“How long ago did you injure your foot?” Ken, the tall volleyball player, was talking with me after one of our Fresh Start East Asia seminars. It had been a long day, and I was exhausted. I was weary of limping through the snow-covered streets. I was tired of lagging behind everyone else. My whole body ached from trying to protect my sprained foot, wrapped in ace bandages and encased in my special walking boot.
When Ken heard that it had been over a month since my injury, he shook his head in disbelief. “You know, when I play volleyball, I often twist my ankle or sprain my foot. But I’m usually playing again in just two weeks.”
I was amazed. “How do you do it?”
“First of all, you need to get rid of that boot,” he instructed. “You can’t protect your foot forever, or the muscles will get weak from lack of use. It’s time to put some pressure on it.”
Ken then showed me how to stretch until I get to a point where it hurts, and then push even more. He demonstrated how I should massage the foot, concentrating on the tender spots. “It will be painful, but you have to be willing to press into the pain if you really want to get better.”
Healed Through Pain
It was counter-intuitive. Stretch until it hurts? Press into the pain? Every instinct told me to avoid pain at all costs. Reluctantly, I followed Ken’s advice. And slowly, my foot started to get stronger. By the end of the 17-day East Asia trip, I was walking quickly, keeping pace with my teammates, and even jogging up the stairs!
Sometimes I treat my heart the way I treated my sprained foot. When I’ve experienced pain or loss, I want to wrap up and protect my heart so that no one can hurt me again. Everything in me resists dragging up those stinging memories and ugly emotions. But if I’ll allow Him, the Holy Spirit goes in deep to reveal what needs to be healed. And the Father gently massages those tender areas where I’ve been wounded. He helps me to stand and walk again, getting stronger as I step into forgiveness and freedom.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12 NIV