Have you ever had a massage? For Christmas I was given a gift certificate for a spa treatment and after all these months I was finally able to redeem my gift.
It started out so relaxing but as the massage therapist began working on my shoulder it kinda hurt. My instinct was to tense up and then I remembered what I repeatedly taught my prenatal clients at the hospital all those years ago. “Relax your body and the pain will not be as intense”, I would tell them as they sat on the floor breathing rhythmically, surrounded by pillows.
Okay, some of you may be rolling your eyes at this point. But hear me out.
If we experience tension or pain our first (natural) instinct typically is to stop breathing and tighten up. Imagine driving on the 401 and someone cuts you off. Chances are that your very first response will be to hold your breathe and tense up. Then the adrenaline hits, and we won’t discuss your responses after that! ;)
Or say you are walking along minding your own business and you turn your foot on something on your path. You’ve twisted you ankle severely. Chances are your first response will be to hold your breath and tense your body. When your body tenses, the pain experience is usually intensified. However, if your body is relaxed and you breathe normally, the intensity of the pain will be less.
As the massage therapist worked the knots in my shoulders, my natural response was to tighten up. I actually held my breath. When I relaxed my shoulders and began breathing again, I still felt it – but it was not nearly as strong. I relaxed and put my trust in her very capable hands. My body yielded and the knots were released.
As I lay there I began to think of the scripture that refers to God as the Potter and how we are the clay (check out Isaiah 64:8). I began to think of how we as believers need to yield constantly to the Potter’s hand. We can fight, run, tense up and get stressed or we can surrender ourselves to His will. We can choose to trust that God is control and that He is shaping us, molding us, preparing us for His service. Will we still feel pain? Perhaps yes, but surrendering to His faithfulness will allow us to deal with it better.
We are like clay in God’s hands. Yield to Him. Allow Him to create you into the person He would have you be, a person shaped for the purpose of bringing glory and honour to Him.