Just Another Day

It was supposed to be just another day at the gym. Then all of a sudden, as I was fervently lifting weights, I felt this warm burning sensation rush down my lower back and my legs began to buckle. Thankfully, I was able to put the weight I was holding back up on the squat rack. Immediately afterwards, I found myself lying across the carpet. I tried to stretch and pray…pray and stretch. I was hoping for a favorable outcome. Although my mind was willing, my body just wasn’t able to recover. The intolerable pain was enough to make a grown man cry.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that brought you to your knees and all you could do was attempt to stretch out? Maybe it wasn’t physical pain that brought you to your knees. Possibly the emotional pain from the loss of a loved one, a divorce or the pain of a miscarriage? Could it have been the pain of financial hardship (i.e. bankruptcy, foreclosure etc.) that has brought you to your knees. Or, perhaps you’ve said I do, but found yourself depleted by your fears. The truth is your reality doesn’t match your ideology. Now it seems like at every direction, you face something, someone or areas of your life that consistently plague you and call attention to your pain.  

It would be foolish for me to believe that I’m the only person who has ever experienced thoughts of discouragement and the twinge of pain. In fact, there was a period of time when I couldn’t say that one was more excruciating than the other, until now. However, if I had to be totally honest with you, one of the hardest challenges that I’ve ever faced wasn’t the actual throb of pain itself. It was the MEMORIES attached to the pain, thoughts of the unknown, and my worst fears becoming truth.

Granted, in this situation, it was pain that  brought me to my knees, but I also now understand that in the past my thoughts created the paralysis that imprisoned me. I’ve often heard sayings like, “If you don’t capture your thoughts, your thoughts will ultimately capture you.” “If it doesn’t kill you, it will only make you stronger.” In that moment at the gym, both were thoughts that my pain allowed me to reject. However, the pain was not only physical, it was also mental. Later, as I laid in the bed feeling physically helpless, images of the past and my father in his wheelchair quickly scrolled across my mind. Immediately I began to think of what if this…or what if that?

Sidebar: Have you ever wondered how two people can have the exact same experience and one of them are able to move forward and the other cannot? That’s because the pain of a memory can sabotage your purpose. This is when your spirit is willing, but your body or mind is not able.

Pain With Or Without Purpose

In the same manner, there are many people who claim to be believers of God, but only accept a portion of God’s Word. They have hope for others but struggle to “rest assured” for themselves. In other words, they believe in the miracles of Jesus, but won’t accept the healing power of Jesus for their circumstance. They know that life and death are held in the power of the tongue, but continue to perpetuate negative speaking, critical thinking and embrace non-affirming emotions.

In another narrative, there are those that realize that today is NOT just another day. Today is the day the the Lord has made. These individuals have learned how to rejoice in the Lord and be grateful for the things He has done. They are the ones that look for ways to demonstrate their spiritual maturity in times of uncertainty. They are the individuals that won’t open their mouth and insert their foot. They give careful consideration to the Word of God by esteeming others before themselves. They are not necessarily super spiritual, but they do concentrate on feeding their spirit. Pain and discomfort, whether physical or emotional, is directly affected by our thought lives and mental preparedness.

As I looked at my own narrative, I was instructed by the doctor to get some rest. Several hours later I realized that something was severely wrong. I noticed that after I attempted to sit up towards the edge of the bed, I could not. That’s when I came to the realization that today was NOT going to be just another day. Especially, after I could not physically do what I had always done. I was perplexed! Even with the medication the stiffness and the pain had continued to set in. I was beginning to find my mind following suit, slipping into an emotional spiral. That’s when I put my headset on and began to summons spiritual fortitude with some good gospel music. (See previous blog titled: Do You Realize What You Have?) Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. Although our physical bodies and minds are two separate entities they have a close and symbiotic connection.

Creating and Keeping Mental Preparedness

Conversely, have you ever found yourself in a relationship where you were limited by circumstances beyond your control? Perplexed with what to do next as you found yourself slipping away into an emotional spiral. Far too many relationships never fully reach their potential because they are troubled by the lingering sting of hurt. Sadly numberless people, in agonizing discomfort, embrace the philosophy of self-medication. When the truth of the matter is they’re only making matters worse.

I wish I could profess to you that I was a meta-human, but I’m not. I wish I could tell you that I’m super spiritual, but I’m not. I wish I could tell you that I’ve always had all the right answers, but I cannot. Nor am I asking you to pretend that your thoughts don’t exist. I am challenging you to reframe how you handle your thoughts.

So how do you handle your thoughts, face your fears and overcome your emotions? In closing, here are 3 quick tips that I’ve learned.

  1. Create a space in your heart and a place in your home for God. God knows your need, sees your weakness but will never force himself on you. Most would agree that your home is typically known as a place to rest, but how can someone truly rest without knowing the Prince of Peace (Jesus Christ)? What I’ve discovered is the way I view others is tied to what I believe about myself. What I believe about myself is connected to the space in my heart for Jesus Christ and the place in my home dedicated for my devotions. This relationship affords me confidence so that I can cast all my cares on Jesus.
  2. Don’t let a thought linger too long before being challenged. Any thought that has anything to do with my fears, has absolutely nothing to do with my faith. Why? Because fear and faith cannot coexist. Therefore, every thought must be put under subjection. 2 Corinthians 10:5: “5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”. Capture your thoughts before they form judgment out of your mouth.
  3. The sooner you create a good memory from a bad thought the greater your chances are of changing your conscious behavior. How do you turn a bad thought into a good memory? You have to memorize patterns of successful thinking that led you to a healthy outcome. One of the first things I say to myself is, “This too shall pass.” So, how can it pass if I hold on to the painful memories and emotions? I talk it out, so I don’t act it out. I make a conscious effort to choose the good.

Summing It All Up

Philippians 4:8-9 says it perfectly:

“Summing it all up, friends, you’ll do your best by filling your minds and meditating on the things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you’ve learned from me today. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work things out for your good.” I’m a living testimony – Today, I’m walking because I just didn’t nurse my pain. I fed my mind. But more significantly, because of God’s unmerited grace!