Sunday, June 1, 2014

When tug-of-war becomes more

Do you remember playing tug-of-war as a kid? It's not just for kids anymore. Did you know it is also used as a team-building exercise at corporate events? Whether it's children or adults playing, injuries are to be expected (have you ever had rope burn?). We can also become emotionally wounded from our internal tug-of-war.

The war within chronic illness

I have tendonitis throughout my body. Most of it occurred after I developed CRPS. If I don't keep my muscles somewhat conditioned, they can't provide support to my tendons. When I am hit with intense inflammation, my poor tendons don't stand a chance and become badly inflamed. Exercising helps; I have a few key exercises which I have to do at least every 2 - 3 days. If I don't then I will suffer the consequences. The solution seems pretty straight-forward -
Exercise regularly
Here's the thing... ME-CFS prevents me from doing so. Hence, my internal tug-of-war.

Be still my anxious mind

Getting enough rest is vital for people living with many chronic illnesses. We might think that simply not doing anything is resting, but have you ever spent the entire day worrying? You end up feeling physically and mentally exhausted! Stress is pure poison, especially for the chronically ill. I have to be very careful when my pain begins escalating because the more stressed I get, the more pain I'm in. Then adrenaline kicks in, which releases a whole slew of other evil chemicals. Actually, they aren't inherently evil. They were designed to keep us safe in the face of immediate danger - like a burglar in your home or a bear in the woods. However, they were never meant to be released into our bodies day after day, month after month, year after year.

I keep thinking I should have it all figured out by now, but I still find myself living with this constant level of tension - like a sick game of tug-of-war. I need to exercise to keep my pain down, but I often don't have the strength to exercise so I force myself to, which often leads to a crash. 


What would Jesus do? First of all, he wouldn't worry about the situation. Jesus spoke a lot about worrying and often pointed out what a useless activity it was. Why is it pointless to worry?
  1. There are more important things to think about.  Matthew 6:25
  2. It doesn't do anything for you. Matthew 6:27 
  3. What's the point? There will just be more stuff to worry about tomorrow Matthew 6:34
  4.  Why worry over things you can't do anything about? Luke 12:26 

I know that

I heard a great quote a number of years ago. I can't remember the author or the exact words, but it went something like this -
If you aren't living it, then you don't know it
Has anyone ever said "I know that" when you were trying to explain something to them, and you knew full well they didn't? You could see they didn't "know it" based on their actions. I have no business saying I know that worrying is bad for me if my life is filled with worry. I obviously need to dig deeper. How about you?

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When our actions don't line up with our words, the tug-of-war begins. Do you have any areas of incongruity? What steps could you take today to win the war?

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  Romans 7:15