Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pain & Healing

I recently started going to a physical therapist for a hamstring issue that turned out to be a back issue. He helped me get everything operational again and then wanted to look at my running form.

He said my stride wasn't too bad and had me make a few minor adjustments. Minor sounds simple enough, right? Not like major or complete overhaul.

Just a few adjustments that had me leaning forward, bending my elbows more and pushing off with each step. But it was awkward. Didn't feel normal—though it did feel more effortless at first.

But who wants to think about their form with each and every step of a three or four mile run?

After a week or so it became more comfortable, felt like I was gliding. My speed even increased. But as soon as I started getting tired, old habits rushed in to tempt me.

So badly did I want to straighten up, to go back to my familiar running posture.

Isn't that the way it goes when we try to walk away from habits or people that aren't the best for us? In moments of clarity, we make a resolution to break free—to get healthier. But as soon as it gets tough—and it always does when we plow new ground—we want to go running back to the old and familiar.

We minimize the damage those habits or people cause to our lives. Egypt was a place of bondage to the Israelites until they thought they would die of thirst in the desert, and then begged Moses to take them back.

To make a significant change we need to focus on the goal and the benefits it'll bring. Because when we hit the pain of change, our resolution becomes foggy and distorted. But if we remember the goal and have someone who can help keep us accountable, we CAN get free.

As I was out for a run today, a thought smacked me out of the blue. I realized that without my original hamstring injury, I never would have sought help and discovered some of the damaging habits I had in my daily living and in my running.

As much as I had prayed for my leg to get better, I'm so glad it didn't. It put me on a path toward a physical health I didn't realize I was lacking.

So sometimes, those difficult things in our lives are used to bring the greatest blessing. Never give up!

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