handle for the tiniest things. It’s interesting to note that these days generally follow days where I’ve been on a spiritual high. It’s like I’m “exercising” those spiritual “muscles” and they are now stiff and sore!
So what is the “cure” for this kind of spiritual stiffness? What can make my spirit less “sore”?
Just like the muscles, the best “cure” is to “exercise” them further. Spending time with God, giving Him the things that are making us feel crabby, trusting in Him to make them better. It is a sure recipe for success!
So why, then don’t we just apply this “cure” immediately, when those “spiritual muscles” begin to scream? When the irritations creep in? When the worry returns?
It’s a question I ask myself daily. Unfortunately the answer is generally quite clear. In the same way the rain kept us from moving the rest of that dirt the day I woke up sore and stiff, there is something equally as vicious that keeps us from spending time with God and giving Him our hurts and irritations and worries: Pride! There is a part of us that feels we have the “right” to be crabby. There is this part that tells us we’re “entitled” to react this way — to be rude to others, to nag and yell. And if we allow God to help us trace this back far enough, we will see that pride is at the root. We are too proud to admit we need God’s help. We are too proud to admit, even to ourselves, that there is a problem. We’re too proud to admit the problem can actually be centred in ourselves! And we prefer to continue in the stiffness of our spirit rather than dig in with God and get to the root.
Remember that humility is a key element in our relationship with God. 2 Chronicles 7:14 describes what we need to in order for God to intervene in our lives: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron 7:14 ESV). Notice that humbling ourselves is the first thing on the list. The prophet Micah tells us, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 ESV). In other words, walking humbly with our God is not only “what is good”, but is also what the “Lord requires of you”!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be spiritually “stiff” and “sore”. I want that pride gone!
Dear Lord, when my spirit is “stiff and sore”, when I’m having trouble being nice, when I’m easily irritated and angered, help me to immediately come to You. Help me to let go and let You dig to the bottom of the problems, revealing any blackness in my spirit, and then help me to renounce this in Your holy name!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Moderator, Acting Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries