Applying physical therapy techniques to our spiritual muscles
What a pain in the neck – or my back or my arm or my leg. None of us like physical pain and when we have it we usually try and do all kinds of things to get rid of it. One really great way to do this is to go to a physical therapist and let them understand the problem and its source, evaluate and act on that understanding and then help us work through the process to regain our strength and health. What they help us do will probably bring us more pain for a short time so that we can have less or no pain for a long time! If you ask me, that is a winning formula! Can the process and treatment we receive from physical therapy translate into steps we can take to identify, treat and alleviate the pains and malfunctioning of our spiritual lives? The best way to find that answer is to ask a physical therapist, so we did!
We invited Leah, a Licensed Physical Therapist, to be on with us to talk about some details of the process a Physical Therapist typically uses. What we found was fascinating, asthe steps she laid us for us easily translated into identifiable spiritual steps for managing our spiritual lives. First of all we want to establish that all spiritual growth doesn’t have to come from emotional pain or injury and doesn’t always come from life’s traumas and tragedies either. Sometimes we can just grow – and that would be ideal. Sometimes we face imperfections or defects in our characters that need treatment, and while that does not feel like it is ideal, it is certainly fertile ground for growth.
The first physical therapy step Leah laid out is the recognition of pain, the realization that something is not right. For our physical bodies, it is the sore knee or elbow or back; it is feeling the pain and acknowledging it hurts. This almost sounds like a "duh!" moment, but it really isn’t. Think about how often we ignore an ache or pain, and it festers and grows into something bigger and far more difficult to endure and inevitably far more difficult to treat. It is the same with our spiritual lives. We often just go along and ignore our angry thoughts or our jealous reactions or our egotistical positioning. We ignore these things again and again, and they fester and then slowly and sometimes imperceptibly, we become more unlikable to others and less Christ-like overall. To acknowledge the spiritual pain or malfunction is an all important place to start!
This brings us to the all important second step - to seek help. There is a clearly defined path, for this step that can bring you to a Physical Therapist but it is a bit more of a challenge when it comes to spiritual matters. Find out why and find out how this step - along with all eight steps - can really have an impact on not just dealing with our spiritual pains but actually helping to remedy them as well. Check out our December 19, 2016 podcast, “Can Physical Therapy Teach Us Spiritual Wellbeing?” It won’t hurt, I promise!
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