18 08 2016

I’ve been attending a chiropractor for over a year now.  I started attending in my first year of teaching, because I had some pretty constant pain in my back due to an old work injury.   At first, there was so much pain, because all of my bones and muscles were being put back in proper working order.  But once I got used to it, I started seeing results and started living a life that was less painful.  I’ve been going for regular adjustments since.

In May, I got busy.  Like really busy.  So busy that I forgot my appointments.  I went a whole month without an adjustment.  Suddenly, pain started creeping in.  I ignored it for a few days, until I tried to teach a whole day with a pain in my back.  Enough was enough.  I went to the chiropractor, he straightened me out, sent me on my way.  I was sore and tender for a day or two, and then I got back to where I needed to be.

When I go to the chiropractor, I first sign in, and then I go lay on this massaging bed, and I researched some about these things, and while they feel good, they’re designed to loosen you up before your adjustment, so that when you’re being adjusted, the muscles are open to being moved and adjusted.  If you don’t do it, (and I speak from experience), the chiropractor visit is almost traumatic to your body, and it hurts, really badly afterwards.  When it’s my turn, my chiropractor calls my name, greets me and then instructs me to lie down and he puts pressure where I have problem spots and adjusts me as I need them.

Sometimes, I have to go more frequently, simply because I’m experiencing some unusual pain.  Typically brought on by my own bad habits.  But he adjusts me just the same and then, I go on my merry way.

If I were you, I would be wondering, “okay…what does this have to do with anything?”  I appreciate your patience as you continue to read.

Honestly, as I was talking to my friend today in Pages, I realized something.  It was like a God moment or something.

God is in the heart-adjustment business.  Like a chiropractor, we must encounter God regularly.  We must make it a priority.  And when we miss an “appointment” (so to speak), we suffer more than anything else.  And if I am honest, the dedication and the commitment to keeping my appointments with God are very difficult.  If I am honest, it seems hard for me to carve out the time that I need.  It shouldn’t be, but I suppose God is working on that with me right now.  Anyways, back on subject.  The time we spend with God is time that he is working on us and working in us.  Whether it is to help change our hearts, speak and teach us through scripture or song, or simply to grace us with his presence, there are important moments we miss out on, if we do not take the time to invest with God.

A critique I have of the modern church is on how we approach discipleship.  Simply put, I believe that discipleship is the growth process that happens after we experience salvation.  Some people call it sanctification.  Whatever you call it, the fact of the matter is that the church is so focused on making sure that people are “saved” that we don’t teach our new believers what it means!  We tell them that they need to become a Christian, and we tell them that if they do that, they won’t be the same person anymore and they won’t go to heaven.  Unfortunately, the reality is, unless we do some real time with God, being saved is just an event, and it’s not a true change of the heart.  Unless we spend time in learning about God, and in cultivating that relationship, we will never be different from the us that is “unsaved.”  What is the point of calling people to salvation, if we don’t know what the benefits to salvation are, besides avoiding hell?  If we do not claim discipleship as a passion, then growth does not happen, and our lives are unchanged.  We are travel agents that have no idea what we are selling.

I’ve been asked, How does God change hearts?  The answer lies in grace.  Grace is far too complex of a subject to deal with now, but know this, that our response to God is grace.  God moving in us is grace.  God changing us is grace.  God does it because of grace.  We study the bible because of grace, we pray because of grace.  All is grace.  Life is grace. God does the work, but if we do anything, does that invalidate grace?  I don’t think so.  But we also can’t wait around just expecting a million dollars to plop in our laps!

When God starts preparing us, we must remain open, expectant.  We must allow ourselves to be used and to grow.  So many people scare and shy away from growth.  We want to become superheroes but we don’t want to put in the work.

The fact is, in order to grow closer to God, we have to experience pain.  We have to.  Growth does not happen when things are good.  But we can’t just allow that pain to deter us from God, but to motivate us to cling to him and keep returning, knowing that the pain is there to benefit us in the long-term or to benefit someone else.  The chiropractor knows what he’s doing, and we just gotta trust that at the end of it, it’s all going to be okay.

But we don’t like to do that, do we?  We don’t like pain, and although we want to grow and desire to grow, we don’t want to grow.  But we gotta let God be God and us be us, and just let go of the fear and start to trust.  Because if we trust, then we can see God do great things in us and through us.