Years ago, while working on the second shift at an acute care hospital, I did something that I would never in a million years think I would do — I caused myself to incur whiplash on the job.
But it was ‘how’ I managed to do this that was most … shall we say, ’embarrassing’ to say the least.
I was in motion, pulling a rather large (large meaning at least 4-5 inches deep) file that was above my head. Normally, I would stand upon a secure step stool to do the retrieval and very carefully perform the extraction from its physical location. It wasn’t anything spectacular of a task. Raise arm, grab file folder, pull.
But this extraordinarily large folder was quite heavy and when I commenced to tug and pull somehow my head jerked back at the same time.
Bad idea. Poor body mechanics.
Within minutes, I felt the signs of the neck strain. Thinking that I could just massage away the ache, I sat down to do gather my senses and proceeded to rub away.
But the pain only increased. Within the hour, I could not move my head from side to side. As the panic started to rise, I quickly tagged a co-worker and asked for assistance to accompany me to the emergency department.
After explaining to the medical personnel and undergoing a series of x-rays, my neck was wrapped in a soft brace and I was sent home with instructions to schedule physical therapy. Diagnosis: acute cervical strain. A very painful stiffness due to recklessness.
When part of you is immobilized and restricted from usual movement, you suddenly appreciate all the times you took for granted the luxury of carefree mobility.
A self-inflicted stiff neck, complemented by incredible pain that reminded me of my recklessness. Prescribed fashion statement: an immobilizing neck brace that advertised to the world that something major had gone wrong. And I was to blame.
9 The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are a stiff-necked (stubborn, rebellious) people. Exodus 32:9 Amplified
51 “How stubborn can you be? How can you be so heartless and disobedient? You’re just like your ancestors. They always opposed the Holy Spirit, and so do you! Acts 7:51 GWT
I remember as a child being told that if I did something disrespectful (like staring or eye-rolling), my body would get stuck in that position. Seems as though the Israelites had their necks stuck in a disrespectful position.
GOD declared His own people as being stiff-necked towards Him even in light of having been freed from the bondage of slavery that had then captive for 400 years. And yet, if you and I had lived through that miraculous moment of exodus from Egypt, would we have been any different?
Would we have carried a banner of: “Not going back there?” or would we have been among those who complained about the abundance of sweet manna from heaven and the fact that our clothing always looked like it was just purchased off the rack? GOD made Amazon Prime look like the pony express.
After living through these recent twenty months of unforgettable change and significant realignment of sorts, some of us may have learned a different way of flexing and bending and possibly ‘surrendering’ to the Will of GOD. I know that I have.
I’m careful about how I invest my time and try to live in the present as much as possible. Devoting more time in true study of the Scriptures helps me to understand more, trust GOD and worry less. I look for opportunities to fill the needs of others that can be done the moment I detect the need — instantaneously if possible. Jesus didn’t wait to gather a committee to draft up ideas and then vote on a plan of action. When He saw a need, He filled it.
What if this has been time given (back) to us to learn how to extend ourselves in a holy manner? Loving with the intent to put the welfare of others ahead of our own wants without seeking to make up for “me time.” Giving consideration to the weak and defenseless, lending a hand to the ones unable to do for themselves without it being a special holiday or being asked. This season of using your flexibility and agility of mind to do some good and to shift your perspective on things that we otherwise would take for granted. Things that would matter to Jesus.
Could this possibly have been our modern day experience of Jesus turning the tables in our comfy, cozy settled corners of the world to bring an awareness that we have become a stiff-necked people on a road to bondage to our traditions and customary routines?
Demanding that our agenda be fulfilled with little to no interruptions. That’s how we like it — and that’s how we prepare for life to roll out. On (our) time. According to (our) scheduled preferences. No change orders in the project. Sounds like it resembles the recklessness of a stiff neck.
Have we learned how to live with authentic compassion? Are we more intentional, sincere and spontaneous with our kindness? Do we look for ways to let it be known that the love others see in us is a tiny moment in space where they experience Jesus? Is making Him known our priority?
40 “The king will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant ⌞they seemed⌟, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40 GWT
Or as the world has now “opened up” more, have we reverted back to our grumbling and insisting on having it our way because it’s always been that way? No cheese, hold the mayo and add an extra pickle … and fries extra crispy.
Perhaps we have been given a “second chance” of sorts, to show that we really can do things by faith and follow what GOD says for us to do — because quite honestly, all things work out better when we do.
3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3 NLT
Circumstances will continue to change from one day to the next. But GOD is unchangeable. He is the only constant.
Let’s pause for a moment here. If things were suddenly turned upside down — again, but in a different manner — would we be able to demonstrate that we know how to depend on the living and true GOD Who holds the outcome in His Hand? Would we be able to pivot, bend, flex … they’re all spiritual exercises … to show that we’ve learned He meant what He said …
31 because the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you. He will not forget the Agreement with your ancestors, which he swore to them. Deuteronomy 4:31 NCV
8 The Lord himself will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forget you. Don’t be afraid and don’t worry.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NCV
6 Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid of them and don’t be frightened, because the Lord your God will go with you. He will not leave you or forget you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NCV
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. God has said,
“I will never leave you;
I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 4:16 NCV
From the Old Testament through the New Testament and into our current day — have we learned? He promises to be with us. We don’t have to prove or do anything to earn His favor. We simply have to believe Him at His Word and He provides the means for us to move into those places He has already designated for us.
1 Whoever lives under the shelter of the Most High
will remain in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord,
“⌞You are⌟ my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 GWT
Let’s lean into Him and keep our necks and minds agile towards Him.
Avoid the spiritual whiplash, Sister, remaining teachable and humble.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary