SHINE: Open by the Spirit — When Your Body Speaks, Listen!

SHINE! … By the Spirit™ with Tonya M. Evans

When Your Body Speaks, Listen!

© 2010 Tonya M. Evans

May 17, 2010

Woman holding head, feeling anxious

This week began with the best of intentions. I had a list of to-dos as long as my arm. But I was actually looking forward to each one. Best of all, the week was to culminate in a weekend trip to upstate New York with my family (including my 90+ year old grandmother) to witness and celebrate the college graduation of my grandmother’s fifth and final grandchild!

But first I had planned to do some yard work (weeding and light landscaping); spring cleaning that included sweeping, mopping, dusting and transforming my finished basement-turned-storage space and would-be home office into functional, clutter free spaces; and I planned to enjoy some uninterrupted time immersed in my scholarly research and writing to meet an unexpected expedited deadline. And because I operate on an academic calendar, all of this was actually doable because classes are over and the season for grading, graduation and summer vacation has arrived.

I awoke early on Monday refreshed and ready to go. Little did I know the Creator had other plans for my week. And this “alternate plan” included rest, recuperation … and more rest. Unfortunately, I was the last to know! Long story short I was in the kitchen planning to prepare my morning protein shake. I bent down to retrieve the blender from a lower cabinet and BAM … a sharp pain spread throughout my hip and lower back area and I could hardly stand.

I’d felt a similar pain one year before and knew this was the type of condition that could improve in a day or linger for much longer. And whatever the prognosis (spasm or sciatic nerve issue), it did not fit into my plans.  To add insult to injury I caught a change of seasons cold that seemed tailor-made to leach the last bit of “yes I can” from my get up and go.

But still I tried to push through it, continuing to do way more than I should have or needed to under the circumstances. I was wise enough to know I couldn’t do anything involving manual labor, but I decided I could do other things; do some grading, financial planning, website building, marketing, calendaring, e-mail follow-up and what not. But the pain continued, and even worsened for a time. I could never get comfortable for long when I was actually awake and the muscle relaxers made sure I spent most of my day sleeping anyway.

I experienced every emotion from restlessness to guilt to feeling like I was unproductive and just wasn’t trying hard enough. All I could think was what a waste of a perfectly good week! But after a few days of this I gave in to the reality that my mind was trying to accomplish what my body could not. My body’s message was clear. STOP. Rest. Be still. Not only could my plans wait, there was no other choice. My body had been pushed to capacity for weeks, dare I say months. And finally, when there was a sufficient break in the action and a legitimate lull, I quickly attempted to fill up again! My body and God said finally … enough.

This episode was a powerful reminder that although busyness and multitasking is encouraged and celebrated in our society, often such a pace comes with a huge price to our health. Instead, we must keep OPEN the channels of inner communication with our physical selves to know what our body needs (water, food, exercise, laughter, vitamins, sunlight, medication, rest, medical attention etc.) and when. When we fail to heed the message, we suffer the consequences. And eventually we are forced to do what we should have had the presence of mind and spirit to do for ourselves: take care of ourselves and honor our temples.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

This week, thank God for your body with all of its perfect imperfections. Thank God for the life that flows through your veins. Thank God for the cycle of life in each breath and the cycle of life in each day that you wake and sleep and wake again. Pray that you are strong enough that God can use you for a divine purpose and that every fiber of your being may be used to shine loving light in and around you and in the lives of everyone with whom you come in contact.

If you are ill, communicate with your body to uncover any messages or lessons you might learn from physical manifestations of unforgiveness, stress, procrastination, fear, doubt, jealousy, limitation and lack. Call on God to heal you from the inside out by removing any blockages in your ability to hear and heed your body’s needs so that you are able to manifest health, wholeness, love and peace in all circumstances.

Always remember you are a miracle and your body is a temple. You are the light of the world. But you cannot serve God or be a shining example of His love if you are run down, exhausted and susceptible to injury and illness. So when your body speaks, listen so that you are not just ready and willing to serve God … but ABLE!

I welcome your comments. Please share the ways in which you intend to listen to your body and honor God by honoring your “temple.”

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