Repetitive Strain Life
Last Sunday, I put my back out. Terrible back spasms left me in tears and gasping for breath. When I was finally able to get to the Chiropractor, he told me that I had a repetitive strain injury. Basically, I had been doing the same motion for so long that I wore my back muscles out and they needed a break.
Guess what the repetitive motion was?
Come on. Guess.
If you guessed running, or weeding, or lawn-mowing, or mopping, or folding laundry, then I thank you. All of those options are infinitely more glamorous than what the REAL answer is.
If you guessed typing, I still thank you. You are far closer to the truth.
I put my back out, no kidding, from SITTING too much.
I may be the only person in the world who can get an injury from being LAZY.
Apparently, the fact that I sit at a desk for 8-10 hours a day, sometimes 6 days a week, and then I sit down to eat, and I sit down to watch TV, and I sit down to play card games with the family... All I do, all day, is sit.
And my back finally decided that holding that same position for all that time was just too much work.
The doctor made me promise that I would take regular breaks from sitting, and start incorporating some exercises into my life that would strengthen my back muscles. He also suggested that I start some regular form of cardio and weight lifting to my life since I was demonstrating weakness when he tested my muscles. How humiliating.
As if I needed a Dr. to tell me that I was pathetically weak.
Stuck in bed and feeling a little loopy from the muscle relaxer, I started thinking.
Repetitive actions done for long periods of time cause muscle strain. Even repetitive INACTION causes muscle strain. Does the same apply to our spiritual muscles?
Most of my life is a repetitive strain. The same thing, day in and day out. Mundane activities, nose to the grindstone, every day like the one before.
We hold out hope for vacations and holidays to break the cycle. But those days are too short, too few and far between.
How does this affect our spiritual beings? How does it affect our hearts?
I'm thinking today of the ways I need to change my routine to avoid future strain on my back. But I am also considering the ways I need to change my life to avoid future strain on my spirit.
Maybe I need to take a "rest" from my striving every 15-20 minutes and offer up some prayer or praise. Maybe I need to change "positions" every once in a while and relate to God in a new way. Instead of journaling, maybe I need quiet contemplation. Instead of up-tempo praise music, maybe I need spirit-soaking rest.
My mother in law recently sent me the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I haven't finished reading it yet, but it is challenging me to approach my relationship with God from a different perspective; ignoring none of the "disciplines" that allow me to grow in God. Maybe I need to add more disciplines to my spiritual life so I don't fall into a repetitive strain that causes shallow, painful living.
Maybe we need to radically change our daily lives so that we aren't lost in the muck and mire of living. Perhaps we need to travel to a third world nation and see how the rest of the world lives. Perhaps we need to open our eyes to the need all around us and creatively consider how we can make a difference.
Something. Big. To break the repetitive strain.
When our spiritual lives become repetitive, and we aren't strengthening all our muscles, we run the risk of REALLY painful spasms. Addictions. Affairs. Perversity. Materialism. Greed. Covetousness. These "injuries" cause pain that can take a lifetime to heal.
I'm determined that I won't suffer from painful spasms in my spiritual life, or to be told years from now that I'm in the trouble I'm in because I was too weak.
Who's with me?
If you can relate to the feeling of a repetitive strain life, I'd love to hear about it! Or if you've had a repetitive strain injury in your spiritual life that prompted you to make a change, please leave a comment and tell me about it. I love to hear from my Sisters for Real.