Archive for January, 2011

How are your muscles?

I have never been able to touch my toes, well, or even come close.  Maybe I could when I was a gumby baby like most are in the early months of life.  But after that … not a chance.

My hip flexers and hamstrings are REAAAAALY tight.  They have been for as long as I can remember, and I have had to deal with sleepless nights, and pain, and trying to make stretching a habitual part of life.  You know, the habits always get better when the pain level gets higher.

Recently, the pain level got high enough that I decided to do physical therapy.  I had gone to the doctor years ago about it, but now I needed something current.  I can only imagine what my therapist was thinking when she did the evaluation.  Probably two things:  “wow, this girl is TIGHT and could anyone really be THAT weak in their core?”  Being the kind-hearted soul that she is, she didn’t say a word to that effect, but I sure wonder what was going on in her head.

So, I have been going for three months or so.  I arrive and do a bunch of stretches and muscle strengthening exercises, she pommels me for a while and then I go relax on their ice block.  During one of the sessions, I decided to ask her what the logic was behind the strengthening exercises.  I understood the stretches.  Of course.  My muscles are tight, they need to be stretched.  But why did it matter if I strengthened my core, or my hip muscles, or anything else?  I had no problem with the strengthening as a good idea for general health, but I was missing the connection.

As she began to share the logic, it made a lot of sense.  The stretching gets the muscles loosened up and re-aligned to a healthier balance.  But because they have been in a particular position for such a long time, it will take STRENGTH to keep them in the new position.  If I do all the stretches, but don’t build the strength to hold them where I want them to be, they will simply go back to all the old patterns.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?

She was describing an important principle that plays out in the physical AND spiritual realms.  You can do all the fixing you want, but if you don’t put some new practices, character, or “muscles” in place, you are going to go right back into the place you were trying to get out of.

I see this a lot in the kind of work I do.  People want deliverance, but they don’t want to change their lifestyle.  They want the renunciations, but they don’t want to learn the material.  Or they want the anointing without all the hard hours and pain of earned authority.  It just doesn’t work that way.  You can’t sustain the change unless you have built some strength to hold it – whether that is growth, maturity, spiritual authority or character.

My therapist may be dealing with physical muscles, and I may be dealing with emotional and spiritual muscles, but we are talking about the exact same thing.

So, I want to encourage you to examine your perspective regarding this principle.  Are there areas of your life where you need to focus a little less intently on the initial deliverance or breakthrough and find out how you need to be building the muscles to sustain the change when it comes?  Or perhaps instead of asking God for a certain kind of anointing or authority, what if you were to ask Him how He wants you to earn it?

Do an inventory.  See how strong your muscles are, and whether or not you can maintain the things you are asking for.  God is looking for people with strength as well as freedom and power!

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