They appear out of nowhere. Somehow the tiny fibers in my neck and shoulders misbehave and tangle themselves in my sleep, and I can barely turn my neck from side to side or look over my shoulder. Regular yoga, stretching and applying heat help relieve some pain, but my efforts alone are never enough to detangle those insidious knots.
A former colleague suggested I try a licensed massaged therapist, and I used to scoff at the idea of professional massages. Like manicures and pedicures, they seemed like unnecessary and frivolous luxuries. It’s not the first time my mind has been changed. An LMT informed me that muscle tension comes from stress, negative emotions and lack of use. She asked me if I have been angry, discouraged, depressed or frustrated for a prolonged period of time as she kneaded, pressed and coaxed the muscle fibers to unwind underneath my flesh.
Yes, I confess that I am plagued by self-loathing, anxiety and fear over all aspects of life. Those emotions are not from a Divine origin. God gives me a spirit of love, not fear. God gives me spirit of boldness and confidence to serve Him (II Timothy 1:7). God is insulted when I try to be or long to be someone else other than who he created me to be. (Psalm 139). That’s the best antidote so far to help me stumble from despair and envy into self-acceptance.
I often ask God to help me see myself the way He sees me.
I must meditate on verses affirming God’s love for me. It’s like making an appointment with the LMT and laying postulate before Him on the table. I can’t overcome the negative emotions on my own, any more than I can snap my fingers to make the knots in my neck and shoulders disappear. I need God’s loving touch.
The same therapist once told me that I was one of few clients who relaxed into her touch, which made her job easier. At that time, my foot was recovering from a sprain. I was off crutches but still dealing with minor swelling. As she was kneading on my foot, she said most people don’t realize that they are out of alignment (physically) until they experience pain or an injury. It occurred to me that most of the time I’m not aware that I am spiritually “out of alignment” with God until I’m overcome with negativity.
Until I let go of bitterness, guilt and anxiety, I cannot be an effective servant for Him because they feel like excess baggage. But as much as I want to be rid of it, letting go is not always an easy process. For me, letting go does not mean struggling to forget or denial, but relaxing into God’s loving touch so that He can heal those wounds and restore me. Letting go means that I allow the lessons I learned from past pain and trials to move me forward into a new future.
I visualize Christ waiting for me to fall before his feet so he can love and free me.